Dalai Lama Fellows 2015
Designing a Compassion-in-Action Project Proposal
How can we create well-being while working across differences at the intersection of peace, justice, and ecology?
We are interested in supporting efforts that will strengthen unlikely alliances and improve well-being in locations where gender inequity, economic impoverishment, violence or discord, and ecological degradation intersect.
Ideally, projects will have layers that respond to each of these intersecting challenges. Your project may focus most strongly on one aspect of the theme, but the other aspects should be present as well.
What should my project do?
Proposals we've found to be strong in the past include those that:
- Facilitate a coalition or a yearlong series of conversations or classes, like The Palestinian-Israeli Leadership Network
- Conduct a community-based research project, like The Barefoot Lawyer’s Project
- Create an app or other technology-based intervention, like Project Not Alone, Sherman Project, or Clickonate
- Create a community-owned agrobiodiversity project, like The Mountain Garden Initiative or Project PEAS
- Explore the intersection of art and social change, like Snow Lion Story-Telling Initiative or Iwastology
Your project can be a new initiative, or something you've already begun. In either case, your project should be something that you're prepared to work on throughout the fellowship year, and you should be ready to grow and change - and for your project to grow and change with you - as you engage with the Dalai Lama Fellows community and our yearlong Ethical Leadership curriculum.
Where should my project be located?
- with a demonstrated need for the solution or service your project provides;
- with assets that will help make your project a success;
- where you already have established ties; and
- that you will have access to throughout the Fellowship year.
The Dalai Lama Fellows eligibility criteria require that you be enrolled in your current institution throughout the fellowship year (the 2015-2016 academic year), so we don't recommend proposing projects that would require you to relocate.
Proposals to work in a community the applicant has never visited or where s/he has no contacts are not likely to be selected.
How do I build a strong proposal?
The points you should address in the project proposal include:
- the community's needs - What need does your project address? How do you know it is a need?
- your strategy - How will you approach this need? What steps will you take?
- anticipated challenges - What are the possible roadblocks for your project? How can you mitigate them?
- measures of success - How will you know whether your project has succeeded?
- a plan of succession for after the Fellowship year - If the project is long-term, will you continue to manage it? Will it become self-sustaining? How?
- a plan to share your project with your campus - How will you bring your Dalai Lama Fellows experience to others at your institution? What can they gain from it?
- engagement with the Dalai Lama Fellows curriculum - What do you hope to learn as a Dalai Lama Fellow? How will it serve your project?
Your proposal will also include a timeline and budget. It's important that you show that you've thought through the costs associated with the project and can budget creatively and prudently.
Finally, it is important that you take steps to identify a mentor - someone on campus or in the community whose expertise and guidance will help you as you refine and implement your project, and who has agreed to take on this role. If you haven't found someone by the time you apply, you should show that you have a plan in place to identify someone.
Where can I get help?
Dalai Lama Fellows, a distinctive, secular global program personally authorized by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, envisions and works towards a world that tends to the good of the whole as well as of the individual. We do this by guiding a global network of young social entrepreneurs to deepen their effectiveness by merging innovation with secular ethics, contemplative values, and compassion.