Two Georgetown students were awarded prestigious Marshall Scholarships to pursue graduate study in the United Kingdom beginning next fall.
Maher Bitar (SFS ’06) and Shadi Hamid (SFS ’04, GRD ’06) join 11 Georgetown alumni who have previously won the scholarship, a university press release said.
The Marshall Scholarship Program is awarded by the United Kingdom Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission for two years of graduate study in the United Kingdom to college graduates “of high ability,” the press release said.
The university was not as successful with the Rhodes Scholarship, however. Thirty-two American students were awarded scholarships this year, but none were Georgetown graduates.
Bitar, a native Palestinian, has been actively researching refugee movements and forced migration.
“My family were refugees, so it was something personal,” he said.
Bitar said that he came to Georgetown “intent on exploring my identity and everything that came with it,” including issues of Palestinian politics. After pursuing these issues at Georgetown, Bitar said that he saw things “in more global terms.”
Part of Bitar’s global education included studying abroad at the London School of Economics last year. This past summer, he lived in a Jordanian village to see the hands-on effects of conflict resolution, he said.
English Professor and university Fellowship Secretary John Glavin wrote in his nomination letter to the Marshall committee that Bitar “is committed to the future, not the past, of the iddle East,” according to the release.
Bitar said that he plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Science and Forced Migration at Oxford University and a Masters Degree in Violence in Conflict and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London next year.
Hamid’s research aims to more closely examine mainstream Islamic groups and their effects on Middle Eastern politics.
Hamid, a native of Egypt, said he hopes to apply what he learns to achieve pragmatic solutions for U.S. foreign policy makers.
“After the completion of my studies,” he said, “I hope to work on the policy side [in places such as] think tanks or government. In general, I am interested in how the United States can more effectively promote democratic reform in the Arab world.”
Hamid adds the Marshall Scholarship to a resume that already includes a 2004 J. William Fulbright Fellowship, a 2005 David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship to specialize in area study, language study or increased language proficiency, and a 2005 Arab Studies Graduate Scholarship, the press release said.
Hamid said that he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy at Oxford.
“Maher and Shadi are outstanding members of the Georgetown community and I am confident they will continue to grow as scholars and campus leaders as they pursue graduate studies abroad,” said University President John J. DeGioia, according to the press release.
“We are pleased their achievements are being recognized with this prestigious scholarship,” he said.