Kalamazoo College officials announced today the establishment of the Kalamazoo College Global Prize for Collaborative Social Justice Leadership, a biennial $25,000 prize that honors an innovative and collaborative leadership project in the pursuit of social justice and human rights anywhere in the world.
The inaugural $25,000 Social Justice Leadership Prize will be awarded May 11, 2013, following a juried competition administered by the College’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. Jurors include author, political activist, and University of California—Santa Cruz scholar Angela Y. Davis; former Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Cary Alan Johnson; and Detroit-based author, educator, and columnist Shea Howell. Howell is also a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, in Detroit.
A $5,000 Social Justice Leadership Prize, also juried, will be awarded to a project in Southwest Michigan. Jurors include a panel of K students, faculty, staff, and Kalamazoo community members.
“The Kalamazoo College Global Prize for Collaborative Social Justice Leadership provides an unparalleled leadership development opportunity for K students and faculty, the Greater Kalamazoo community, and for frontline social justice scholars, activists, and leaders everywhere,” said Kalamazoo College President Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran. “For every seemingly intractable social justice problem, there is a collaborative leadership solution to address it. Through this prize competition, we will welcome the world to our campus to showcase some of these solutions.”
Entries—in the form of 8- to 10-minute videos—must be received by March 8, 2013. Entry information, FAQ, and more may be found at www.kzoo.edu/SocialJusticeLeadershipPrize. Twenty finalists selected by jurors will be announced April 20. A Prize weekend at Kalamazoo College on May 10-11 will showcase the finalists and engage attendees in dialogues about them. President Wilson-Oyelaran will announce the winners during an awards ceremony the evening of May 11.
“Through the two social justice leadership prizes, the College intends to emphasize the critical importance of collaboration in creating effective social justice leaders here in Southwest Michigan and around the world,” said Jaime Grant, executive director of K’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL). “We’re certain to receive many entries for innovative social justice projects. Finalists for the prizes will be those that also raise the voices and leadership skills of those affected so that they may take strategic action.”
According to ACSJL Academic Director Lisa Brock, entries must describe the social injustice that will be addressed, show how the project will take a fresh approach in addressing it, and demonstrate that the project’s leadership structure is collaborative.
“Projects that take on entrenched social justice issues from fresh vantage points, or combine issues and communities in unexpected ways and via unanticipated vehicles are especially encouraged to apply,” said Brock. “The Kalamazoo College Global Prize for Collaborative Social Justice Leadership will lift this work into view and provide a significant reward for these social justice innovators.”
The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (www.kzoo.edu/socialjustice) was launched in 2009 with support from the Arcus Foundation (www.arcusfoundation.org), including a $23 million endowment grant in January 2012. Supporting Kalamazoo College’s mission to prepare its graduates to better understand, live successfully within, and provide enlightened leadership to a richly diverse and increasingly complex world, the ACSJL will develop new leaders and sustain existing leaders in the field of human rights and social justice.
Kalamazoo College (www.kzoo.edu), founded in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1833, is a nationally recognized liberal arts college and the creator of the K-Plan that emphasizes rigorous scholarship, experiential learning, leadership development, and international and intercultural engagement. Kalamazoo College does more in four years so students can do more in a lifetime.