Kalamazoo College Announces Finalists for $25,000 Global Prize for Collaborative Social Justice Leadership

Kalamazoo College is pleased to announce the finalists for its inaugural $25,000 Global Prize for Collaborative Social Justice Leadership.

Fifteen finalist projects are collaboratively led by scholars and activists from eight U.S. cities (Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Los Angeles; New York; Oakland, Cal.; Olympia, Wash.; South Bend, Ind.; and Urbana, Ill.; and ten nations including Germany, Honduras, Hungary, India, Malawi, Palestine, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. One of these projects will earn the $25,000 Global Prize.

Three finalists—two from Kalamazoo and one from Marshall—are eligible for a $5,000 Regional Prize for a project that originates in Southwest Michigan.

All finalists will present their work May 9-11 in Dalton Theatre on the K campus to jurors and attendees who will discuss and deliberate over the course of a three-day “Prize Weekend.” Global and Regional Prize winners will be announced by Kalamazoo College President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, on Saturday, May 11 at 7:15 in Dalton.

“The Kalamazoo College Global Prize creates an opportunity for our students, faculty, and the local community to interact with scholars and activists who are at the leading edge of collaborative social justice leadership practices around the country and around the world,” Wilson-Oyelaran said.

“The Global Prize also matches up with K’s mission to prepare its graduates to better understand, live successfully within, and provide enlightened leadership to a richly diverse and increasingly complex world,” she said.

Visit https://reason.kzoo.edu/csjl/clprize/finalists  to see a brief description of each finalist and link to its video entry. Facebook users may also view each video and “Like” their favorites (https://www.facebook.com/GlobalPrizeFinalists).

Each Global Prize applicant submitted a video (8-10 minutes) describing a social justice project, its innovative approach, and its collaborative leadership structure. A total of 188 entries were received from 23 countries and 25 U.S. states (including 14 from Southwest Michigan) by the March 8 deadline.

“The Global Prize undertaking truly presents an excellent opportunity for K students and the entire community to see social justice theory in action and to reflect on what we see as promising practices in the pursuit of a more just world,” said Lisa Brock, academic director of Kalamazoo College’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, which is administering the Global Prize competition.

According to Brock, a wide variety of social justice issues are addressed among the finalists, including: education access and equity, environmental sustainability, food sovereignty, health inequities, human rights violations against prisoners and LGBTQI people, immigration, international development, racism, workers’ rights, and more.

“Several finalists involve projects and partners that cross state and international borders,” Brock said. “One project from India, for example, includes partners in Columbus, Ohio and South Bend, Indiana. And the project from South Africa includes collaborators in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.”

More than 50 people, including K students, faculty, and staff members, as well as social justice advocates in Kalamazoo and elsewhere, juried the semifinal round of the competition and selected the 18 finalists. Jurors included: 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 shea howell, Detroit-based author, educator, columnist, and board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership.

The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership 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.