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Park Foundation awards grant for Periclean Scholars project

The New York-based Park Foundation has awarded the Periclean Scholars program at Elon University a grant to send additional students abroad in January with the goal of producing a short documentary highlighting Sri Lanka’s outlook and actions on water issues, along with its ecological and socio-economic diversity. The film will be part of an environmental summit organized by the Elon students.

The foundation notified the university on Friday of its $12,300 grant. The money covers the cost of sending two Periclean Scholars and a student videographer to capture footage during the summit on the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

That would bring to 17 the total number of Elon students scheduled to take part in the Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum. The Jan. 22-23, 2011, summit will facilitate communication between distinguished scholars, globally recognized leaders, and invited guests on issues of environmental education and stewardship, focusing specifically on how these issues affect and impact the regions and peoples of Sri Lanka. Upward of 300 conference attendees are expected.

Associate professor Crista Arangala, mentor of the Periclean Scholars Class of 2011, and professor Tom Arcaro, director of Project Pericles at Elon University, are overseeing the conference with support from partners and administrators from the University of Colombo and leaders in and around the city of Colombo.

The Park Foundation grant is the largest gift to date in support of the conference. The Periclean Scholars learned in November of a $5,000 gift from the U.S. Embassy, and an Elon parent, as well as a nongovernmental organization in Sir Lanka, also generously donated funds to help with the conference.

“This grant is another significant milestone for the Periclean Scholars program at Elon,” Arcaro said. “We’ve raised more than $20,000 for this project through the support of many people and organizations. Their support will help our Scholars deepen the relationship between the United States and the people of Sri Lanka while creating a film to educate countless others in the years ahead.”

It is the fourth time since 2006 that the Park Foundation has awarded the Periclean Scholars a grant to film a short documentary. Arcaro said he hopes the student-produced and direct film will eventually be used in freshmen GST 110 courses. Such a resource would expose students to global environmental issues while introducing them to Sri Lankan culture.

“Depending on how it turns out, we’ll certainly pursue film festival possibilities and broader distribution outside of campus, as has happened with other Periclean Scholar productions,” he said.

Founded in 1966 by the late Roy Hampton Park Sr., founder of Park Communications Inc., the Park Foundation is dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting, environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park family. Park is a North Carolina native and attended N.C. State University.

The Periclean Scholars program at Elon is the centerpiece of Project Pericles, which is committed to raising the level of civic engagement and social responsibility of the entire university community. Students who become part of the Periclean Scholars program take a series of courses culminating in a class project of global social change. The project is designed and carried out by the cohort of students from each year’s class.

For more information on the conference, visit www.leafsrilanka.org.

Eric Townsend,
12/10/2010 12:29 PM