College roommates share UAE Rhodes scholarship 2021

Nandini Sircar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on November 16, 2020 | Last updated on November 16, 2020 at 10.55 pm
Supplied photos

Students Maitha AlSuwaidi and Hoor Alnuami are the latest recipients the Rhodes Scholarship for the UAE

Once roommates at New York University - Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), students Maitha AlSuwaidi and Hoor Alnuami are the latest recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship for the UAE - an award given to selected young people to study at University of Oxford.

"When I heard the news, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I could not anticipate that moment as all finalists were equally hard working and accomplished individuals. Nonetheless, it was a very happy moment," said Maitha, who is doing her majors in political science and minors in creative writing, social research and public policy at NYUAD.

"I want to eventually focus on understanding mental health issues faced by the different population segments in the UAE while trying to improve the nation's collective well-being. I am, therefore, looking to pursue an MSc in evidence-based social prevention and policy evaluation. The degree in Oxford University actually tailors the understanding of mental health in different regions and countries around the world with a focus on social intervention and policy evaluation," she added.

A professional archer and an accredited archery coach, Maitha also has a knack for poetry, prose and theatre. "My family encouraged and pushed me into believing in myself. I began my application this summer and submitted it by the end of September. It took several months of working and reworking my application material to perfectly portray my narrative and my life. I am very excited to be a part of the Rhodes community, where I hope to develop friendships with global citizens, bolstering knowledge and camaraderie and life lessons."

The news seemed surreal, said Hoor, another scholarship recipient from the UAE majoring in political science and literature and creative writing with a concentration in economics at NYUAD. "I still can't wrap my head around it and am super-excited about my new journey. I can't wait to be a part of a community of global leaders at Oxford."

Hoor hopes to research the role that Arab states in international law and institutions and the intersection of Arabic literature and politics. She aspires to be an established author and translator who engages with the world through literature.

"I want to be a part of the UAE diplomatic corps and an active member of multilateral organisations and institutions. I hope to continue engaging with questions on reforming our international laws and institutions towards a more global core," said Hoor.

At Oxford, she hopes to gain the skills needed to navigate the underlying processes and structures of international institutions as well as develop her own translation theories of Arabic, and particularly, Gulf literature. But ultimately, she is set on returning. "I am the daughter of the UAE. Even as a diplomat, I see myself based in Abu Dhabi," added Hoor.

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