office of international programs
ABOUT THE MIZNA FELLOWSHIP FUND
The Mizna Fellowship Fund was established through the generous gift of one of BC’s alumni to create new opportunities for BC undergraduates for international travel for research, language study, internships and service learning initiatives throughout the Islamic world.
Grants in the range of $2,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis to Boston College students including freshmen, for whom travel may be an introduction to the world of Islamic scholarship and to seniors who seek to expand their understandings of Islamic cultures, history, language and societies in order to author a distinguished senior thesis. As an exception, projects taking place in Israel/Palestine will not be considered.
COMPONENTS OF THE APPLICATION
To apply, students submit a research project proposal, associated budget, a faculty recommendation, transcript, and a service project proposal using the online application form. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Service project proposals should include details regarding placement and should ideally be supported by some form of verification from the organization based on-site where the candidate plans to volunteer. Include the number of hours you plan to spend at the service site and a personal reflection on how you will help the community and what you will gain as well. Service project length should factor in the time needed to make an impact on local communities. Please note that the service component must be competed abroad.
A selection committee composed of Boston College faculty members, senior administrators, and affiliates of the Islamic Civilization and Societies (ICS) Program will make Mizna Fellowship Fund award decisions twice every year. Funds may be used over the summer or during the winter break, to enable a final critical piece of research needed to complete a senior thesis.
Students awarded the Mizna Fellowship will be asked to provide confirmation of their plans, including finalized flight itineraries which are to be submitted 30 days prior to departure. Fellows agree to present a report to the Mizna Fellowships Grant Committee, consisting of a 3-page summary of their research findings, as well as to deliver a presentation on the project proposal topic at Boston College (students completing academic programs abroad may submit a reflection paper on an academic research topic). Reports must be received within two weeks of the end of the project/program end date with agreement that fellows will further coordinate an approved time and venue for the presentation, most likely the Panel on Research and Study Abroad in the Middle East in October. Please note that any University grant amounts paid to students in excess of tuition & fees, and books are subject to state and federal tax.
Mizna Fellows will be featured as award recipients on the Boston College web site.
For more information contact Christina Hatzipetros at the Office of International Programs.
MIznA FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS
Omeed Alidadi was awarded a Mizna Fellowship. Originally from White Plains, New York, Omeed came to Boston College last spring. He's a double major in Political Science an Islamic Civilization and Societies.
Learn more about Omeed and his trip.
Ejona Bakalli was awarded a Minza Fellowship. Ejona is a senior Philosophy and Islamic Civilizations and Societies major. She is from New York and originally from Tirana, Albania. She became interested in the topic of the Ottoman Imperial Harem when she encountered different forms of separation between male and female spaces in her Albanian community after revisiting it with an American perspective. Her thesis concerns the most elaborate form of harem, or separation, found in the Ottoman imperial model.
Learn more about Ejona and her project.
Ayo was awarded a Minza Fellowship. She is originally from Bridgeport, CT. Her research through this platform encouraged her to explore her interest in mental health further. She will be attending Columbia University for her MPH in Epidemiology with a concentration in Global Health.
Matt Sanborn studied the effect that OPEC’s purposeful predatory pricing of oil and what effect it is having on Iran’s economy as well as how this will affect Iranian-Kuwaiti relations given the interesting power dynamic this situation creates.
Learn more about Matt and his project.
Ariana Caraffa was awarded a Minza Fellowship. An Islamic Civilization and Societies major and a Faith, Peace, and Justice minor, Ariana graduated BC in 2015. Her senior thesis was on women’s rights in Jordan related to sexual and family violence. Ariana plans to pursue a career in international human rights with a focus on the Middle East.
Learn more about Ariana and her project.
Trevor Jones was a Mizna Fellow in Amman, Jordan for a six-week research project working with refugees. He hadn’t anticipated building such close relationships with a group of refugees not associated with the Middle East refugee crisis: the Sudanese. Trevor worked closely for the Jesuit Refugee Service and lived with the Jesuit community, which all involved working with the Sudanese, which therefore inspired his case for research.
The Sudanese in the Hashemite Kingdom: A Story of Socio-Economic Discrimination
Trevor’s time in Jordan enriched him in learning About a minority group crisis that is continually overlooked by international forces. Even though he was in Jordan, he was able to learn About the rich and complicated Sudanese history and how it is intertwined with Jordan’s history and the refugee crisis taking part in the Middle East and Africa. Trevor states the urgent need for the United Nations and others to become aware of the treatment of the Sudanese in Jordan, but unfortunately, “the United Nations does not recognize the situation in Darfur as a declared refugee crisis.” Because of the Mizna Fellowship, Trevor is able to bring his new knowledge back to Boston College campus to share with fellow students, professors, and faculty to make sure that others can learn About a issue that is often overshadowed by other international refugee crises.
Echo received a Mizna Research Fellowship for Arabic studies and service work in Morocco. Following this four week experience, she was awarded an Aggad Fellowship for an eight-week internship in the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar.
“Bridging Two Worlds: Understanding Modern Islam through a Chinese Lens”
Before leaving for Morocco, Echo became interested in the political climate regarding the treatment of Muslim communities, especially in China. She left for Rabat, Morocco as a Mizna fellow to study Arabic and to continue the series of articles she had begun in Palestine, writing to her Chinese readers About life in Morocco during Ramadan, and later About working in Qatar.
During her time in Rabat, Echo lived with a local family and volunteered at a local school founded by two Sudanese women who aid the children of Sub-Saharan African refugees to overcome the linguistic barriers and adjust to Moroccan society. Echo explains, “these children were learning Arabic simultaneously as I was, and my experience exposed me to the deep-rooted Sub-Saharan refugee issues in Morocco.” During her time there, she befriended a 26-year-old Kenyan who became an inspiration for many of the articles she wrote About her experience. “I wrote About her experience as a religious minority as only 9% of Kenyan population are Muslims, About the role of Islam to her growing up in absolute destitution, About the different ways to practice the religion in Africa and Arabia.”
How has the Mizna Fellowship helped you?
“In this three-month process of writing About North Africa and the Gulf to a Chinese audience, I had become a personal testifier of how ignorance breeds fear and curiosity leads to understanding. Most of the Islamaphobia directed towards me did not come from religious hatred, but rather, it was a result of a complete lack of religious education in China in the past six decades, fueled by ethnic differences between the secular Han majority and the minority Muslim populations- the Uyghur, Kazaks, and Hui. A dialogue was missing, and for this, I am grateful for the Mizna Fellowship for giving me an opportunity to be the person to initiate this dialogue, to translate the two otherwise incommunicable worlds to each other.”