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Longley film will document lives, struggles of homeless

Margaret Longley, photographed by her brother, Academy Award nominee James Longley. The two worked together on the highly acclaimed documentary, ‘Iraq In Fragments.’ - James Longley
Margaret Longley, photographed by her brother, Academy Award nominee James Longley. The two worked together on the highly acclaimed documentary, ‘Iraq In Fragments.’
— image credit: James Longley

Project selected for Davis Projects for Peace Award

Margaret Longley of San Juan Island, a sophomore at College of the Atlantic, will spend the summer creating a film on the disenfranchisement of the homeless.

Her project, titled, "Homelessness and Voting in a Democracy," is funded by the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Projects for Peace Award. These awards came about in 2007, on Davis' 100th birthday, when she committed $1 million to fund 100 grassroots projects by college students to, she said, "bring new thinking to the prospects of peace in the world." Davis repeated her gift for 2008.

Longley is a filmmaker who worked in the Iraqi war zone on the Academy Award-nominated film, "Iraq in Fragments."

"There is a great disparity between the homeless and those with homes," Longley said. "But this disparity does not come solely from the difference in the physical surroundings of what each group calls home. The disparity stems from the difference in how each group experiences their shared social environment: one as an accepted member and one as a disenfranchised outcast."

To bridge this divide, Longley will spend the summer documenting the lives and struggles of members of the homeless community in Seattle, focusing on those with compelling stories and those who have been active in gaining a strong political voice and rights for the homeless.

A certified emergency medical technician with interests in photojournalism and photography, Longley is dividing her time at College of the Atlantic between pre-med and film classes.

In addition to the 100 undergraduate students from 81 colleges and universities receiving funding for their projects for peace, Davis is funding 20 graduate-student projects through the global institution, International House.

Davis is an internationalist and philanthropist, the mother of Shelby M.C. Davis, who funds the Davis United World College Scholar Program which provides grants to select American colleges and universities in support of students from all over the world who have completed their pre-university studies in one of the 12 United World College schools. These schools, located on five continents, are dedicated to promoting international understanding through education.

"My many years have taught me that there will always be conflict," Davis said. "It's part of human nature. But love, kindness and support are also part of human nature, and my challenge to these young people is to bring about a mindset of preparing for peace instead of preparing for war."

College of the Atlantic, located on the Maine coast, awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in human ecology. Visit www.coa.edu.

For more information on the Projects for Peace program, visit www.davisprojectsforpeace.org.

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