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Vestiges of Cold War Bring Three Muskie Fellows to Graduate School at DU

U.S. Serves as Training Ground for Future Policymakers of Former Soviet Union

Through the prestigious Edmund S. Muskie Fellows program operated by the U.S. Department of State, three additional international students from countries in the former Soviet Union are studying at Duquesne University.Graduate fellows Aida Bazarkulova from Kyrgystan and Turan Jafarova from Azerbaijan are studying in the Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy. Vladimir Ivashchuk from Russia is enrolled in the Donahue Graduate School of Business.

The students and the schools they attend are selective, said Dr. Joseph Yenerall, director of the Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy and coordinator of the Muskie Fellows program at Duquesne. Only 5 percent of the applicants are picked as scholars, scoring highly on tests, interviews and personal statements. Those selected then attend a U.S. university, based upon their academic focus and areas of specialization.

Duquesne has participated in the program since 1997 and has had 16 Muskie Fellows earn graduate degrees. The U.S. Congress established the Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program in 1992 to encourage economic and democratic growth in the 12 countries of the former Soviet Union. In addition to their academic coursework, all Muskie fellows perform community service and complete summer internships.

These students benefit both the international and domestic student body, Yenerall said. “Having students from various countries is a tremendous opportunity for our domestic students who might not be able to visit these countries,” he said. “Additionally, I really think the stature of the University’s graduate programs is advanced by being recognized as a Muskie Fellows scholar school.”

Typically, students selected as Muskie Fellows learn policy analysis in public administration from the American perspective, then return to their homelands and work for their governments, improving the quality of life in their countries.

Bazarkulova previously worked on a project funded by the European Commission that dealt with prevention of domestic violence and plans to promote human rights after she completes her Duquesne degree and returns to Kyrgystan.

Jafarova, who already holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, had worked with children in various positions as a volunteer, social worker and coordinator.

“I believe that studying at Duquesne will help me to gain my main goal: to become involved in shaping social policy, and to share gained knowledge and experience with future specialists in social work and social policy,” Jafarova said.

Ivashchuk, a former pharmaceutical company representative, wants “to help the Russian economy, particularly the medical-associated business,” and improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services.

To learn more about programs at Duquesne University, visit www.duq.edu.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.