When students receive scholarships to attend higher education abroad, their story is frequently told in narrow terms: they improve their employability for a global job market. The story is told just a little more critically when it is of students from disadvantaged backgrounds or when the scholarship programs are explicitly focused on social justice. The storyline becomes something around: “the students improve their employability but also their competencies for social justice and global citizenship”. This claimed promise of international higher education scholarships has long driven public, private, and nonprofit actors to offer them. But, how does funded education abroad deliver on that promise? How does this promise unfold in contexts of protracted disadvantage? What role and agency do scholarship recipients themselves bring to bear on the delivery of this promise? These questions drive my current research and my broader research interests. In my doctoral study, I am looking at Palestinian recipients of international higher education scholarships, and I am trying to develop understanding of: I) the impact of their funded education abroad on their post-completion choices of and pursuits through political, social, civic, and professional (dis)engagement; and II) the implications of these choices and pursuits on Palestine’s context.
Background and Activities:
I hold graduate degrees in peace studies and in Arab studies, respectively from Durham University and Georgetown University. In the past six years, I worked in leadership, training, consulting, and communication roles at international education and human rights NGOs in Palestine. I have also been volunteering to support various student associations and youth development initiatives there. Currently, I am working as a teaching assistant at Durham’s School of Education, and I am serving as an editorial assistant at Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad.