In 1998, a small group of friends got together to establish a program that would provide a new opportunity for their peers to learn about and work for the South Asian community while augmenting their education through valuable experiences. To do this, they began researching the procedures through which a Fellowship could be established to support students in a way that would both help promote South Asian awareness and support the South Asian community while allowing the recipients the independence and freedom to explore original avenues to accomplish these goals. The Fellowship was named after Mahatma Gandhi because Gandhi, perhaps the most famous South Asian in history, himself most elegantly and thoroughly pronounced these beliefs of social awareness and acceptance as well as personal dedication and hard work to accomplish this goal. Thus, the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship was established under the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, recognizing as its primary effort to be one that seeks a more open and accepting society.

Today, the main goals of the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship are as follows:

  • To pioneer sustainable approaches to complex social needs in South Asia.
  • To inspire future UNC student awareness of South Asia and its social concerns.
  • To promote the value of education through experience.

These goals, derived from the original philosophy behind the Fellowship, are carried on today by the current MGF Co-Chairs and the Fellows who are selected each year. The Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship is administered today through Sangam, a South Asian awareness organization at UNC-Chapel Hill, which selects the MGF Co-Chairs and coordinates all fundraising efforts. Through the efforts of Sangam and its members, progress continues to be made as students work to raise the $125,000 endowment fund that will guarantee this Fellowship for years to come by allowing new Fellows to be funded simply off the interest generated.

How to Apply

This fellowship awards two summer grants of up to $3,000 each to develop and implement civic engagement projects that employ innovative, sustainable approaches to complex social needs in one of the eight countries of the South Asian subcontinent (India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh).

Projects are to be carried out in the summer months. Any returning, full-time undergraduate or graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill is eligible to apply.To be chosen as a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow, your application must reflect your creativity, inherent interest in South Asian issues, and strong academic record. Applicants will be judged based on the organization, comprehensibility, and feasibility of their proposals along with their ability to display the following:

  • Leadership potential in conjunction with social activism
  • An enthusiasm for self-directed learning
  • A sense of commitment to creating sustainable change

Students will be judged through their applications, letters of support and a personal interview.

Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 27th, 2019, 5:00PM

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