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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

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Three Korbel Students Receive International Peace Scholarship

By Brent Forgues, MA Candidate, Global Finance, Trade, and Economic Integration  

DENVER—April 30, 2015—The Philanthropic Educational Organization recently awarded scholarships totaling $10,000 each for three graduate students at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

The organization, which seeks to promote the educational advancement of women, selected Mariam Muniru, Aleksandra Egorova, and Amalkhon Azimova as this year’s recipients of the International Peace Scholarship. Intended only for women who are from outside the United States or Canada, the scholarship assists recipients who are pursuing a graduate degree on the condition that they return to their home countries upon graduation. 

The idea is that the beneficiaries will take the knowledge that they’ve gained while at school and apply it internationally, said Diane Witonsky, assistant director to the Office of Career and Professional Development. Three previous Korbel winners, heralding from Lithuania, Indonesia, and Colombia, currently work in varying international capacities – one of whom is now at the United Nations.  

“It comes down to the belief that when you have an educated population, that it will lead to world peace,” said Witonsky, who assists students interested in the scholarship. “I think that’s really the core of what their belief is.”

And for Muniru, Egorova, and Azimova, promoting education back in their native countries are a large focus of their goals following graduation. 

Muniru, an MA candidate in International Development, said she hopes to assist with improving the general health education of women back in her home country of Ghana. She said that many of the women there tend to have children early, which compels them to drop out of school in order to take care of their families.

“So as a result, children are not able to get a good education,” she said. “The same cycle continues and poverty never ends.”

Azimova, who is from Uzbekistan and is pursuing an MA in International Studies, said she is also aiming to address Uzbekistan’s educational shortcomings when she graduates. Azimova said that it’s very common for Uzbeki children to labor in cotton plantations to support their families, which is time and work spent at the expense of education.

“I mean, you have no time for anything else,” she said. “You cannot grow out of that cycle. So the only way to do that is to convince those families to have a good education.”

Feeling as though she has benefitted from a well-rounded education herself, Egorova, who is from Russia and is also an MA candidate in International Studies, said her ambition is to contribute to the expansion of educational opportunities in Russia. Egorova said she aspires to “bridge the gap between Russian and American academia,” especially given her previous experience teaching children at a nonprofit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

“I just saw how education can really help, and can really facilitate change at the micro level,” she said.

Those international female students who are also interested in applying to the International Peace Scholarship can contact Diane Witonsky in Korbel’s Office of Career and Professional Development at diane.witonsky@du.edu .