Recipients of 2006 Sander Thoenes Division III Research Awards at Hampshire College are Alexandra Cordts, Cierra Pacheco, and Sophie Woodruff. These annual awards honoring the memory of Hampshire alumnus Sander Thoenes (87F) go to students working in journalism, international relations or peace studies. Preference is given to projects conforming to the spirit of Thoenes’ remarkable, if tragically brief, career as a foreign correspondent.
At the time of his death in 1999, killed by Indonesian militia while in East Timor reporting on its attempts to become independent, Thoenes was Jakarta correspondent for the Financial Times of London. His reporting also appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News and World Report and other North American and European media.
Thoenes’ death drew international attention, and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan released a statement saying, in part: “It is largely thanks to the courage and determination of men and women like Sander that crimes against humanity are brought to the attention of the world’s conscience.”
The Thoenes Awards support fieldwork and other research costs involved in completion of recipients’ Division III projects, the senior thesis required of all students for graduation from Hampshire College.
Cordts is studying mediation and peace education, focusing on the importance of empowerment and storytelling in Third World countries. The Thoenes Award wil support her summer internship with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Africa Bureau in Washington, D.C. Cordts is from Glen Cove, Long Island in New York.
Pacheco, an aspiring filmmaker, is focusing in her work on the African Diaspora and the systematic “divide and conquer” practice of colonialism. In particular, she is examining the demeaning effects of a colonized standard of beauty on women of color. The Thoenes Award will help support a film she will make for her Division III that includes interviews with young African girls in Ghana and in her hometown of New York City.
Woodruff’s Division III project is titled “Establishing International Identity: Kurdish Migration and Activism and its role in Contemporary Germany.” Her senior thesis will focus on the development of Kurdish international identity in Berlin. The Thoenes Award will enable her to work with an activist organization in Berlin that pulls Kurdish women seeking asylum there from situations of isolation and encourages them to experience their own “voice” in contemporary German society. She is from New Orleans, Louisiana.