Spring Updates

Layne Vandenberg, 2013 Wallenberg Travel Award recipient
Layne Vandenberg, 2013 Wallenberg Travel Award recipient

Raoul Wallenberg’s legacy lives on at the University of Michigan!

The University holds the achievements of this esteemed alumnus and humanitarian to be among the most important ideals we can embody, and students with these exceptional characteristics have been active on campus and around the world. This newsletter showcases the many ways U-M is honoring humanitarians and engaging young people to understand the human condition and make the world a better place. We hope you find them as inspiring as we do.

Wallenberg Medal

Agnes Heller

Agnes Heller, 2014 Wallenberg Medal awardee

Agnes Heller

On September 30, the 2014 Wallenberg Medal is being awarded to Agnes Heller, a distinguished philosopher and Holocaust survivor who seeks to understand the nature of ethics and morality in the modern world, and the social and political systems and institutions within which evil can flourish.

Like Wallenberg, Professor Heller has demonstrated that courage is the highest expression of civic spirit. She has been witness to regimes that have organized murder, crushed dissent and persecuted independent voices. In 1944, as a young woman surviving in Budapest, she knew the name Wallenberg. She spoke out vigorously for autonomy and self-determination after the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Following the defeat of the 1968 Prague Spring, she went into exile and became the Hannah Arendt Visiting Professor of Philosophy in the Graduate Studies Program of The New School in New York. She is a highly influential scholar who publishes internationally-acclaimed work on ethics, aesthetics, modernity, and political theory. In 2010, she was awarded Germany’s Goethe Medal. Since retirement, Agnes Heller has returned to Budapest. She remains fully engaged in public life, speaking out against the neo-nationalist and anti-Semitic strains again current.

She will be awarded the medal and will present the Wallenberg Lecture on September 30, 2014 at 7:30 at the Rackham Graduate School. Please save the date to join us!

Wallenberg Fellowship

A generous gift from U-M parents Jon and Lili Bosse will support the Wallenberg Fellowship for the next several years.

Earlier this year U-M alumnus Bert Askwith (B.A.1931) generously created the Mary Sue Coleman Endowed Fund for the Raoul Wallenberg Fellowship in honor of the leadership provided by President Coleman during her tenure at U-M. The endowment will support future generations of Michigan students who are inspired by Wallenberg’s legacy.

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Lily Bonadonna

Lily Bonadonna, 2014 Wallenberg Fellowship recipient

Lily Bonadonna

Lily Bonadonna, an LSA senior set to graduate this May, is the second Wallenberg Fellow and will study the social causes of tuberculosis prevalence in Lima, Peru.

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Zachary Petroni in Kenya

Zachary Petroni, 2013 Wallenberg Fellowship recipient

Zach Petroni

Zach Petroni received the inaugural Wallenberg Fellowship when he graduated from the Ford School of Public Policy in May 2013. He is now finishing his year in Kenya studying the ways in which different approaches to conservation governance influence economic outcomes for local populations. He discussed his experience with us recently.


Wallenberg Summer Travel Awards

Five undergraduates and one graduate student were selected to receive the 2014 Summer Travel Awards. These awards allow selected students to take part in a community service project or civic participation anywhere in the world. They are modeled after Raoul Wallenberg’s experience traveling to observe and learn from people of all kinds and shape a lifelong concern for human dignity and humanitarian values.

Dana Del Vecchio

Dana Del Vecchio, junior, LSA, plans to work with schools in Jordan to develop school newspapers that can help build stronger communities for school systems hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees.

Randy Dowding

Randy Dowding, master’s student, Social Work and Public Health, received the Isabel Bagramian Summer Travel Award to support his work in South Africa on HIV interventions for women.

Harish Kilaru

Harish Kilaru, junior, LSA, plans to support his work in India on a project to help develop devices to allow physicians to diagnose respiratory tract infections and jaundice.

Hea Oh

Hea Oh, junior, Nursing, expects to support her work providing health education to elementary school students in the area of the Philippines badly damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.

Stuart Richardson

Stuart Richardson, junior, LSA, aims to support an internship with the Cultural Center of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg, Germany, to build educational tools and an online database.

Nour Soubani

Nour Soubani, junior, LSA, will work with NuDay Syria in Antakiya, Turkey, in a project to develop conflict management support and prevent gender violence in Syrian refugees centers.