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Zainab Abiza–Schwarzman Scholarship

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: Schwarzman Scholars Program, 2019-20

Project Summary: Designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders, the Schwarzman Scholars Program was created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Whether in politics, business or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends. The program is intended to give the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a one-year Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing – one of China’s most prestigious universities.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? W&L has provided me with the educational foundation and opportunities that allowed me to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be able to apply for opportunities like this one. Throughout the entire application process, I received tremendous help and support from the W&L faculty. They were willing to help me with my essays, write letters of recommendation on my behalf and even help me prepare for my interview.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? As someone who grew up in Morocco and lived the past three years in the US, I have had very little exposure to China and the continent of Asia as a whole. When I first heard about the Schwarzman Scholars, I was really interested in this program for three main reasons. First, it would challenge me to move beyond my comfort zone, see a different world than the one I grew up in and gain a better understanding of China, of its people, culture, politics, etc. Being a Schwarzman scholar and living in China would also equip me with the necessary tools needed to further strengthen the relationship between my home country and China. Lastly, this is once in a lifetime opportunity to live in China, learning alongside other bright fellow scholars and interacting with high level figures from different fields which would allow me to carve out my own path in the public service field.

Post-graduation Plans: I plan on pursuing an MA degree in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in China starting August 2019. Eventually, I would like to 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
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)

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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