Duquesne Hosts Three Muskie Fellows from Armenia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan
As the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program winds down nationally, Duquesne is hosting three students from the former Soviet Union, who attend schools in the U.S. through U.S. Department of State funding.
This year, Duquesne is the academic destination for: Arpine Porsughyan of Armenia, Gulnaz Kelekeyeva of Kazakhstan and Elvin Yusifli of Azerbaijan. These students, enrolled in the Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy, will receive master's degrees from Duquesne and hope to become the emerging leaders of their generation when they return to their countries.
"Even as Congress is closing the Muskie Fellows, we are still hosting graduate students from this prestigious program," said Joseph DeCrosta, director of international programs. "Many of them go back to important positions at home.
Duquesne has participated in the program since 1998, only six years after Congress initially established it to encourage economic and democratic growth in the 12 countries of the former Soviet Union, and hosted a number of scholars.
Kelekeyeva, a first-year graduate student, will be the last student completing the Muskie program from Duquesne because the program will be discontinued nationally.
"I feel lucky to have a chance to get this scholarship", said Kelekeyeva. "I have many friends who were disappointed because they applied and did not get the same opportunity as I have been given."
Porsughyan is a second-year graduate student from Armenia, one of the first nations to adopt Christianity. History and traditional culture are tied to my country's future development, Porsughyan said, despite misleading labels of repression and a warlike nature often applied to Armenia and surrounding countries. She is working toward a degree in public policy that focuses on development and the non-profit sector.
The graduate fellows have found the way of learning in a classroom very different from their home countries. Duquesne classes are student-directed and helpful to students who learn in various ways. Education in Kazakhstan, Kelekeyeva said, is purely instructor-based and students are given little say or flexibility.
In addition to their academic coursework, all Muskie fellows perform community service and complete summer internships. The fellows stay in the U.S. for two years.