College Scholar and government major Ali Hussain '11 has won a 2010 Marshall Scholarship. He is one of 40 Americans chosen for two years of graduate study in England. Hussain will study for an M.Phil. in politics at Oxford University.
"I was extremely surprised and humbled when I got the acceptance from the British Consul General. Being a student of government, studying at Oxford and having access to its primary documents and diverse faculty have always been a dream of mine," said Hussain.
Earlier this year, Hussain received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in recognition of his academic achievements, leadership and commitment to a career in public service.
"I know for a fact that these fellowships would not be possible without the phenomenal support I have gotten at Cornell," Hussain said. "[Fellowship coordinator] Beth Fiori and [fellowship associate] Cheryl Littell have provided me invaluable support throughout the whole process, and I am very grateful for the faculty I have gotten so close to throughout my time here at Cornell. They have been such an influence on my academic development and provided me the letters of support necessary to get the Marshall."
Hussain's application was supported by letters of recommendation from faculty members Ross Brann, Near Eastern studies; Charles Geisler, development sociology; John Nettleton, Cornell Urban Scholars Program; and David Patel, government. Other fellowship letters came from Joe Regenstein, food science.
"I am particularly impressed by Ali's ability to apply theories and perspectives to knowledge gleaned from his Middle Eastern and South Asian area studies courses," said Patel. "He respects data and is always willing to approach difficult material with an open mind. I believe that Ali is developing into a unique national resource. I have little doubt that, if he chooses to do so, he will be influential in shaping how we understand and approach the Persian Gulf, South Asia and the wider Muslim world."
Hussain is a member of Telluride Association, the Sphinx Head Society and Mortar Board. He is a founding member of the Cornell Urban Scholars Program Initiative and the Committee for the Advancement of Muslim Culture. Hussain also serves on the board of the campus organization Islamic Alliance for Justice. As a Cornell Urban Scholar he conducted policy research for the American Civil Liberties Union in Newark, N.J., on the School to Prison Pipeline.
Last summer, Hussain interned at Google. While there, he also worked on a project relating to issues of Internet freedom in authoritarian countries. With Cornell in Washington, Hussain worked in the office of his congressman, Rep. Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis), as a research assistant for the Committee on Foreign Relations and Financial Services. He is writing his honors thesis on the roots of sectarian conflict in Pakistan.
Hussain said he developed a passion for comparative politics, specifically in South Asia. "Understanding this region is more than ever crucial to the United States," he said. "Oxford will offer me invaluable insight regarding the history of the region and allow me to conduct research on policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan."
Founded by an act of Parliament in 1953, Marshall Scholarships were created to commemorate the humane ideals of the European Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan, after Gen. George C. Marshall. The scholarships are a gesture of thanks on behalf of the British people for assistance received from the United States after World War II.