CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA Rachel Sawyer (COL ’14) received a GIRA grant to cover her expenses as part of the Learning Enterprises program in Turkey.
CLAIRE SOISSON/THE HOYA
Rachel Sawyer (COL ’14) received a GIRA grant to cover her expenses as part of the Learning Enterprises program in Turkey.
To bolster education and empower students to enact changes in international affairs, the fourth annual Georgetown International Relations Association Global Generations Grant is accepting applications until March 15.

GIRA, founded in 1969, maintains a working relationship with the International Relations Club on campus, and is an 501(c) nonprofit that aims to foster education of international matters. In doing so, GIRA serves as a force behind the Model United Nations conferences Georgetown holds, including the National Collegiate Security Council and the North American Invitational Model United Nations conference.

The Global Generations Grant seeks current undergraduate and graduate students — barring current senior undergraduates — who have designed projects that have the potential to impact their communities and the world.

“The criteria is to find projects that promote or teach the understanding of international affairs or development and that it empowers youth in some way,” GIRA Chief Operating Officer Chris Stromeyer (SFS ’14) said.

The grant awards recipients up to $2,500 to implement the goals of their projects. Since the grant began four years ago, recipients’ projects include building a school in Kenya, engaging in research of the Burmese music industry and creating a tennis program for children with autism in Serbia.

The three awardees for the 2012-2013 school year included Naomi Gingold (GRD ’14), Milosh Popovic (SFS ’16) and Rachel Sawyer (COL ’14).

“I first found out about the grant when I was planning to go work on the newspaper in Burma and do research. I knew I was quitting my job and I was looking for funding opportunities,” grant recipient Gingold said.

Gingold’s research in Burma focused on how the public sphere changed after the 50-year period of censorship passed and the development of Burmese hip-hop.

“I also proposed doing some workshops. I wanted to do a music production workshop as there was not much music education, but I did not know how much,” Gingold said.

Grant recipient Sawyer applied to GIRA in order to cover her travel and teaching expenses as part of the Learning Enterprises program she attended in Turkey.

“I had several different places confirm before that they would help me with those expenses, and slowly, one by one ,they started to fall through, so I started reaching out to people asking if they had any suggestions for scholarships or grants ,and they pointed me in the direction of GIRA,” Sawyer said.

Grant recipient Milosh Popovic (SFS ’16) will use the money to help fund a tennis program for youth with autism in Serbia this summer. Popovic first implemented this idea in his hometown of Princeton, N.J., where he started a program similar to the Special Olympics that paired high school students with students with autism to play tennis.

Popovic, who was born in Serbia, wanted to bring a similar program to the country in order to help provide support to children with disabilities in a country that lacks many of the programs that the United States has.

“The fact that I am from Serbia and my roots are there allows me to connect with people on a more personal level. I am truly willing to give back not as a westerner, but as a person who understands the Serbian mentality and the resources of the west,” Popovic said.

The grant, which is financed using profits generated from NCSC and NAIMUN, is open to students who either have individual projects or are part of a program that may or may not help on an international scale. The main objective of the grant is to address current international concerns.

“Our mission in the end is just to help Georgetown students develop their ideas and to give funding to the best ideas out there,” Stromeyer said.

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