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Monday, October 2, 2023

Student Media Grant

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.

                                        STUDENT MEDIA GRANT PROGRAM (SMGP)                                                                  The 2023-2024 Application Period is from Oct 1 - Nov 30, 2023  

About SMGP:

The Program on Conflict and Development (ConDev) at Texas A&M University is accepting applications for its annual Student Media Grant Program, offering Aggies and others an opportunity to highlight the human stories behind major global issues. This year (2023-2024) ConDev is cooperating with the Department of Hospitality, Hotel Management and Tourism, to focus on the role that hospitality and tourism plays in the mediation of conflict worldwide.

Since 2013, program participants have used photos, interviews and other means to document world events depicting the intersection of conflict and development. This year we ask the question, “How has hospitality and tourism supported peace building”. These grants are funded by Texas A&M’s Howard G. Buffett Foundation Endowed Chair on Conflict and Development.

SMGP Theme for 2023-2024:

This year, 2023-2024, the theme of the program is the role of tourism and hospitality in supporting families and communities to avoid conflict, thrive during conflict, or recover from conflict.

This theme is chosen to (a) commemorate the tenth anniversary of the installation of a selection of Howard G. Buffett photography at Texas A&M University, and (b) to celebrate the inauguration of the Department of Hospitality, Hotel Management and Tourism in Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Winners of the 2023-24 photo-journalism grants will be invited to Texas A&M to present their finished work as part of the celebration of the installation of the Buffett photography.  

Each grant winner is expected to spend a minimum of two months during 2024 engaged in and documenting through photography and associated written or verbal commentary an issue that reflects the challenges faced by fragile and conflict-affected nations through the lens of tourism and/or hospitality. 

This year, the application is open to any student from any accredited university in the world. Those selected for the program will receive up to $5,000 to travel to any location they choose, domestic or international, as long as they secure proper approval from their university and any other relevant entities.

As in previous years, students are encouraged to pair their documentary efforts with active community engagement through research and service activities. Past student media grant program projects have focused on topics as diverse as displaced persons who fled the Boko Haram in Nigeria,  a home gardening initiative in Haiti, devotees of the folk saint Santa Muerte in Mexico City, and conditions in France’s Calais “Jungle” refugee camp.

During their experience focused on hospitality and tourism, students will be expected to:

·       Demonstrate a two-month minimum engagement within their chosen problem focus through extension, public service, internships, student research, or other pursuits.

·       Create photo-journalism deliverable(s) for ConDev’s social media and/or website and document heir chosen subjects through photo, video, radio or some other form of media that draws attention to the role of hospitality and tourism to conflict and development issues;

·       Publish or exhibit their work in a form of refereed media.


    Who's Eligible?

    The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled at any accredited university worldwide. Students graduating in 2023 are also eligible to apply. 

    Application Timeline

      ·       October 1, 2023: Begin Accepting Application

      ·       November 30, 2023 (due by 11:59 pm CST, USA time): Application Deadline

      ·       December 2023: Review Period – please be patient as we review your incredible proposals!

      ·       January 7-23, 2024: Notification Period

      ·       February-May 2024 (Depending on proposal timeline): Funding Disbursement

      Proposal Format 

      Visit the Applications Tab or find the link here -   Application SMGP

      Submission Instructions

      ·       Proposals should be submitted to with “SMGP: [Name of Student, Target Country], as the subject line.

      ·       Only one proposal can be submitted per student.

      Selection Criteria

      ·       Thematic Focus:

      o   Is well thought out and provides a clear thematic focus and/or issue to be chronicled

      o   Proposes innovative use of media to chronicle chosen issue

      o   Has clear goal that is related to the issue

      o   Is pulled from a variety of sources

      ·       Motivation for Work:

      o   Provides at least 1 page of statement of motivation for work

      o   Motivation is clearly focused in an organized and thoughtful manner

      o   Information is constructed in a logical pattern to support the theme and/or issue to be chronicled

