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Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey Diverting Hate Project Wins McCain Institute and EdVenture Partners Invent2Prevent Fall 2021 Final Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The McCain Institute at Arizona State University and EdVenture Partners hosted the final competition for Invent2Prevent. Diverting Hate from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California took home first prize. The two other finalists included the PEACE Coalition from Howard University and WITZ – Meme What You Mean from the University of South Carolina.

As part of the semester-long project, each university team evaluated a current threat facing their community and identified an opportunity to create a program or tool to prevent targeted violence or terrorism. Each of the three finalists provided a 15-minute video of their specific project and answered 10-minutes of questions from the judges during the final competition.

“It is a pleasure to see the ingenuity of each of our university teams,” said Brette Steele, Senior Director of preventing targeted violence for the McCain Institute. “With the continued challenges presented by COVID, we have seen remarkable determination and resiliency from each of our student teams, and we could not be more proud of the three incredible products, tools, and initiatives on display at this final competition. Congratulations to the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey on this momentous win. We look forward to seeing how you and your fellow competitors continue this invaluable work in the coming months.”

“These are the moments I live for! Excitement and anticipation always build when the top three teams are selected by DHS to compete and present during the Invent2Prevent Final Competition. I appreciate the amount of effort that goes into each of the student initiatives, and our whole team is eager to see how the students present their campaigns, as well as themselves, to our distinguished panel of judges,” offered Tony Sgro, Founder and CEO of EdVenture Partners. “Unfortunately, given the increased threat of targeted violence and hate in our schools and communities, each of these campaigns has genuine social impact in positively addressing these issues. I congratulate Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey who best rose to the occasion with their Diverting Hate tool and initiative, to earn the top podium spot in this semester’s competition.”

The final competition, held on Thursday, February 10, was judged by a panel including the Director of the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security John Picarelli, Special Assistant, Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State Rebecca Archer-Knepper, Executive Vice President, Programs and Policy, Human Rights First Kareem Shora, Director of Programming, Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) Erin Saltman, and Founding Officer and Director, Filecoin Foundation Clara Tsao.

The panel of judges awarded first place and $5,000 to Diverting Hate of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies located in Monterey, California. Diverting Hate is an ethical technology with the goal of diverting at-risk young men away from dangerous misogynistic paths and towards healthier outlets of community and mental health support. The initiative offers a two-pronged approach to divert their target audience away from hateful narratives and toward known resiliency tactics: community building and mental health resources. As a tool, Diverting Hate operates within the user interface of Twitter to redirect users to known resiliency measures. As an initiative, Diverting Hate advertises interesting and relevant content which directs users to a first-of-its-kind hub of curated communities and mental health organizations. To learn more, visit the Diverting Hate project at:, or watch the their team’s full presentation here.

The judges also awarded second place and $3,000 to the PEACE Coalition from Howard University; third place and $1,000 to WITZ – Meme What You Mean from the University of South Carolina.

Learn more about The Peace Coalition: The Peace Coalition | Podcast on Spotify, or watch the team’s full presentation here.

Learn more about WITZ – Meme What you Mean:, or watch the team’s full presentation here.

Invent2Prevent launched its Spring 2022 semester on January 19. Twenty-eight new university teams will create their own unique products, tools, and initiatives with a final competition to be held in June 2022. Invent2Prevent’s high school pilot program –a year-long initiative launched in Fall 2021—also will culminate in a final competition later this summer where the top three out of 27 schools nationwide will be selected to present their individuals concepts.

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
Inspired by Senator John S. McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute is fighting to secure democracy and alliances, defend human rights, protect the vulnerable and advance character-driven leadership, both at home and around the world.

About EdVenture Partners
EdVenture Partners (EVP) builds academic partnerships to address social impact, marketing communications, and other business-related challenges for Fortune 500 companies, governments, NGO’s, and trade associations. EVP has partnered with nearly 1,000 academic institutions in 76 countries worldwide with more than 250,000 students participating in peer-to-peer experiential learning programs.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

Publish Date
February 11, 2022