#IAS_NUQ announces 2024 Global Undergraduate Fellows

February 26, 2024

Sixteen student researchers from Northwestern University in Qatar join The Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South (#IAS_NUQ) as part of the third incoming cohort of its flagship Global Undergraduate Fellowship program.

The #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellowship is a year-long program that supports students interested in conducting research on topics relevant to the Global South. Fellows selected for the program engage in rigorous research and creative scholarship projects, contributing to evidence-based storytelling about the Global South through diverse mediums such as research papers, multimodal projects, documentary films, and other creative digital forms.

In addition to receiving funding for their projects, the Global Undergraduate Fellows work closely with #IAS_NUQ staff and NU-Q faculty mentors and participate in specialized training, workshops, and writing groups. Their final projects are published by #IAS_NUQ Press and showcased to the Northwestern Qatar and Education City community at the annual event, #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellows Presentations, held at the end of January each year.


Selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants, this year's fellows will examine various cultural, economic, and social issues across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. The projects represent a rich tapestry of research interests and approaches, including changing news consumption patterns in rural Zambia, resistance to polio vaccination in tribal areas of Pakistan, community-led education amongst Doplo indigenous populations in Nepal, feminist economic practices in Pakistan, and contemporary Afro-Brazilian religious practices in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia in Brazil.

Maria Clara Lisboa-Ward, a third-year student in the Journalism and Strategic Communication Program, is among the student researchers awarded a fellowship this year. With a focus on digital performances, online storytelling strategies, and the analysis of multicultural mass communications, Maria brings a unique perspective to her research endeavors. Drawing inspiration from her experience as a research assistant with Northwestern Qatar Professor Heather Jaber, Lisboa-Ward aims to explore the intricacies of the Brazilian digital space, an area she believes needs to be thoroughly defined in academia.

"I want to find out how certain aspects of Brazilian society—particularly class identity and mobility aspirations—generate profitability and determine how Brazilians use platforms online,” said  Lisboa-Ward, adding, “I think there is a space to study the digital landscapes of the Global South, which is something I am eager to contribute to.”

Another fellow selected for the program is Mahnoor Ahmer Ansari, a third-year student in the Communication Program from Pakistan. Her research examines the intersections of morality policing and class dynamics within digital spaces, with a specific focus on the use of TikTok amongst working-class women in Pakistan.

"I discovered TikTok through a woman at the beauty parlor my mother and I used to go to back in 2018,” said Ansari. “Most people I knew back then refused to use the platform; they would call it "cringe." Sentiments like this have a larger impact than we think. In 2020, Pakistan temporarily banned TikTok, justified by a religious morality clause. My project will explore and trace how the creativity and community found in digital spaces occupied by the working class in Pakistan have converged as powerful tools of resistance."

Augusta Shimwa, a third-year student in the Communication Program, was also selected for an #IAS_NUQ fellowship. Her research focuses on investigating the strategies employed by secondary students and teachers in Rwanda to overcome barriers to educational equity stemming from rapidly changing language policies.

"The Rwandan education system has long piqued my curiosity, and upon enrolling at NU-Q, I became acutely aware of the gaps it left in my own learning,” noted Shimwa. “I believe delving into the personal narratives surrounding this topic is crucial for presenting a comprehensive understanding of Rwanda's journey toward educational equity. Through my project, I aim to shed light on the multifaceted aspects of this issue and contribute to ongoing efforts to address educational inequalities in Rwanda."

Leading the fellowship is Clovis Bergère, assistant director for research at #IAS_NUQ. Through mentorship and training with staff and postdoctoral scholars at #IAS_NUQ and Northwestern Qatar faculty, undergraduate fellows will develop their initial proposals into comprehensive research and creative projects to contribute to the mission of #IAS_NUQ and knowledge about the Global South.

"Working with the #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellows has been an absolute pleasure. They bring rich and diverse perspectives, questions, and approaches to evidence-based storytelling that draws on deep connections with the Global South and speak to the heart of #IAS_NUQ's mission to produce locally relevant and globally resonant knowledge about the Global South,” said Bergère. “With projects focused on a broad range of topics from news consumption in rural Zambia, digital money in Bangladesh, TikTok use in beauty salons in Pakistan, community-led education in Nepal, or Samba School's impact on Afro-Brazilian communities in Rio de Janeiro, to name but a few, this cohort is no different. We couldn't be more excited to welcome them, and we look forward to working with them on their research papers, documentary films, and multimodal projects in the year ahead."

In welcoming the new cohort, Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar, said: "The #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellows program is the deep core of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Global South at Northwestern Qatar. This new fabulous cohort of fellows embodies the success of the Institute's central and innovative premise: undergraduate scholars and media-makers, once offered dedicated research, professional, and logistical mentoring, can produce advanced evidence-based storytelling, whether publication, films, games, or others, that rivals outputs at the very best graduate programs anywhere in the world."

2024 #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellows and their research topics:

  1. Aidana Bauyrzzhanova, Beyond Kelin: Unveiling Daughter-In-Lawhood in Kazakhstan
  2. Annastazia Ng'ambi, News Consumption in Rural Zambia: The Role of Traditional Media in a Digital Age.
  3. Anudit Basnet, Citizen Journalism: An Alternative to Mainstream Media for Political Discourse in Nepal.
  4. Augusta Shimwa, Lost in Translation: Subverting Linguistic Barriers to Education Equity in Rwanda.
  5. Eiman Nasir, Remembering 1971.
  6. Esther Umutoni Kamanzi, The Last Ones Standing: Recollection of Rwanda's History and Reconstruction of Memory Through its Eldest Keepers.
  7. Farhan Saleh Rafid, Unlocking Financial Empowerment: Analyzing the Gendered Impact of Digital Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh.
  8. Iraj Shahzad, Gold: The Unspoken Feminism of Rural Women in Pakistan.
  9. Mahnoor Ahmer Ansari, Morality Politics and Class: A Documentation through TikTok Use in Pakistan.
  10. Mahnoor Naveed, Polio, Prejudice, and Persistence: The Tale of Tribal Pakistan.
  11. Maiara Anieli Lohmann, Rhythms of Resistance: The Samba Schools' Impact on Rio de Janeiro's Afro-Brazilian Communities.
  12. Maria Clara Lisboa-Ward (dos Santos Lisboa), Twerking on Twitter: Class, Emotion and the Brazilian Digital Space.
  13. Mehul Bhattacharya, Fragments and Remnants: Kolkata's Fading Armenian Connection.
  14. Rizwanul Islam, Reconciling Al-Ghazali's Qalb and Ibn Taymiyyah's Fitrat: Islamic Epistemology in the Critique of Modernity.
  15. Shrijan Pandey, Dolpo's Indigenous Community-led Initiative to Assimilate into Modernity through Education.
  16. Yasmin Dianni Porto Barbosa, Raízes da Fé: A Journey into Candomblé and Umbanda Beliefs in Afro-Brazilian Religions.

For more information about the #IAS_NUQ Global Undergraduate Fellowships and other programs, click here.