USF senior Claire Crowley embraces 11-year-old Ndumiso, one of many
homeless kids she worked with during a summer immersion trip to South
Africa in 2007. Ndumiso passed away from HIV/AIDS related illness
shortly after Crowley return to San Francisco.
Senior Claire Crowley remembers sobbing in the Johannesburg airport as
she waited to depart from a summer study trip in South Africa a year
ago, wondering how she would ever afford to return to the continent
that had enthralled her. Now she can, as the winner of a Gilman
Crowley, an international studies
major with emphases in African studies and global studies, and junior
Cecily Cook, an international studies major, with emphases in peace and
conflict and the Middle East, were recently named recipients of
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awards. Crowley won $5,000
to study in Bamako, Mali this fall, while Cook won $8,000 to put toward
a fall semester in Cairo, Egypt.
This is the third year that one
or more University of San Francisco students have been awarded Gilman
scholarships. Three other students won in years past, said Gerardo
Marin, USF vice provost. The award is funded by the U.S. Department of
State for undergraduate students who qualify for low-income college
grants. Crowley and Cook were two of 700 scholarship winners, selected
from 1,659 applicants for 2008.
Crowley, who spent five weeks
working for a nongovernmental organization assisting thousands of
children living on the streets of Durban, South Africa last summer,
sees her return to Africa as an opportunity to more fully explore her
major by living and studying for four months on the “humbly
magnificent” continent that changed her life.
Departing at the
end of August, she’ll return home in time for Christmas. While there,
she’ll live with a local family in Bamako, study Malian history and
culture, and French (Mali's official language), and conduct research on
the impact of gender roles in a developing country, specifically within
“In today’s culture of hostility and
terror, we are taught to fear those who are different than us, rather
than try to understand them,” said Crowley, who spent time doing
outreach to homeless children while in South Africa. “If we honestly
want peace, we must transcend and supersede enemy images with dialogue,
association, and solidarity among all peoples and cultures.”
She sees international study as one of the paramount ways of overcoming those cultural biases.
who received additional funds to study Arabic (one of the Gilman
scholarship program’s “critical” focus areas for 2008), chose Cairo for
its intrigue. “In general, my time in Cairo will make me more familiar
with the customs, people, and ways of the area I'm studying,” Cook said.
and studying in the Middle East will bring a real-world context to her
study of peace and conflict, something not easily absorbed from a book,
Cook said. “It will give me a first-hand account of what life is like
in such a volatile region,” she said. She’ll also experience what it's
like to live, study, and travel in a Muslim and Arab country, which is
important because of her regional emphasis, Cook said.
Crowley, Cook has devoted time to aiding street children in the
developing world, having returned in July from a trip to Peru as part
of the Not For Sale Campaign – whose aim is to stop human trafficking.
A year ago, she took part in an Erasmus living-learning community
immersion trip to Cambodia.
“I hope that my time in Egypt,
learning the customs, language, and particulars of the country, will
enhance the rest of my educational career and give me a competitive
edge when it comes time to begin a long-term career, whatever that may
be,” Cook said.