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Freeman Prize awarded to Meg Anderson, graduating senior in government

Margaret 'Meg' Anderson, '21 (Freeman Prize winner)
May 29, 2021

Harrop and Ruth Freeman Prize in Peace Studies

The Freeman Prize goes to a Cornell graduating senior who has demonstrated a commitment to working for world peace. This year’s winner is Margaret 'Meg' Anderson ’21, for her achievements and continuing work in peace activities. Meg is a government major in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell and is interested in the intersection of international development and security studies.

In the summer of 2019, through an internship with the Einaudi Center’s Institute for African Development, she worked as a research fellow at the Southern African Institute for Policy in Zambia. There, she collaborated with locals to design and implement a research project on political repression and women’s health. The culmination of her efforts led her to publish “Disillusionment and Fear: The Impact of Zambia’s Religio-Political Climate on Sexual and Reproductive Health Organisations,” in the Southern African Journal of Policy and Development. Of this experience, Meg said, “my time in Zambia taught me that building peace starts with the promotion of human prosperity.”

For the last two years, Meg has been an undergraduate research assistant at the Gender and Security Sector Lab, led by Prof. Sabrina Karim (PACS Faculty). She started researching international security sector assistance programs, including U.S. police assistance programs, which involved a literature review as well as combing through Congressional records. According to Professor Karim, “Meg really showed how invested she was in this research by attending optional workshops lead by the DCAF Geneva Center of Security Governance,” going on to explain she was one of few undergraduates to participate.

Margaret 'Meg' Anderson, '21 in Zambia (Freeman Prize Winner PACS)
Margaret 'Meg' Anderson, '21 in Zambia as research fellow

Finally, it is worth noting that not only has Meg worked on strengthening civil society, women’s health, and security sector reform, but she is also a Fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. In the fellowship, she learned from and researched under scholars committed to making a nuclear-free world. Fellows also met with a hibakusha, a Japanese survivor of the atomic bomb, with Meg stating, “[when] he lifted his shift to show his disfigured chest, my life was forever changed. That moment reinforced the fact that war and violence, like nuclear weapons, are institutionalized.” 

She went on to say in her application for the Freeman Prize: “Our world is not safer and more secure with nuclear weapons and large militaries. It's safer and more secure when the citizens are fed, taught, and healed. It’s safer when our resources are spent on peace, climate change, and vaccinating the masses.”

These interests and her dedication to the research that she does through the various experiences she has engaged in demonstrate her commitment to peace. Meg plans to take all these experiences and skills with her into the workforce after she graduates.

Looking Ahead

"Growing up in a rural town in western Colorado, coming to Cornell gave me so many opportunities to work and study that I would have never had before. I specifically cite my time studying and working in Zambia and Jordan as the two biggest experiences that taught me how to think globally. I hope to use my education to make the world a more peaceful, prosperous, and safe place for everyone. My long-term goal is to work for the State Department or USAID in the intersection of international aid and security. Diplomacy is an important tool for shaping our world, and I would strive to make it an organization that reflects our diverse and forward-thinking generation. Above all, I wouldn't be here without the support of so many people and the wonderful institution of Cornell.”

–Margaret 'Meg' Anderson, '21

About the Freeman Prize

The Harrop and Ruth Freeman Prize in Peace Studies is awarded annually in the spring to a Cornell graduating senior. The Freemans established the prize to offer recognition and encouragement to Cornell undergraduate students actively engaged in promoting peace and to encourage continued work or education in the field of peace studies. It was established in 1984 to honor Ruth Freeman, the first woman on the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences. Ruth died in April 1988 and Harrop in October 1993. A bequest from the Freemans ensures that future Cornell students will be recognized for their achievements and continuing work in peace activities.

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