Two seniors from NYU Abu Dhabi, Dubai Abulhoul (UAE) and Guillaume Sylvain (Canada), and Melissa Godin (Canada), a senior in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies Program have been selected as 2017 Rhodes Scholars. The prestigious international award allows exceptional students to pursue two to three years of postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in England.
Abulhoul, from the UAE, is majoring in political science and is currently researching the effect of gender roles and culture on political participation in her home country as part of her senior capstone project. She is a member of the Emirates Youth Council, a government initiative aiming to develop government strategies to keep up with youth trends, identify challenges facing today’s youth, and to ensure participation of youth in UAE public affairs.
In 2012, she authored Galagolia: The Hidden Divination, a best-selling Emirati fantasy novel that made her the UAE’s youngest published author. Abulhoul, who has interned at the UAE Embassy in Washington D.C., later received the 2014 Arab Woman Award for Young Talent of the Year in recognition of her book[JD1] .
"I am very grateful to be chosen as a Rhodes Scholar to represent both my country and university at the University of Oxford next year. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support and kindness of all the people who helped and encouraged me throughout the application process, as well during the preparations for the final interview. I aim to, in the best of my abilities, live up to the trust that has been given to me by the members of the Selection Committee as I join the Rhodes community next October. I look forward to pursuing an MSc in Diplomacy and Global Governance, and using that knowledge to one represent my country's overarching, global narrative abroad." Dubai said.
Sylvain, from Quebec, has become immersed in the Arabic language and the Middle East, majoring in NYU Abu Dhabi’s interdisciplinary Arab Crossroads program and minoring in Arabic language and political science. His capstone research which looks at how secondary school textbooks work to instill a set of shared values and a sense of Emirati historical national consciousness in a young nation where its citizens (UAE nationals) are a distinct minority.
He also serves as the chairperson for NYU Abu Dhabi student organization AD-vocacy and as an Arabic translator and crewmember with Refugee Rescue UK in their international rescue efforts in Lesbos Island, Greece. Sylvain, who has interned at the Embassy of Canada in the UAE and at Hedayah, an International Center for Countering Violent Extremism based in the UAE, plans to pursue MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford.
“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to represent both my home province of Quebec and NYU Abu Dhabi as I join the Rhodes community in Oxford. The process was challenging at times, but it was incredibly inspiring to meet other engaged students from across the country. At Oxford, I intend on continuing my studies of the Middle East and reflecting on ways that communities across the region and beyond can find coexistence where today there is conflict and polarization. Being a student at NYU Abu Dhabi has enabled me not only to study cross-cultural differences, but to experience them and to think about ways to make our community more whole. I am immensely grateful for the support NYU Abu Dhabi has provided me not only throughout this process, but since my first days in Sama tower. I hope to honor the efforts of all those who shouldered me in this process, from family and friends, to professors and mentors, as I prepare for this thrilling adventure.” Guillaume said.
Established in 1902 by the will of the late British businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is one of the world's oldest and most recognizable awards for international fellowship and academic study. Applicants are selected in a two-stage process that includes endorsement by their college or university, followed by in-person interviews.
This award marks the seventh and eighth Rhodes Scholars from NYU Abu Dhabi in four years.
Godin, who was born in Montreal and was raised in Vancouver, has created a concentration in politics, human rights, and sustainable development. Her NYU thesis examines the value of volunteer tourism, arguing that it needs to be restructured if it is to truly support development. As part of her project, she has researched orphanage tourism in Cambodia.