Labouisse Prize winners to work in Brazil, Afghanistan

May 13, 2004 12:50 a.m.

Princeton University seniors Fernando Delgado and Karim Thomas each have been awarded the Henry Richardson Labouisse '26 Prize, which will allow them to pursue postgraduate projects in Brazil and Afghanistan, respectively.

The Labouisse fellowship provides $25,000 in funding to support research in developing countries by a graduating senior or a first-year alumnus or alumna who intends to pursue a career devoted to problems of development and modernization.

Delgado, who is from Brasilia, Brazil, will earn a degree in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a certificate in Latin American studies. He will use his Labouisse award to work with Viva Rio, a human rights organization in Rio de Janeiro, and with Human Rights Watch to monitor conditions in the city's child detention centers. Delgado will assist in Viva Rio's educational and community development efforts, compiling the best practices used in efforts to rehabilitate youth offenders.

Noting the high number of gun-related deaths in Rio de Janeiro, Delgado said that his work with Viva Rio will "allow me to contribute meaningfully to those campaigns that aim to assist kids in criminal detention in Brazil, who are often the most vulnerable to abuses in the turmoil of this public security crisis. Deep reforms are needed to correct the brutal violations occurring in the juvenile justice apparatus in my country."

Thomas, who is from Vancouver, British Columbia, also is a Woodrow Wilson School major and is a certificate candidate in Near Eastern studies. With his Labouisse prize, Thomas will return to Afghanistan to work for President Hamid Karzai's administration to pursue development efforts in the war-torn nation.

Thomas, who worked for Karzai's chief of staff last summer, said "one of the difficulties when you work in a place like Afghanistan is that your job description changes every day." His main focus during the next year will be on "initiating and coordinating programs to engage nontraditional institutions and other sources of aid in development for Afghanistan" by fostering ties between government, universities, professional associations and other organizations.

More details are available in a news release.

Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601