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PhD student awarded Davis Fellowship for Peace

Posted on 2 March 2020

Lauren Avery, PhD in Global Development, has been awarded a Fellowship to attend a seven-week Portuguese language intensive course in preparation for her fieldwork.

view of Brazil

The programme is an intensive seven-week Portuguese summer school with a focus on Brazilian-Portuguese language, culture and history at Middlebury College in Vermont, US. 

The sought-after fellowship Lauren received is the Davis Fellowship for Peace, awarded annually to 100 exceptionally qualified individuals. The Fellowship fulfils the intention of the late philanthropist Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who sought to "bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war," with the study of languages recognised as key to the development of intercultural understanding and therefore essential to reducing conflict. The Fellows demonstrate interest in one or more of the following areas: international, global, or area studies; international politics and economics; peace and security studies; and/or conflict resolution. 

Lauren’s PhD in Global Development research centres on the post-Zika outbreak in Brazil and will focus on the social movements led by the families of children with Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome. Drawing from the fields of Critical Disability Studies, Development Studies and Global Health, the research will primarily investigate the framing of disability by these social movements, evaluate the effectiveness of this construct in terms of claiming and obtaining rights, and investigate the broader implications of this framing on conceptualisations of disability and the rights of other people with disabilities in Brazil. 

This will be Lauren's first trip to the US and she is hoping that the summer school will provide a boost in her language skills before she goes to Brazil next year to undertake her fieldwork: “As my research relies partially on participatory research methods, I really need to have a good working level of Portuguese before I arrive. As I haven't been able to spend time in Brazil this provides a way to (hopefully!) fast-track my skills so that I will be able to work with the children and families affected by Zika”.