Nur Arafeh was recently selected as a 2017 Rhodes Scholar, and will pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in international development at Oxford University next fall. Arafeh is one of just three students who were selected from the region of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine this year, which is the first year that the Rhodes Trust has awarded scholarships in that region.
“The expansion to include representatives from the Middle East region reaffirms the mission of the Rhodes Trust to empower leaders from around the world to take on issues with truly global dimensions. It is incredibly exciting that a Columbia alumna has been chosen to join this community in the inaugural year of the Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine Rhodes. It reflects Columbia’s own commitment to global citizenship and the diversity and engagement of our students and alumni,” Scott Carpenter, Associate Dean of Global Education and Fellowships for the Columbia Office of Global Programs, said.
Nur Arafeh studied political science, economics, and Middle Eastern studies as a student in the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po. She was inducted into the School of General Studies Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University. Thereafter, she attended the University of Cambridge, where she received an MPhil in development studies in 2014.
“As an undergraduate, Nur was already a stand-out. Her sense of purpose and her tremendous discipline made her a joy to work with. It makes perfect sense to me that the Rhodes should have selected her. She has an inquiring mind and a noble mission,” Glenn Novarr, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at the School of General Studies, said.
She has since been living and working in Palestine, first at an economic policy research institute and as a visiting lecturer of economics at Al-Quds Bard College. Currently, she is the policy fellow of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, a virtual think tank whose mission is to promote policy analysis on Palestine.
“I had an instinct that I should apply for the Rhodes, not simply because I believed I met their requirements, but because I knew that the process of applying—in terms of thinking proactively about where I want to focus my energies in the future—would be rewarding, regardless of whether I was selected,” Arafeh said.
At Oxford, Arafeh’s research will build upon her previous work, analyzing the dynamics of rising income inequality in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and examining its sources.
This marks the second consecutive year that the Rhodes Scholarship has been awarded to a student from the School of General Studies. Luca Springer ’16, who is also a graduate of the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po, was selected as a 2016 Rhodes Scholar, and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at Oxford University.
The Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po offers a truly global undergraduate experience unlike any other. Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in two distinct academic, social, and cultural environments: a close-knit college in a French regional setting focusing on the social sciences and a large research university in New York City. Upon completion of the four-year program, graduates earn two bachelor’s degrees.
The Columbia School of General Studies website