Five Fulbright scholars begin studies at EMU Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University welcomes five Fulbright scholars to the graduate program in conflict transformation. They join the 78 Fulbright scholars from 25 countries who have studied, and graduated, from CJP.

emu“We are delighted to have such a large and diverse cohort of Fulbright scholars at CJP this year,” said Daryl Byler, CJP executive director. “Already in my interactions with them, I am impressed by their depth of life experience, their wit, and their optimism about making a positive impact on the world.”

Samira Abou Alfa earned a bachelor’s degree in political science/international affairs with a minor in psychology from the Lebanese American University in Beirut. She has volunteered with the Lebanese Red Cross, Search for Common Ground and Mercycorps International, where she worked after graduation with refugees and children. In this position, she worked with children at risk of child labor.

Filip Cvetanovski, of Skopje, Macedonia, has a BA in political science and an MA in international relations and diplomacy from the University Ss Cyril and Methodius University. Having grown up in a post-conflict multicultural society, he has developed interest in the creation of a peaceful and just post-conflict society. His thesis was on post-conflict reconciliation. Cvetanovksi worked with Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors on improving the cooperation among young people in the Western Balkan region. He was also part of the team that wrote and signed a “Declaration on Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans,” efforts that were recognized by the president of Macedonia.

Bouela Lehbib Breica is the first Saharawi to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship. From Western Sahara, Algeria, Bouela was born and raised in one of the world’s largest refugee camps. He completed undergraduate degrees in communication and journalism, and translation, and then was awarded an Erasmus scholarship to earn a master’s degree at Las Palmas University, Algeria. After completing this degree in 2012, he helped establish the first Department of Translation and Interpreting in the Saharawi Ministry for Public Services. He then worked with the Movement for Peace, Liberty and Disarmament, an international organization, to implement humanitarian projects, such as waste management, food and tents distribution, in the Saharawi refugee camps. His most recent work was for the Danish Refugee Council as a livelihoods team leader.

Kamran Mamedovi is a citizen of the Republic of Georgia with an ethnic Azerbaijani background. He has a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a MA in public governance. He plans to play a significant role in strengthening and democratizing Georgia, which is challenged by a diverse population and miscommunication between vulnerable groups and the majority. Among his activities prior to arriving at CJP, he has conducted research, written policy, implemented projects, presented public lectures to ethnic minorities about civic nationalism and equality, blogged, and worked with youth to promote an equal and diverse society.

Bahman Shahi is from northern Afghanistan. He earned a degree in English literature from Kabul University, and is an active member of Afghanistan’s civil society and debate circuit. He has worked as a program coordinator for Seeds of Peace, a peacebuilding and leadership development organization, and as a project manager at the Kabul-based Afghans for Progressive Thinking.

American educational non-profit organization AMIDEAST is the sponsoring organization of Alfa and Breica. Founded in 1951, AMIDEAST engages in international education, training and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as managing U.S. scholarships and exchanges such as the Fulbright Foreign Student Program.

Cvetanovski, Mamedovi and Shahi are sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE), which works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity.

Story by Lauren Jefferson

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