For Immediate Release: April 25, 2006
Contact: Marsha Nishi Mullan
Two Swarthmore Students Awarded Humanity in Action Fellowships
Katherine Sydenham of Queens, N.Y., a junior at Swarthmore College, and Mark Kharas of Tulsa, Okla., a sophomore, have been awarded Humanity in Action (HIA) summer fellowships. They are among 66 American undergraduates selected from a national pool of students from 147 colleges and universities. Sydenham, the daughter of Susan and Richard Sydenham, is a 2003 graduate of The Waldorf School of Garden City, N.Y. Kharas, the son of Kathleen Cairns and Karl Kharas, is a 2004 graduate of Holland Hall School in Tulsa.
HIA sponsors six summer fellowship programs in Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, and the U.S. In each five-week program, American and European students collaborate to study the condition of minorities in the host country and seek innovative ways to address their issues. The HIA fellows are selected on the basis of academic achievement, leadership ability, and demonstrated commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable minorities.
Sydenham will attend the American program in New York, where she will attend lectures and visit community organizations daily to study minority, human, and immigrant rights issues in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on how those issues are dealt with in New York City. Having studied last semester in Damascus, Syria, Sydenham hopes to work with Arab immigrant communities in New York, using her Arabic language skills to research the transition of Middle Easterners to life in the U.S. Sydenham will then write a research paper on a particular community or issue and develop an outreach project to be implemented within six months of completing the summer program.
Kharas will participate in the Danish program in Copenhagen. There, he will attend intensive seminars about issues relating to human rights, minority populations, and immigrants and meet daily with government officials, scholars, journalists, or NGO workers who address various aspects of these issues. He will complete the program by researching a specific current issue and writing a report with another Fellow, which will be published by HIA. Kharas will be expected to organize an event relating to his fellowship experience upon his return to Swarthmore.