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Wednesday, August 10, 2022


The Student Media Grant Program grants funds to students or recent graduates to conduct development or extension programs in the field and chronicle issues affecting conflict areas.


 A travel grant to cover difficult conflict-related topics through compelling photo stories abroad 

SMGP Application Period: Sept. 15 - Nov 15, 2021 - Application period closed

Students may submit their SMGP proposals from September 15th - November 15th, 2021.  We will announce winners around Dec 15th. Grantees may complete their programs in the Spring, Summer or early Fall of 2022.  

This year, we are only accepting SMGP proposals from students from any of the 11 universities

within The Texas A&M University System 


We will continue monitoring the COVID-19 situation and adjust our program if needed. Students must abide by Texas A&M University and their university's travel rules when completing their programs. 

Texas A&M University's Travel Guidance may be found here: TAMU TRAVEL GUIDEANCE FOR STUDENT INDEPENDENT PROGRAMS


    ·       Proposals should be submitted by email no later than 12:00 pm noon (US Central Time) on  Monday Nov 15th, 2021 to our Student Media Grant Program Manager Johanna Roman. 

    ·         Email:

    ·         Please use “SMGP 2022: [Your last name] [Target country]” as the subject line

    ·         Proposals must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document. Please use a 12 pt Times New Roman font, single space. 

    ·         Only one proposal can be submitted per student. Students may request up to $5,000. Award amounts will be made at the discretion of the Chair

    Proposals should include the following sections: 

    PAGE 1 - Cover sheet (including the following information):

    ·         Proposal Title

    ·         Target Country (Where will you travel to for this program?)

    ·         Applicant name

    ·         Major or recent degree obtained (Example: Masters in Political Science)

    ·         University Name, Department Name

    ·         Graduation Date

    ·         Contact information: Your email and telephone number; your website and social media handles showcasing your portfolio (if you have one)

    ·         Name, title & email of faculty member who can serve as reference


     PAGE 2 - Thematic focus (1 Page)

    ·         What theme/issue do you plan to photograph? What is the conflict-related issue to be chronicled?  

    ·         What do you hope to achieve by highlighting this specific subject or issue? Will this project further your professional/personal aspirations?  


    PAGE 3 - Motivation for doing this work (1/2 Page) & Timeline: Planned activities over at least a 3-month period (1/2 Page)

    ·         Why have you selected a particular conflict-related topic and your target country? 

    ·         Which country organization(s) you will be working with; what cities will you visit and what is your logistics plans (transportation, lodging, etc.) You should include a clear timeline of activities. 

        PAGE 4 - Budget (1/2 page) & Reporting/Plans for disseminating your work (1/2 Page)  

    ·         What is your target media for publication? Please include your plans for blogging (monthly blogs/photos are encouraged) and publicizing your work on social media. A final report is required, and you may be asked to offer an online presentation about your program. 

    ·         Please include a budget with details on airfare, local transportation, lodging, meals, equipment costs, etc. A table format is preferred. Include any cost share.

    Please review our SMGP Frequently Asked Questions here: FAQ 

    Additional Information for SMGP Proposals:

    This grant was inspired by Howard G. Buffett’s use of photography to document the nexus of conflict and development.  in “Fragile: The Human Condition.” This grant is funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation Chair on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University and the amount awarded will be at the discretion of the Chair.

    Applicants may be current students from any of the universities within The Texas A&M University System or recent graduates (with a 2021 graduation date) interested in traveling abroad to conduct a photojournalism program that will capture conflict-related issues that community members are facing through high-quality photography.


    Given the current health pandemic situation, SMGP Grantees will need to abide by their University travel rules to conduct their programs abroad. Many universities are limiting or prohibiting non-essential travel. The selected grantees can work on a variety of research or extension programs that fit our research priorities and that will allow them to chronicle critical issues being faced by fragile communities, such as:     


    o    Peace and reconciliation                                                                                        o    Poverty and food insecurity

    o    Forms of violence (gender, school, domestic, political, etc.)                                o    Migration/refugee crisis 


    The SMGP topic selected should align with our cross-cutting themes which are central to our operations and/or reflect content in ConDev research portfolio (See ConDev’s research focuses largely on mitigating conflict related to four program areas, which are based on their potential to mitigate international conflict:


    1.     Food security                    2.    Youth Employment             3.    Natural Resources               4.    Local Institutions


    SMGP is a travel grant, so students must propose a project abroad. Through SMGP, the 2021-2022 grantee will need to present a plan for a 3-month engagement (minimum) with conflict and development issues through extension activities, internships, student research, or other programs and create media content to document that engagement. Planned activities should span a three-month period of engagement, including preparation, travel, editing, reporting.) SMGP photo expeditions should take place sometime between February and November to allow student to prepare and submit their final reports/media products. 

    Students may use photography, videos, blogs, social media, and other forms of photojournalism to document how their program contributed to development issues.

    All work produced by Student Media Grant winners will be used by the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to advance advocacy and public awareness of critical issues facing international development. All other organizations or individuals wishing to use any of the work produced by Student Media Grant winners will require previous approval from the authors.  


    Unwilling to compromise the health and safety of students, Texas A&M University and other academic institutions have had to make some tough decisions in regards to international programs. Below are some issues that students need to consider:

    Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision to allow travel is subject to change and currently approved programs may be canceled at a later date.  We recommend that students refrain from making financial commitments until absolutely necessary. 


    As per TAMU guidelines, student grantees are allowed to use their grant to participate in individual experiences through a provider or exchange partner as long as the host has confirmed that it is operational, and with the understanding that grantees do so at their own risk. Any financial loss incurred because of travel or health issues related to COVID-19 will not be reimbursed by Texas A&M University.
    A few things students should consider include:

    ·         The ability to depart their country of residence and enter destination country based on current travel restrictions

    ·         That programs may be abruptly ended by the provider or host institution if conditions worsen

    ·         Travel restrictions may change while abroad, prohibiting students from returning to their country of residence.  

    ·         There may be a need to self-isolate upon return to the country of residence.

    ·         Major delays in the processing of passports may prevent students from obtaining a passport and/or visa (or residence permit) in time for travel

    ·         Institutional and federal financial aid may not be awarded due to travel restrictions         

    Texas A&M student grantees  who are pursuing independent programs should notify Education Abroad of their decision by emailing Students of other universities should notify their respective universities’ Study Abroad office.

    Students must closely monitor governmental and international travel advisories and restrictions, as well as guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Department of State.

     *Reference: Student Travel Information regarding Education Abroad programs – Texas A&M’s  Education Abroad website.


    All work produced by Student Media Grant winners will be used by the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to advance advocacy and public awareness of critical issues facing international development. All other organizations or individuals wishing to use any of the work produced by Student Media Grant winners will require previous approval from the authors. 

    Past Projects

    Past winners have traveled to and produced photography highlighting issues in many conflict-affected regions.

    2018 Projects

    2013 Projects

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