2023 Davis Grant Recipient - Astrid
Astrid Garcia, MPP’23, is an international student from Venezuela studying at the Harris School of Public Policy. She will use the grant for the project Community Ambassadors to build leadership capacity in adolescents from low-income communities in Venezuela, based on Model United Nations methodology. Funds from this grant will empower young leaders to become responsible citizens with the skills to develop peaceful solutions towards local and worldwide conflicts.
April 11, 2023
I am thrilled to share the news that I have been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant to expand the impact of the Community Ambassadors program. Fifteen years ago, I joined this program as a young student looking for a way to make a difference in my community. Little did I know that joining the Community Ambassadors program would change the course of my life forever. The program taught me vital skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and research that I still use to this day. Most importantly, it gave me hope and showed me that change was possible even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Community Ambassadors is a youth empowerment program that seeks to promote peace through violence prevention in low-income communities in Venezuela. They work with students from 12 to 18 years old who are at risk of school dropout and provide them with complementary education focused on honing skills in diplomacy, negotiation, critical thinking, public speaking, writing, and research. Then, they participate in Model United Nations debates with private and high-income schools where they play the role of ambassadors from different countries and attempt to solve real-world issues such as gender equality, human rights, climate action, social development, and more.
Thanks to a scholarship, I graduated from one of the best universities in Venezuela. I then moved to Washington DC, where I worked at the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and was a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum. Then, I had the opportunity to continue my studies at the University of Chicago in the Harris School of Public Policy.
Now, fifteen years later, I am honored and grateful to have received a grant from Davis Projects for Peace. Through this grant, I plan to work with an additional 100 students from four schools in Caracas, Venezuela, providing them with the same life-changing opportunities that I had.
With the support of Davis Projects for Peace, I will implement a three-month training program (from May to July), focused on the Model United Nations methodology, soft skills, and socio-emotional skills. We will also create a small computer lab to reduce equity gaps and give these students the tools they need to succeed. By providing additional training and resources to more students in Venezuela, we can continue to promote peace and empower the next generation of leaders. I cannot wait to see what these students will accomplish with the skills and hope that Community Ambassadors provides.
May 22, 2023
Hi, fellow changemakers!
I'm happy to share some exciting updates on our Community Ambassadors program. Thanks to the support of International House, we have been able to achieve great milestones in our mission to empower young leaders in Venezuela's low-income neighborhoods.
We have had the opportunity to work directly with four school directors in Caracas, and we are happy to inform you that they have given their approval to our proposal! We will be working with Fe y Alegría María Inmaculada, Mano Amiga Institute, Corazón de María and Don Bosco Technical School. This is an important turning point for us since it allows us to continue choosing and preparing our initial group of Community Ambassadors.
The response to the information sessions we recently held with the students at each school was overwhelmingly positive. Seeing so many young people motivated to improve their communities is encouraging. To learn more about possible applicants and their goals, we have started interviewing them. These students' passion and dedication are simply incredible, and we can't wait to see what they will accomplish.
The next step is to finalize the official cohort of participants in each school. To make sure that everyone is on the same page, we will collaborate closely with the school administration and our team of trainers. We are certain that the young people we work with will benefit from our program, and we can't wait to watch how they motivate others to take on leadership roles in their communities.
Stay tuned for updates on our progress!