Two NYU Abu Dhabi seniors selected as 2019 UAE Rhodes Scholars
Two seniors from NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), Majida Al Maktoum (UAE) and Amal Al Gergawi (UAE), have been selected as 2019 UAE Rhodes Scholars. The prestigious international award allows exceptional students to pursue two to three years of postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in England.
Al Maktoum, from the UAE, is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Social Research and Public Policy. Her senior Capstone project is aimed at addressing the question: What inspires political participation among Emirati youth? and is being conducted through quantitative methods and survey research.
She previously collaborated with HE Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change, and NYUAD Adjunct Professor of Legal Studies Shakeel Kazmi, on publishing a UAE Country Report in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Annual Country Report. She also took part as a research assistant in a project entitled The Politics of Women Empowerment: Gender Parity in the UAE, working with NYUAD Assistant Professor of Political Science Rahma Abdulkadir, and Research Fellow Henriette Mueller.
Throughout her time at NYUAD, Al Maktoum has been a part of the UAE Youth Ambassador Program to China with the Crown Prince Court; was an intern to the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN; and was a research intern to the UAE Minister of State of Youth Affairs Office. She has volunteered as a facilitator with STRIVE (STrength in Vocational Education), teaching conversational English and computer skills and providing coaching in professional skills such as public speaking to Somali migrant students. Al Maktoum has also volunteered with the Ramadan Aman Road Safety Campaign, the Al Ihsan Charity Association, and with UNESCO. At Oxford, she hopes to complete a MSc in Global Governance and a MSt in Women’s Studies.
Al Maktoum said: “I am truly humbled and honored to be representing the UAE as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. The Rhodes is an opportunity for me to be able to engage with a cohort of the world’s future leaders who share the value of public service and to learn from world-class faculty. I hope to be able to make my family, friends, the NYU Abu Dhabi community, and the UAE proud at Oxford. At Oxford, I plan to pursue a MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy and a MSt in Women’s Studies, to be better equipped to serve my country in the area of women empowerment, politically, socially, and economically.”
Al Gergawi, from the UAE, is majoring in Social Research and Public Policy with minors in Economics and Film and New Media. Her Capstone project explores data privately provided from Global TIES for Children to unpack the educational challenges of refugee children within school communities in Niger, the outcomes and policy recommendations of which will aim to inform educational institutions how best to meet the learning needs and ambitions of these migrant children.
This fall, she volunteered at The Brooklyn International High School in New York, tutoring immigrant and refugee students and translating content into Arabic for Yemeni migrant students. During her four years at NYUAD, Al Gergawi was a policy researcher and worked with NYUAD Global Distinguished Professor, Environmental Studies and Public Policy Sophia Kalantzakos to draft a 3-year pilot housing and integration program FILOXENIA to assimilate 500 Syrian refugee families in vacant apartments in Athens and help to boost the local Greek economy.
She interned with Unilever and McKinsey and Company in Dubai, and worked as a student ambassador with Al-Bayt Mitwahid in Abu Dhabi, supervising communications and implementation of private-sector training for more than 50 students. Al Gergawi spoke at the 2015 TEDxNYUAD on the positionality of Emirati culture in the midst of globalization and was the Co-Curator of the 2016 art exhibition East-East, which aimed to explore bridges and links between the UAE and Japan through the works of emerging artists. Al Gergawi is a co-captain of the women’s basketball team and an active member of the Sufara’a ambassador group at NYUAD. At Oxford, she plans to pursue an MPhil in Development Studies.
“I am honored to represent the UAE and NYU Abu Dhabi as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford next year. I am immensely grateful for the unyielding support of my family, friends, mentors, and coaches, who offered a kind ear in times of uncertainty,” said Al Gergawi.
“As an NYU Abu Dhabi student, I learned the power of digesting and navigating intellectual discomfort as both a window for personal growth and for constructive conversations. At Oxford, I look forward to pursuing an MPhil in Development Studies to build on previous policy research and fieldwork pertaining to the well-being of forced migrants. With the growing global crisis on forced migration, the Rhodes will allow me to engage with a diverse cohort of visionaries committed to the delivery of humane, effective, and sustainable outcomes. As I embark on this exciting journey, I want to earnestly thank the UAE and NYU Abu Dhabi for their commitment to pushing the frontiers of knowledge in the community,” she said.
Established in 1902 by the will of the late British businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is one of the world’s oldest and most recognizable awards for international fellowship and academic study. Applicants are selected through an intensive process including a written application and in-person interviews.
NYU Abu Dhabi has produced 12 Rhodes Scholars in just six years, the highest number of Rhodes Scholars per student of any university in the world.