      ·       Planned Activities over 2 Month Period:

      o   Planned activities span a two-month period

      o   Provides plans for media/publication/blogging

      o   Provides clear deliverables

      ·       Budget and Travel Plans:

      o   Provides well-structured budget and requests amount under the $5000 limit

      o   Provides high leverage to project with external funds (not required, but encouraged)

      o   Provides clear travel dates

      o   Majority of requested budget is spent conducting project in the field

      Project Examples for 2023-24 

      The following list outlines examples of project ideas that students may consider for their proposals. These example projects are listed to simply provide students with a starting point upon which they may build their proposals:

      ·       The role of hospitality, hotel management, and tourism in humanizing different cultures, societies, and communities during ongoing conflicts

      ·       The role of hospitality, hotel management, and tourism in mitigating conflict

      ·       The persistence of hospitality, hotel management, and tourism during times of conflict

      ·       Prosperity and economic development through hospitality and tourism in conflict zones

      ·       Hospitality and tourism as a vehicle to economically, socially, and politically empower communities during times of conflict

      ·       The empowerment of marginalized groups and communities through participation in hospitality and tourism in conflict areas

      ·       Hospitality and nature-based tourism as a strategy to mitigate human-wildlife conflict

      ·       Hospitality, hotel management and tourism as a tool for changing attitudes towards wildlife issues, social movements, development challenges, foreign nationals, cultural groups, etc.

      ·       Hospitality, hotel management and tourism as a valuable resource to help communities recover from conflict

      ·       The recovery of hospitality, hotel management, and tourism following conflict-related interruptions 


      ·       What inspired ConDev to start this grant? Who manages it?

      o   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.” It is managed by the Program on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University (

      ·       Are teams allowed to submit a joint proposal?

      o   A maximum team size of two people is eligible to submit a joint proposal. The funding limit will be the same ($5,000 maximum). One principal investigator (PI) must be listed at the primary contact with ConDev.

      ·       How much money are we talking about, anyway?

      o   Awards are expected not to exceed $5,000 per awardee and will be made at the discretion of the Chair.

      ·       Are there any travel restrictions?

      o   Undergraduate students may not travel to a country where there is a U.S. Department of State travel warning in place.

      ·       When are the funds allowed to be used?

      o   The grant will be eligible for use between February 2024 to December 2024. If your travel dates extend beyond that period, please apply to the 2025 call for proposals.

      ·       Are graduating students allowed to submit an application?

      o   Yes, graduating students are allowed to submit an application.

      ·       Are incoming students allowed to submit an application?

      o   No, incoming students are not yet eligible for SMGP. Please wait until the next call for proposals to be released and apply during that competition round.

      ·       What does a successful application look like?

      o   A successful application will have thorough responses and adequately answer all the prompts explained above. You are welcome to use this sample proposal format for guidance.

      ·       Is the cover sheet included in the page limit?

      o   No.

      ·       What happens after I’m accepted?

      o   A second round of individual interviews may be required. You’ll be required to provide some more information, such as:  a letter signed by your supervising professor, evidence of good health and medical insurance that is valid in the area to which you expect to travel, etc. You’ll also have to register your emergency contact information with your institution’s student services.

      ·       “I applied last year and did not get funded. Can I reapply?”

      o   Yes. You can reapply in following SMGP rounds. Update your proposal based on previous feedback and proposal guidelines to better your chances of receiving an award.

      ·       How many grants will be awarded each year?

      o   The number of grants awarded is based on the number of applicants and the amount of funding available. Five proposals are expected to be funded.

      ·       What type of multimedia is suggested?

      o   Photography, blogging, social media posts, documentary film, video animation, audio recordings are all accepted forms of multimedia!

      Still Have Questions?

      Get in touch with:     Or: 

      All work produced by Fellows will be used by Texas A&M University and the Conflict and Development Foundation to advance advocacy and public awareness of critical issues facing international development. Information about the #SMGP grantees and their associated projects will be presented to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. There will be unrestricted access and use of published materials by these entities to advance mutual goals. Fellows will sign a release granting these permissions

      Need inspiration?

      Click here to review past programs -- > SMGP PAST PROJECTS  


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