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Pilgrim Place hosted the Fourteenth Annual Napier Initiative Celebration

Claremont, California. — This spring, Pilgrim Place hosted the Fourteenth Annual Napier Initiative Celebration recognizing 12 graduating seniors at the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges for their ideas for peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability. The Napier Initiative was established in 2010 by Pilgrim Place Senior Living Community in partnership with the five undergraduate Claremont Colleges to recognize and encourage students who demonstrate promise in creative leadership to foster justice for people, nurture peace, and reconciliation. Two of the Napier Fellows were rewarded grants of $20,000 to carry out their projects.

Rukmini Banerjee, a student of Claremont McKenna College, will offer ten-week courses on Living Under Structural Violence to incarcerated people in the San Francisco Bay Area, partnering with the Pomona Prison Education Program (PEP). Individuals anticipating parole will be matched with mentors who have successfully transitioned to life after prison. Her profound grasp of communication processes and her experience as a teacher inside local prisons provide a unique educational opportunity.  

Taeya Boi-Doku, a student at Pitzer College, will embark on a project that will take her to an eco-village called Asaase Yaa in Mankrong, Ghana. Her project will share her skills in sustainable gardening, water management, and solar electrical systems with a team of people who will build regenerative gardens for local food production. In workshops and classes, her techniques will reach a wide audience in Ghana.

Anoush Baghdassarian is a 2017 Fellow and Claremont McKenna College graduate who was invited to share her experience of working on human rights issues: "Reflecting on all my efforts to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, I found that storytelling was a powerful way to relieve the pain of the victims and achieve that sense of acknowledgment that could begin to close their open wounds. Stories are a way to keep the truth alive, especially in the face of denial, and having someone tell their story so that it is remembered and known is an antidote to the painful plague of revisionism and denialism that storms the world when the perpetrator’s version of reality dominates."

Barbara Troxell a Chair of Napier Initiative: "Primary foci of the Napier projects program are the intergenerational relationships between elder Mentors from Pilgrim Place and undergraduate Fellows from the five Claremont undergraduate colleges. We like to say to the student Fellows: 'You have won, because you are Fellows with outstanding projects.' Indeed the selection of the two Awardees is challenging because all of the projects are inspiring. Warm congratulations to all Napier Fellows!"

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