Davis Peace and Diplomacy Initiative

2016 Projects for Peace: Ravi Shrivastav
IHP Resident 2014-2016, Nepal



Ravi Shrivastav is thousands of miles away from his homeland of Nepal, but being a resident of International House is making it possible for him to help the community where he lived prior to coming to Philadelphia in 2014.

In the summer of 2016, after graduating with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science from Drexel University, the soft-spoken 27-year-old will implement a program to train Nepalese women in sewing, tailoring and handicraft works so they will possess new skills to earn income and support their families.

His program will be funded by a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant that was awarded to Ravi this year. Created in 2007 through the generosity of Kathryn W. Davis, an internationalist and philanthropist, Projects for Peace is a program that is open only to students living at International Houses around the world and to students at partner schools in the Davis United World College Program.


One of the most important goals of Projects for Peace is to encourage student initiative, innovation and entrepreneurship focused on conflict prevention, resolution or reconciliation.  “My project will help women become stronger economically and more independent, which can help reduce conflicts and promote peace,” Ravi says. “I’ve always wanted to do something for my community, so this is a great opportunity to do that.”


The inspiration for his project, Stitch for Peace, came from his mother, who lives in Nepal. “She has worked in the community for many years and she recognized the need for a program that could teach women practical skills,” he explains.


According to Ravi, his project entails setting up a training center in the Rupandehi district of Nepal, purchasing sewing articles and equipment, and recruiting training staff and volunteers, followed by the launch of training programs.  Nepalese women in local villages will be surveyed to identify interested participants. Then, as many as 60 women will be taught how to design, create, finish and make items ranging from handbags, scarves and neckties, to handicraft, dresses and Dhaki topi, a traditional Nepalese hat. Training is expected to commence in late July. 


“After 30 days of training, the women will possess new skills that they can also share with their families and communities,” Ravi says. “The long-term goal is that this project will encourage women that have been trained to form their own cooperatives.”


Ravi emphasizes that the project is important because many women in the community are underprivileged and have lesser opportunities of involvement.  


Becoming a Projects for Peace recipient is an honor that surprised Ravi, who submitted his proposal in January 2016 with support from Glenn Martin, Chief Operating Officer at International House Philadelphia.

Kathryn W. Davis and her husband, Ambassador Shelby Cullom Davis, both lived at International House New York in 1929-30 while attending Columbia University. Mrs. Davis died in 2013 at 106 years of age, but her legacy lives on through Projects for Peace and through grant recipients like Ravi.


As he prepares to leave International House to pursue a career in Biomedical Science. Ravi says that living here has been an unforgettable experience.


“When I came to Philadelphia in 2014, I had never seen such skylines, and everything was technologically advanced; it is very different from Nepal,” Ravi admits. “I’m not as shy as I was then because I have interacted with people from all over the world in this multicultural environment, and I’ve made new friends.”

Ravi concludes: “Most of all, I’ve had the chance at International House to learn about many cultures, not only American culture. I think cultural understanding is a key to fostering peace around the world.”

ABOUT PROJECTS FOR PEACE

In 2012, International House New York alumna Kathryn W. Davis made a generous grant to support the Davis Peace and Diplomacy Initiative with the goal of empowering young future leaders, such as the resident-members of International Houses around the world, to find new ways to advance world peace. The funding for this initiative provides both scholarship grants for residents and programming for the International House community.

Scholarship grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded to 8-10 applicants residing at an International House who come from countries experiencing conflict, emerging from conflict, or not directly affected by conflict, but who have a demonstrated interest in peace-building and/or a diplomatic career path. Recipients are expected to make a significant programmatic contribution through the duration of the grant. New and returning residents are considered.

International House Philadelphia is proud to participate in the Davis Peace and Diplomacy Initiative, and encourages residents of IHP to apply. Applications are submitted annually in January.

Interested in learning more? Read about IHP's other recent Davis Projects for Peace grant recipients. 

Saif Al Saudi, 2015
Gabrielle Mnkande, 2014 
Teresa Brugarolas, 2012