Application Process for Class of 2024

“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”

-Ijeoma Oluo, Nigerian-American writer and speaker

The Periclean Scholars Class of 2024 was set on exploring civic engagement opportunities in Morocco. However, the COVID-19 global health pandemic has made travel to Morocco in the near future untenable. Given that we cannot know for certain when or whether U.S. citizens can safely and ethically travel to Northern Africa, the Class of 2024 Periclean Scholars will focus instead on an issue that warrants our urgent attention. The class of 2024 will engage in sustainable community efforts and partnerships designed to address structural racism and racial injustice and to bring about racial equity right here in the United States. Our class will begin by exploring opportunities to undertake this important work in Alamance County, North Carolina as well as in the neighboring Piedmont Triad and Triangle communities.

Should we be able to explore civic engagement partnerships and projects in Morocco at some point over the course of the next 3+ years, we will remain committed to addressing an issue similar to the one we will explore in the U.S.: the issue of racial and ethnic injustice in Morocco. Morocco has a long history in the trans-Saharan slave trade and the legacy of that slave-trade has resulted in discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, and immigration/citizenship status in Morocco. Moreover, the last decade –particularly since the “Arab Spring” uprisings–has had a significant impact on politics, international trade, and immigration policies in Northern Africa. As a result, Morocco has experienced a new wave of social justice activism and identity movements, especially among Amazigh and Afro (Black) communities. What we will learn by focusing our efforts on the U.S. in the beginning of our time together will undoubtedly be applicable to Morocco, even though the social category of race operates differently in the Moroccan context than it does in the U.S.

The application process opens September 21, 2020 and closes on March 5, 2021 for first-year students. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The early submission of applications is strongly encouraged.

There are three components to the application: (1) a letter of recommendation from a faculty person; (2) a letter of application; and (3) an interview with the Class Mentor. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance prior to pre-registration for the fall 2021 semester.

The letter of application should include the following:

-A brief statement describing why you are interested in becoming a Periclean Scholar and making this long-term academic and (potentially) global engagement commitment.

-A brief statement identifying your strengths and how these might be useful to the Class and its projects.

-A 1,000-1,500 word essay response to the following prompt:

When responding to the essay prompt below, consider this year’s common reading, Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt’s book, Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think, and Do. In your response, consider Dr. Eberhardt’s main claims and findings related to implicit bias and why we need to confront our own biases in order to bring about change on both a personal and social level. In the conclusion of Biased, Eberhardt reminds us of what’s at stake in confronting our biases:

“…[A]ddressing bias is not just a personal choice; it is a social agenda, a moral stance. Every society has disadvantaged groups that are the targets of bias. When that disadvantaged status is blamed on those groups’ imagined faults, our incipient biases can feel warranted. Those biases will continue to be reproduced until we understand and challenge the disparities that fuel them. And the first step toward ending those disparities is to discard the assumption that they are inevitable” (Eberhardt, p. 297-298).

Prompt:

As a member of the Periclean Scholars Class of 2024, how will you work to confront your own biases in order to engage in cross-racial efforts to bring about racial equity? How will you build effective and sustainable cross-racial collaborations with partner organizations and community members whether here in the U.S. or in Morocco? What will you do to ensure that such collaborations are just, equitable, and provide mutual benefits for all stakeholders? How will you avoid the pitfalls of local and international service work, including: 1) failing to recognize and maintain the dignity and agency of your community partners; 2) perpetuating differentials of power; 3) being racially and/or culturally insensitive; and, 4) taking a “savior complex” approach to your community engagement endeavors?

In your response, please consider your background, your social identities (e.g., gender, race, etc.), and your personal experiences, how they have shaped your perceptions and interactions with the world, and how others in turn perceive you.

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Following receipt of your materials, you will be contacted for a personal interview with Dr. Shannon Lundeen, Mentor for the Class of 2024 Periclean Scholars. Please email your application materials (as a single .pdf file) to Dr. Lundeen at slundeen2@elon.edu. Please have the letter of recommendation emailed to Dr. Lundeen at slundeen2@elon.edu.

Note: As soon as you decide to apply, please contact Dr. Lundeen so your interview can be scheduled as early as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to contact her at slundeen2@elon.edu.