International Student Scholarship Recipients Honored at Annual Luncheon

From Inside USD – Patricia Marquez, dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies (KSPS), spent much of her time at the UC Forums’ podium Tuesday emphasizing one of the University of San Diego’s key strategic goals and, in particular, her school’s vision for it.

“It is to expand our global presence. We understand that talent is everywhere. We want to bring it here, we want to nurture it and we want to develop it,” she said. “For students from developing and conflict-affected countries, coming to the U.S. and to study in the Kroc School’s Peace and Justice program would be impossible without scholarships, without your support.”

The 28th annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon provided all donors the opportunity to meet the student(s) they’ve supported, give a student the chance to say “thank you” in person, share a meal together and connect.

But the sincerity of Marquez’s words and impact of USD donors’ generosity — be it alumni, foundations, parents, USD employees, education supporters and proponents of peace — was echoed by Maha Paulus, a KSPS benefactor via the Paulus Peace Scholarship. It was presented in a moving video tribute to the work of 2008 Master of Arts Peace and Justice Studies (MAPJ) alumna Shobha Pradham Shrestha. And, finally, current MAPJ students Naumana Suleman of Pakistan and Mathieu Bere of Burkina Faso reiterated it.

“Because we come from the Middle East, a region where peace has not prevailed for a very long time, we wanted to provide students like (current Paulus Peace Scholarship recipient and MAPJ student) Jasmine Afshar the opportunity to become ambassadors of peace and contribute to a legacy of future generations to come,” said Paulus, who along with her husband Al, immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq in the early 1970s. Their two daughters are USD alumnae. Maha volunteered with and has learned a lot about the Kroc School’s mission, vision and important work internationally. Al Paulus has also served on the school’s board of advisors.

Said Marquez: “The Paulus family was among the first donors to the School of Peace Studies. They had faith in our promise and that a new generation of peacebuilders, focused on thinking differently, with courage, could change the face of the planet.”

Both Suleman and Bere expressed thanks to the opportunities given to them to make their USD education experience possible.

“It’s been an incomparable experience for me being here,” said Suleman, whose skill set through the MAPJ program will be used for good despite being from a country that is constantly dealing with terrorists, faith-based violence and discriminatory laws and policies toward religious minorities. Suleman received the Gandhi Fellowship, a Joan B. Kroc Scholarship in Peace and Justice Studies and a Global Grant Scholarship from the Rotary Clubs of San Diego and Imperial Counties, District 5340.

Bere, whose native country experienced a military coup last year, is focused on adding to his skill set in conflict resolution, governance, sustainable development and peace. A Fulbright Fellowship and Dean’s Graduate Merit Scholarship recipient, Bere said what he learns at USD will make an impact upon his return.

“There is an urgent need for people with specialized training in conflict resolution,” he said.

The work done by all students in the peace studies program — whether a MAPJ student or an undergraduate student in the peace and justice minor — as well as students in other USD schools provides a glimpse of what a USD education delivers and, with the support of generous donors, helps to reinforce a commitment to the mission of its founders.

“All of the ingredients, the mix, that’s really focused on our mission as a university are right here in this room,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons, PhD. “There are, as you know, so many talented and deserving men and women around the world who benefit from this university’s mission and education. The only limitations are resources. … The work we’re doing on behalf of the greater good has tremendous impact around the world. You are all a part of that mission. All of us share in that.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

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Photo descriptions (clockwise from top): Naumana Suleman speaks to the audience; Mathieu Bere; and Vice President and Provost Andy Allen chats with current USD students, each of whom received scholarship assistance through generous donor support.

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