Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf and Ari Hahn Peace Awards

The Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies Program (PAX) has been generously gifted funds from Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf, as well as Ari Hahn’s Family to award funding to Brandeis students who wish to work toward peace, conflict resolution, and coexistence projects. The awards are meant to enhance peace culture as it evolves in our society and elsewhere in the world. Due to their generosity, PAX is able to award this grant annually each Fall to Brandeis students.

Applications are welcome from all Brandeis undergraduate students and graduate students; applicants do not need to be enrolled in the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program. Typically, no more than one award per year will be given to a graduate student.

Students are able to apply for a Karpf and Hahn Peace Grant for coexistence and peace projects; grants may be awarded in the amounts of $300 to $3,000

Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf

The Karpf Peace Prize was originally established with a bequest gift in 1982 from the estate of Fay Karpf. It was intended as a prize “for the preparation of studies and manuscripts involving contributions to the subject of the promotion of universal peace, goodwill, tolerance, and understanding among the peoples of the earth.” Professor Bernard Wasserstein of the History Department and Professor George Ross of the Sociology Department were the first members of the committee to choose students. Fay was a graduate of the University of Chicago and had graduate degrees from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Columbia University. She was the Director of the Department of Sociology in the Graduate School of Jewish Social Work in New York City. We are incredibly grateful to the Karpf family for their generous contribution and for helping make these Brandeis student peace-related projects come to fruition.

Ari Hahn

“Knowledge is our seer, a guide, a beautiful guide at that. But bringing knowledge and experience together is the true wine of life.” - Ari Hahn

Ari Hahn was a member of the Class of 1994 at Brandeis. He received his degree in Sociology, receiving departmental honors when he graduated cum laude. His mother, Mrs. Jacqueline Hahn, created the Ari Hahn Peace Endowment in his memory in 2007 for the support of the Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies program (PAX). We are incredibly grateful to the Hahn family for their generous contribution and for helping make these Brandeis student peace-related projects come to fruition.


The Ari Hahn Peace Endowment was established within Brandeis University's Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies (PAX) Program to honor the memory of a beloved son, brother and the truest of friends, whose lust for life and living with authenticity was limitless.

Throughout his youth, Ari was a quiet overachiever interested as much in piano as he was in sports. As a student at Brandeis, he took great interest in sociology, continental philosophy and socially significant work. Ari was particularly intrigued by the relationship between theory and practice and that between history and the individual. He spent years exploring psychodynamic theory and its application to conflict resolution and real scenarios, ranging from personal relationships to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was during this time that he entered the PAX program, where his dedication to conflict resolution, from that between nations to that within ourselves, fully bloomed.

A prolific and carefree spirit, Ari undertook two road trips across America to explore the heart of the country, writing essays, travel journals, poetry and a play titled "The Five Alive" along the way. His interests in racial identity, oppression, cultures, and the fundamental struggles of all people took him to Zimbabwe, where he spent a semester exploring the culture and political realities of that country. Upon return, he was chosen as a student speaker at his Sociology graduation. In his speech, lionizing the efficacy of bringing praxis to international relations, he delivered a message of scholarship, passion and peace.

By the time he graduated from Brandeis University in 1994, Ari was an electrifying individual with a commanding knowledge of everything from the social theories of Immanuel Kant and Jean-Paul Sartre to the passions of George Clinton and Miles Davis. He soon moved to Berkeley to work for various advocacy groups, going door to door with environmental and socially conscious petitions while studying bass guitar in his free time. Before his passing at the young age of 26, Ari deferred an acceptance with scholarship honors to the New School for Social Research Master of Arts program in Sociology to travel through Europe, study its cultures, and continue exploring.

Known by professors and friends alike as much for his kind disposition as for his intensely unique passion, Ari galvanized those who knew him to reject their inhibitions, and to live according to the person they really were, not the person others wanted them to be.


