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Sunday, July 25, 2021

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The 2018-19 Mundt Peace Fellowship winners with Davida Huchel, second from left, co-trustee of the Mundt Peacemakers Fund The 2018-19 Mundt Peace Fellowship winners with Davida Huchel, second from left, co-trustee of the Mundt Peacemakers Fund
 


First Mundt Peace Fellowship Winners Announced

Nine SDSU students received internships for service-learning work in Cambodia this summer.
By Leslie L.J. Reilly
 

San Diego State University students from a variety of disciplines will head to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for eight-week internships this summer through the newly created Mundt Peace Fellowship Program.

The internships, developed by the College of Arts and Letters with a gift from the William R. Mundt Peacemakers Fund, give SDSU students opportunities to participate in the work of non-governmental agencies (NGO), governmental aid agencies, combined public/private aid/peace efforts, humanitarian organizations and social entrepreneurships seeking to alleviate social and economic inequalities.  

Mundt (’68) passed away in 2014. His son, Andrew, and friend, Davida Huchel, are co-trustees of the Mundt Peacemakers Fund. Huchel said Mundt was unsettled by the violence he witnessed during World War II and the Cold War. After earning a master’s degree in psychology from SDSU, he became an adviser at the Wesley Center on campus.

Huchel said she and Andrew Mundt “were attracted to Cambodia for the diversity of opportunities the participating nonprofits in the country would provide students.” These include education; art and music; the environment and sustainability; law and social justice; and healthcare and social welfare.

“We are also conscious of Cambodia's recent history of genocide and reconciliation,” Huchel said. “We hope that Cambodia will stand as a cautionary tale, but also offer insight into how a nation heals.”
 
More than 100 students applied to the fellowship program. Fifteen were interviewed and nine were chosen as 2018-19 awardees:

Grace Megginson, child & family development major and Samuel Hagos, international security and conflict resolution major, will assist in daily operations of the People Improvement Organization, which provides education and shelter for disadvantaged children who live in the area and aims to break the cycle of poverty.

Bilal Mohamed, comparative literature major and Britney Budiman, urban studies major, will work with the Cambodia Living Arts organization, which was established by a genocide survivor and musician. This NGO supports people developing their careers in the arts, along with traditional and endangered performances and rituals.

Madilynn Reynoso, interdisciplinary studies major in chemistry/biology/psychology, and Veronica Coen, cell molecular biology major, will assist doctors, nurses, and dentists at One-2-One, a nonprofit that aims to meet holistic needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable children who are orphaned, people living in urban slums, families who can’t afford medical care, prisoners and people with HIV.

Maya McHale, international security and conflict resolution major, and McKenna Avery, sustainability major, will assist in the development of community forest, fishery, and eco-tourism projects for Culture and Environment Preservation Association (CEPA), an NGO focused on environmental, community-based natural resource management, biodiversity, water governance and climate change.

Gabriel Wahl, journalism major, will support projects spearheaded by Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC), an NGO providing free legal services in both civil and criminal cases to vulnerable and disadvantaged people.

“I’m excited to help people that don’t have options. When we live in our bubble, we don’t have a chance to see underdeveloped countries and this will give me a chance to make an impact,” Reynoso said.

For more information or to apply for the 2020 cohort, visit http://calabroad.sdsu.edu/cambodia