Applications open for
2016 Wallenberg Summer Travel Awards
For more than seven years, a group of U-M students come back from a summer abroad, transformed. They travel to the Dominica Republic, Peru, the Philippines, Uganda, Ecuador and elsewhere in the world. They work to mitigate water pollution, assist grassroot community health organizations, support youth in marginalized populations, develop health care workshops in underserved populations, and other independent projects they design themselves. They are Wallenberg Summer Travel Award recipients.
Katie Finn traveled to Uganda, working with children who suffer cognitive impairment as a result of sever episodes of cerebral malaria. Of her experience, she says, “We can come in as Western practitioners and save the day with our technology and interventions, but I really learned that we have so much more to learn from what they have to teach us and how we provide care, how we interact with patients.”
Ryan Thomas lived in the Dominican Republic, working with physicians and clinicians to determine needs assessment in rural healthcare environments. He was reminded of the legacy he’s honoring: “In the spirit of the incredible legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, I hoped to accomplish something important and meaningful that would positively impact the lives of others. I can only dream to do something as big and powerful and impact as many people. That will be my goal."
The Wallenberg Summer Travel Awards allows selected students to take part in a community service project or civic participation anywhere in the world, such as volunteer work with a humanitarian organization such as a school, clinic or aid program, or the exploration of humanitarian issues not well understood in the US.
The program honors the legacy of Raoul Wallenberg, who, as a student at the University of Michigan in the 1930s, traveled across North America to observe and learn from people of all kinds on their own terms. This experience helped him understand the human condition, and shaped his lifelong concern for human dignity and humanitarian values. His heroic efforts during World War II to rescue the surviving Jews of Budapest are an inspiring demonstration of how one individual can make a difference in the world.