DeLisi and Wilson

Camille DeLisi and President Richard F. Wilson

Technos Prize Awarded to Student Heading to Africa

April 16, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Camille DeLisi, a senior biology major at Illinois Wesleyan University, has already been to the refugee camps of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, and seen the horrors produced by war. And more than anything, she wants to go back.

DeLisi was named the recipient of the Technos International Prize through the Tanaka Ikueikai Educational Trust in Japan. The trust, founded by Japanese businessman and honorary Illinois Wesleyan trustee Kenji Tanaka, honors those who are committed to improving and promoting international relations around the world. The announcement of the prize, which is given annually, was made Tuesday, April 15, at a luncheon at Illinois Wesleyan.

“The prize is such an honor and has given me further motivation to help people in nations ravaged by war, and also to help others understand what they are experiencing,” said DeLisi, who has a minor in African Studies and journeyed to East Africa in 2006 with School of International Training. “I met people in the camps and saw the unbelievable challenges they face. I promised them I would tell their story, so living a life of apathy is not an option for me.”

Since her return from Africa, the Crystal, Minn., native has been educating others on campus about the conflicts in East Africa and the plight of the refugees. She lectured at the annual John Wesley Powell Research Conference in the spring of 2007, and helped organize the Displace Me Event at Illinois Wesleyan, bringing light to the horrific conditions of the camps.

Along with her work in Africa, DeLisi has performed ethnographic research by interviewing and participating in a Native American Intertribal Powwow in Edwards, Ill., and conducted biological studies identifying lichens and monitoring fungi growth with Jonathan Dey, professor of biology and the Miner Linnaeus Sherff Professor of Botany and the 2009 winner of The Pantagraph Award for Teaching Excellence. She is a member of the University’s Student Ambassadors’ Club, the Tri-Beta Biology Honors Society, the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and was named to the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society.

After graduation, DeLisi said she plans to take a year off before starting medical school. She will head back to Africa to stay with her former host family in Uganda and assist them with the Anaka Foundation, a non-governmental organization the family started to work with the displacement camps. When she returns, she hopes to earn both a medical degree and a degree in public health. “I want not only to be able to help as a doctor, but to be able to assist in implementing sustainable medical programs to help developing communities,” said DeLisi.

Contact: Rachel Hatch (309) 556-3960