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Congratulations to Rutuja Grade 12 UWCT student from India who has just received the GoMakeADifference  2020 award.  

We are delighted to confirm that she has been awarded a $1,000 grant to help towards her project, Agents for Peace. 

GoMakeADifference received 62 applications this year across various schools and colleges from the UWC community. There were many exceptionally high quality, creative and original projects, which made the reviewing process difficult. Therefore, we are very proud of her project, which will no doubt have a positive impact and make a difference.

Her “Agents of Peace” project is aimed at raising awareness and a call to action among young adolescents to address the religious (primarily Hindu-Muslim) tensions in India through the use of historical analysis, performance arts, current events, and design thinking.  

Agents of Peace will be a month-long youth education program. The program will be executed in July 2020. Four facilitators will lead workshops over weekends at one site in Pune, India, reaching a total of 100 students.

The religious dissonance in India is evident in the country’s new legislation that have set citizens (supporters of both sides) on the streets in protest. The dissonance is evident in the domestic and foreign policy that the ruling party has adopted during its term. The debates in the media (particularly social media) call attention to a rapidly dividing nation. This trend is not exclusive to India as the wave of nationalism has hit many countries across the global west and the global south. India, a historically complex and diverse nation has been home to foreign invasions and to the birth of a number of religions. With this context in the backdrop, the current trends of nationalization and saffronisation (Hindunizing) of the country have created a dissonance in the harmony of the nation.

There is widespread anger, hatred and violence at a communal and national level and in this time of dissonance with debates around who is right,  there is a lack of dialogue around what the nation could do to find peace. In an attempt to move away from blame and accusations, Agents of Peace looks at accomplishing the following goals:

  1. Understanding the historical context of this problem. Looking at how modern India came to be a land of a multitude of religions. Trying to find the root causes of the existing tensions.
  2. Looking at current political events, debates and  incidents of religious violence to understand how the religious tensions are manifested and how they impact individuals and communities in the country today. 
  3. Using the arts to capture the human experience caught in these religious tensions and to imagine the possibilities of a peaceful nation. 
  4. Using the process of design thinking to create tangible and sustainable models/projects to resolve religious tensions and create a peaceful nation.
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