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California Social Change Prize - Call for Nominations


Resource posted by: Christine Trost

Created on: December 6, 2011

Resource description

Please forward widely. We apologize for cross-postings! UC Berkeley's Center for Research on Social Change (formerly ISSC)is now accepting nominations for the

2012 FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize

The FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding young social change activist/scholar in California.The award of $2,500 honors a person whose work transforms the existing social landscapeandserves as a bridge between the academy and the community.An awardee helps to build the capacity of community-based organizations and social movements to confront pressing issues by applying her/his academic expertise.Simultaneously, she/he enriches academic scholarship by sharing the insights and knowledge produced from community engagement with the broader academic community.

NOTE: The award is not limited to students or scholars, but an honoree's work should reflect a commitment to strengthening ties between the academy and communities. There is no age limit for this award, but the honoree should be in the early stages of his/her career as a social change activist/scholar.

Past Recipients

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg,is Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco where she teaches courses on the Politics of International Aid and Development, African Politics, and the Politics of Racial and Ethnic Identity. She is also the founder and executive director of Akili Dada, a non-profit organization dedicated to women's empowerment by providing leadership training, mentorship and scholarships for poor Kenyan girls, and she serves on the Board of Directors of the One World Children's Fund. Wanjiru left Kenya at the age of 14 to join her uncle in Denver, Colorado. She went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in Politics from Whitman College and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. Her personal experience on both continents gave her insights into the challenges that poor women face in the quest for education, which have shaped both her academic scholarship and her social activism. Founded in 2005, Akili Dada identifies high-potential adolescent girls and gives them comprehensive scholarships to top secondary schools. Students are linked with local professional women who serve as mentors. Students also participate in a rigorous leadership training program grounded in community-based service projects and tailored to developing the skills needed to break into areas where Kenyan women are underrepresented. Alumnae of Akili Dada continue to engage with, and benefit from, Akili Dada by joining the leadership of the organization or by giving back to the organization either as interns or mentors to current students. Together they are building a powerful global women's network of scholars, mentors, and volunteers involved in diverse decision-making capacities beyond the household level. Wanjiru has used her expert knowledge of development, philanthropy, gender politics in Africa, and the barriers to education faced by young women to build the capacity of Akili Dada as an organization and contributor to social change. At the same time, she incorporates the lessons learned from Akili Dada into her teaching and scholarship, and she mentors USF students who undertake internships with the organization. Over the next decade, Wanjiru hopes to replicate the Akili Dada model and expand it to other African countries, with a goal of supporting 100 new scholars per year.

To read about other past recipients of the FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize, go to:

2012 Nomination Process

The FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prizeuses a nomination system, where someone other than the nominee identifies the nominee, their contributions, and the kinds of expertise they bring to understanding how change works.To download a nomination form, go to

Nomination due date:Monday, February 13, 2012, by 5pm

(The Prize will be announced within four to six weeks after the deadline date.An award ceremony will be held in the spring.)

Please send nomination forms and supporting materials to:

FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: The Thomas I. Yamashita Prize

Center for Research on Social Change

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues

University of California

2420 Bowditch Street, MC 5670

Berkeley, CA94720-5670

About Thomas I. Yamashita

Thomas Isao Yamashita was an undergraduate student in civil engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and a member of the class of 1942.He was one of the first Asian-Americans elected to two of the University of California's honor societies—Winged Helmet and the Order of the Golden Bear.The internment of Americans of Japanese descent on the West Coast of the United States in 1942 made it impossible for him to graduate from Berkeley.He eventually received his engineering degree from the University of Nebraska.Even so, Tom supported and cherished the University of California at Berkeley and was a life member of the Alumni Association.

As a civil engineer, Tom spent the majority of his career in Hong Kong. His work did not involve building the structures that typify its landscape.His work is unseen, focusing on foundations, on solving the complex engineering problems that enable steel and glass towers to be built.His work made possible the transportation corridors that allowed the city to become a regional economic hub.Through his leadership, Tom developed new construction techniques that altered the practice of building.His work changed the city's landscape.In this spirit of engineering the foundations of change, the FOUNDATIONS FOR CHANGE: Thomas I. Yamashita Prize is housed at the Institute for the Study of Social Change.

For more information about the Prize and nomination process go to contact Dr. Christine Trost: (510) 643-7237,

To download a nomination form, go to


Christine Trost, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI)

2420 Bowditch Street #5670

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA94720-5670


The Center for Research on Social Change (CRSC, formerly ISSC) is an interdisciplinary research center that is part of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI) at the University of California, Berkeley.CRSC researchers use a combination of qualitative and quantitative social science research methods to undertake empirical investigations into critical social issues facing the nation and to illuminate the lived experiences of people whose social locations are profoundly affected by broad processes of social change. A major focus of the Center is how immigration, globalization, economic restructuring, and development of new technologies have shaped and changed the structure and culture of various spheres within US society and societies throughout the world.


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