Adriana Popa ’12 – Blog Post

Adriana Popa '12 - Blog PostAdriana Popa ’12, honors Political Science major and Peace and Conflict studies minor from Pitesti, Romania, is heading to India after graduation, to work under the Davis Projects For Peace Award. The $10,000 Davis grant will support the efforts she and fellow Swattie Riana Shah ’14, from Ahmedabad, India, Sociology/Anthropology and Educational Studies major and co-founder (along with Jwalin Patel) of Independent Thought and Social Action – ITSA, will center around peace education and community building. The project, You(th) for Peace, will promote cross-cultural dialogue and help combat stereotypes, fear, and intolerance, allowing students and their families to envision a common future of peace and cooperation, and will encompass 10 weeks of educational and social action components in India, as well as an international component (through the international team that will join Adriana and Riana in India, the culminating conference, the series of Youtube videos and the curriculum translated into multiple languages that will be launched at the conclusion of activities in India). Adriana and Riana hope the spirit and model of You(th) for Peace will be replicated in various parts of the world. Adriana will draw on her extensive experience in promoting education, youth involvement and peace through her past work with organizations such as the Federation of Young European Greens, Genocide Intervention Network, Peace Child International, and Africa Change International, while Riana will add You(th) for Peace to her already rich experience in advancing independent thinking, social activism, and entrepreneurship to counter the passivity of the Indian education system. Adriana and Riana both have a great deal to thank Swarthmore for in regards to their interest and involvement with education and peace work. Adriana’s Peace and Conflict Studies experience has been one of the most formative ones in her life: “For years I had associated war with a pointed gun and peace with its absence. Through my education, I came to understand that war begins far away from the ammunition warehouses, the same place where peace is born: in people’s hearts and minds. Peace begins with understanding, and education is the best tool for that.” Riana benefited from several generous Swarthmore grants, including the Lang Opportunity Scholar Grant from the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, which have contributed to her perspective on a potential avenue of involvement: “The curriculum in many Indian schools is test-driven and rote-memorization based, creating an environment which doesn’t offer students a chance to intensely participate in critical thinking, which is something that Swarthmore prizes and encourages.”Adriana Popa '12 - Blog Post