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Zainab Abiza–Davis Peace Project

Name: Zainab Abiza

Class Year: 2019

Hometown: Rabat, Morocco

Major(s): Economics, Global Politics

Minors or Concentrations: Poverty and Human Capability Studies

Opportunity and Year: Davis Projects for Peace, Summer 2018

Project Summary: The Dar Taliba project increases literacy rates for girls in rural areas of Morocco, where only 18% of them will go on to complete schooling up to the age of 17. For this project, I partnered with Dar Taliba, a dormitory that allows girls who live in remote and rural areas of the country to attend secondary school.  The first phase of the project was aimed at creating a more favorable learning environment for the forty girls staying at the Dar Taliba dormitory. The second phase of the project consisted of a two-week summer boot camp to improve the girls’ conversational English and prepare them for their end of the year English baccalaureate exam.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? This project is the culmination of everything I have learned at Washington and Lee University over the past few years both in class and outside of class. Through the Shepherd program, I was able to gain experience working on development projects both in the US and internationally. W&L also provided me with a number of opportunities to take part of different internships and fellowships that helped me hone my leaderships skills and challenged me to move outside of my comfort zone.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I applied for this fellowship because it was the perfect opportunity to work on issues I am passionate about while affecting change in my home country.

Post-graduation Plans: I do not have any set post-graduation plans at the moment but I eventually would like to go to graduate school and pursue a career in diplomacy with a focus on the MENA region.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Team Lead, Washington and Lee Student Consulting
Summer Research Scholar, Politics Department
Volunteer, Project Horizon
Arabic tutor, Languages for Rockbridge
Trip Leader, Volunteer Venture

Off-campus Experience:

Intern, Belize Family Life Association (Dangriga, Belize)
Intern, National Council on U.S.- Arab Relations (Washington, D.C)
Ambassador, One Young World Summit (Bogota, Colombia)
Delegate, Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (West Point, NY)
Fellow, PPIA Junior Summer Institute (Princeton, New Jersey)

Research Experience:

Summer Research Scholar, Politics Department – I conducted a cross-language comparative study to determine where the Islamic State’s messaging is consistent and where it diverges across their Arabic and English magazines

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