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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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BU’s Rubin Wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

March 1st, 2013

Thirty-nine of the most academically brilliant and socially committed young people in the US – including BU’s Ethan Rubin –will take up a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge, England, this fall. Ethan, from Brookline, Mass., will pursue a master’s degree (MPhil) in Education. He is the third Boston University student to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship since the program began in 2001. He also delivered the 10′ commencement address for the philosophy department. Read his address here.

The graduate-study program was established through a $210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which remains the largest single donation to a UK university. Competition for places is fierce and the program is unique in its emphasis on social leadership as well as outstanding academic ability.

The successful 39 candidates, who will study for a variety of one-year courses and PhD degrees, were whittled down from an initial field of around 750 applicants. The 83 shortlisted candidates were interviewed in Washington D.C. on February 1st and 2nd by Cambridge and US academics.

The new US Scholars will join 50 Scholars from other countries around the world, who will be announced this spring. At any one time there are almost 250 Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University Cambridge – one of the world’s most ancient (founded in 1209) and prestigious universities.

Professor Robert Lethbridge, Provost (CEO) of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “We are delighted to announce our new US Scholars. They are an outstanding group of individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds. They fully meet the criteria of the Scholarship in being bothintellectually outstanding and having a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. They should be proud of this achievement and we can expect much of them.”

Bios and photos of the new US Scholars are available here.

For more information on the Scholarship program, see

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