The Ari Hahn Peace Endowment allows us to regularly teach two courses that are fundamental to the program. These courses—those that allow for critical analyses of institutions and conditions that perpetuate war, and also offer visions of alternatives to the current thrusts of those institutions and conditions—have been added to the PAX list of "core electives" in the program. The endowment also provides funding for occasional speakers, films and conferences.

International Nonviolent Initiatives

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of nonviolence theory and practice. A small grant allowed PAX to teach this course for three years. It was taught by one of the major experts in the field. The original grant for the course ran out, and PAX has been unable to teach it since.

Inner Peace and Outer Peace

This course builds from a cutting edge issue in the field of peace studies: the relationship of the inner state of the peacemaker to the outer conflict s/he is helping to resolve. At one extreme, if would-be peacemakers bring inner turmoil and hatred to the conflict setting, they may exacerbate or even undermine peacemaking efforts. Peacemakers aware of their own inner issues of conflict and anger as well as empathy and compassion can better control the inner complexity they bring to the peace table in such a way as to maximize their effectiveness in helping broker peaceful resolutions to conflicts. Taught annually every Spring semester. 

Religions and Peace

Religious texts and practices range from those that support and promote compassion, openness, and peace to those that promote and support violence, demonization, and war. PAX considers it unwise simply to praise religion for its peaceful inclinations or to condemn it for its war propensities. As religion plays a central role in the consciousness and behavior of so many people around the world, it behooves peace scholars and peacemakers to engage in critical analyses of the complex and often contradictory tendencies in and uses of religions. Taught as scheduling allows. 

Applications must be in one of these three categories:

Art works and essays on peace

Works of art related to peace include those that reveal the costs of violence, the commitment to non-violent struggle, and artistic expressions of any aspect of peace culture. These submissions might take the form of poetry (a substantial poem or group of poems), a play, scene, or short story related to peace; slides of visual art; original music; or other forms of documentation appropriate to the work. This category covers only already completed works of art. Essays of 20-30 pages are included in this category of submission.

Travel grants for participation in a peace project or conference

Grants are for travel in this country or elsewhere.

Seed money for peace-related projects not involving travel

For example, designing and organizing a project such as a community mediation service at Brandeis or in a nearby community, or a peace education project in local public or religious schools, or a dialogue. Please note that if you are applying for travel or seed money you will need to include two letters of recommendation from people familiar with peace work you have done or hope to do.

Selection Process: Faculty and student members of the PAX Steering Committee evaluate applications. Student members applying for Karpf and Hahn Awards do not take part in the review process. It is recommended that applicants meet with Professor Gordie Fellman and Lauren Jordahl to discuss their proposed project prior to submitting their application.

Application: The application date has passed for the Fall 2018 cycle, but please see this year’s Karpf/Hahn Application as a guide for future applicants.
Examples of Karpf and Hahn proposals granted in past years:
  • Participation in a Social Justice Immersion trip to the US-Mexican border during February Break coordinated by Brandeis and Borderlinks, a non-profit organization.

  • Conducting archival research into the ways that 18th and 19th century Jesuit missions functioned as a tool of colonial subjugation and an abutment of slavery in St. Louis, Missouri. Was part of a larger project that was used for the student’s graduate research on reparatory and reconciliatory justice through anthropological inquiry.

  • Coordination and participation in a ten-day trip that encourages dialogue between Black and Jewish Brandeis students. One of the goals of the trip was to explore Black and Jewish culture to increase understanding between the students.

  • Creation of a Facebook page called “Hebrew in a Minute” that offers Hebrew lessons to Palestinians through interactive content to increase communication and understanding between Palestinians and Jews in Israel.

  • Attending a 5-day training for Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) at Eastern Mennonite University to learn about how to recognize trauma responses, break cycles of violence and victimization, and work toward healing on the individual, communal, and societal levels.

  • Attending the Annual Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Muslim Jewish Women’s Leadership Conference to learn more about how to build bridges between Muslim and Jewish women. This was accompanied with the creation of an interfaith group at Brandeis to strengthen the connections between Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities on campus.