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Zainab Abiza ’19 Awarded Summer Fellowship to Princeton and Davis Projects for Peace Grant

“It is inspiring to see our students’ generosity and genuine interest in using their educational opportunities to promote a better world.”

Zainab Abiza ’19

Washington and Lee University student Zainab Abiza ’19 has been awarded a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) fellowship and a Davis Projects for Peace grant, both for study and research this summer.

She will attend the PPIA Junior Summer Institute at Princeton, a seven-week program designed to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for graduate study and careers in public policy. Her PPIA Fellowship will include full tuition to Princeton, as well as a stipend and eligibility to receive assistance with travel expenses.

“The program is the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in a diverse environment, working with bright candidates that share the same passion as I do while connecting with mentors who will help me carve my path in the public service field,” said Abiza.

Abiza is an economics and global politics double major, with a minor in poverty and human capability studies, and is a team leader for Washington and Lee student consulting, a summer research scholar for the Politics Department, a volunteer at Project Horizon, an Arabic tutor for Languages for Rockbridge and a trip leader at Volunteer Venture. She does not have any immediate plans post-graduation, however, she would eventually like to attend graduate school and pursue a career in diplomacy with a focus on the MENA region.

“The PPIA fellowship program will help me become a better-qualified candidate when applying to graduate school,” Abiza said. “PPIA fellows have access to a wide alumni network, receive a minimum one-time scholarship of $5,000 at any PPIA graduate school once admitted, as well as fee waivers when applying to schools that are members of the consortium.”

Abiza also received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant for a project she will conduct in Rabat, Morocco in August, following the PPIA Summer Institute.

“We are thrilled that Zainab’s project has received this wonderful recognition” said Mark Rush, director of International Education and Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics at W&L. “Her commitment to service — especially to the welfare of women — has been manifest throughout her time at Washington and Lee.”

For her project, Abiza will be working directly with the Dar Taliba center in the small town of Sidi Yahya Zaer, near Morocco. The project will consist of two major phases: the first phase aims to create a more favorable learning environment for the girls staying at the Dar Taliba Center and the second phase consists of a two-week summer boot camp to improve the girls’ conversational English and prepare them for their English baccalaureate exam.

“Dar Taliba (which translates to ‘home of the students,’ in Arabic) provides not only accommodation and food for the students but also peace of mind for the parents,” said Abiza.

“Her project continues the W&L tradition of promoting and fostering such service-oriented projects during the summer and the academic year,” said Rush. “It is inspiring to see our students’ generosity and genuine interest in using their educational opportunities to promote a better world.”

As a partner school of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, Washington and Lee University is eligible to receive Davis Projects for Peace grants. The program is funded by the late Kathryn Wasserman Davis, who established it on her 100th birthday in 2007 as a way to challenge young people to plant seeds of peace throughout the world with innovative projects. At least one Washington and Lee student has won a Davis grant each year since the award’s inception.