Beginning the Sparks 2018-19 academic year in Turkey, one student will be selected to receive the “Jeanne Nidorf Compassion and Social Change Award.” This award, in honor of Jeanne, acknowledges and rewards Sparks students who have demonstrated – by their thoughts, words, and deeds – the highest principles of the Sparks program.
Dr. Jeanne Nidorf is co-founder of TWI and a key figure in the design and development of the unique Sparks program. Jeanne’s background in cross-cultural community development and her sensitivity to socio-economic, educational and cultural differences have been instrumental in the success of the program. Her compassion for collaborative social change – combined with her patient and lively spirit – have profoundly influenced and guided the program and endeared her to students.
Sema Basol says of Jeanne: “It has been a privilege and a joy to work with Jeanne during the course of the last ten years to develop a program that meets the needs of educated young women in Turkey. It enables them with the skills they need to bring change not only in their own lives but also in their communities. Collaborating with Jeanne has provided me with a unique insight into my own upbringing and culture, for which I am very grateful.”
In addition to her ongoing contributions to the Sparks program and curriculum, Jeanne has also served as board vice president and maintained relationships with many of the Sparks students as mentor and counselor. Although she is retiring from board service, she remains a TWI champion and cheerleader. She continues to stay in touch – long distance – with Sparks alums who consider her their friend and role model.
The first winning candidate, a Sparks alum, will receive the monetary award at the 2019 “Change Leaders Summit,”held in Izmir, Turkey in May. The winner will be chosen from among current Sparks participants as one who has most clearly demonstrated the following qualities: leadership, compassion, and ongoing commitment to social change. The award may be used for academic expenses (e.g. advanced university degrees) or community service (e.g., a Spark who returns to her community with a plan to initiate a social change project).
Launched in 2009, TWI’s flagship Sparks program is a unique and innovative eight-month experiential learning program that follows the academic calendar. Participants are women of modest means attending public universities in Turkey. While they do not receive course creditfor the Sparks program, they grow in leadership, work and life experience.
Jeanne and Sema celebrating another successful Sparks year at the 2011 “Change Leaders Summit”
Jeanne with husband Mac, who always attends the “Change Leaders Summit” in Izmir with Jeanne.