on October 5, 2016 on 10/5/16
Peter Kerrigan is a long-time supporter of FEA’s Rainbow Scholarship for self-identified LGBTQ students to study abroad. “It all started when Mark Lenhart and I co-chaired the Rainbow SIG,” a group of international educators with a special interest in supporting LGBTQ students studying abroad. “We inherited this idea of finding a home for the scholarship, and we were finally able to find it with FEA.”
For Peter, the value of a scholarship for study abroad is to provide support for students during what will inevitably be a challenging journey of self-discovery. “Students often need to be extracted from their environment to explore identity. It’s not simply an exploration of cultural or national identity; there are so many dimensions that come into play,” Peter explained.” Whatever your identity is, you struggle with and confront it while abroad.”
In September 2016, Peter was awarded the Transatlantic Leadership Award by the European Association for International Education (EAIE), for “significant leadership to educational exchange between Europe and North America with a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.”
Supported by an endowment, the award came with a € 1,000 prize, which Peter directed to FEA. “The whole experience of receiving the award was humbling and amazing,” Peter explained. “As a former work-study student who received extremely generous financial aid in college that enabled me to study abroad, it was a no-brainer to direct the prize to the Rainbow Scholarship in order to benefit other students.” Peter’s impulse to redirect gifts to FEA has been evident for years in the numerous gifts from his friends and colleagues, accompanied by birthday wishes for him. Redirecting gifts for birthdays and holidays to FEA is creative way to contribute and Peter adds, “It not only helps grow the Rainbow Scholarship financially, but also helps raise its visibility to potential new donors.”
Since 2011, Peter and other donors to the Rainbow Scholarship have supported twelve Rainbow Scholars to study around the world, including Michael Clark studying in Uganda and Rwanda. You can follow his blog and journey here.