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Kennedy Scholars 2015

Zena-AghaZena Agha  22

Harvard GSAS AM Regional Studies - Middle East

Zena Agha is a final year history and politics student at Warwick University. At 16, she was elected deputy member of youth parliament for her borough, and at 17 was the youngest ever member of Operation Black Vote's MP shadowing scheme, working under the mentorship of the Rt Hon Fiona MacTaggart, MP for Slough.  At university, Zena turned her attention to writing spoken word poetry. She is founder and coordinator of Warwick’s largest poetry collective, Shoot from the Lip, which runs poetry slams and workshops for young people around the country. In 2013, Zena worked with Operation Black Vote to produce and direct a series of spoken word short films and interviews called ‘The Power of Poetry'. Identity is the over-riding theme of her writing. Zena has done freelance work at The Economist and has been published in The Independent, with other media credits including BBC Arabic, BBC Scotland, Russia Today and the BBC World Service.  She is of Iraqi-Palestinian heritage and is fascinated by the Middle East, its diaspora and its relationship with the West. After studying International Relations at Sciences Po, Paris, during her year abroad, she worked as a translator at the Iraqi embassy in France and interned with the Palestinian delegation at UNESCO. In addition to working at 'Al Quds' newspaper, Zena is co-founder of the website Infita7 ("Openness” in Arabic) which explores the Middle East's complexities through a variety of lenses in English, Arabic and French. Zena seeks to preserve and cultivate an awareness of Arab identity and life in the diaspora and she welcomes the breadth of the Harvard AM. 


Elizabeth-AndersonDr Elizabeth Fitchett (nee Anderson)  26

Harvard School of Public Health MPH

Global Public health has been a theme throughout Elizabeth’s training, along with her interest in the power of data to change policy.  Wishing to foster debate around global health, health systems and inequities in access to care she founded Medsin-Cardiff whilst completing her medical degree at Cardiff University.  She took an intercalated BSc in global health at Imperial College London, conducting her dissertation research in Uganda on non-specific immunological effects of the BCG vaccine, and learning the value of global partnerships that both build long-term capacity and address local health challenges.  She was also a support worker for the Doctors of the World London Clinic, advocating for vulnerable migrants who were unable to access healthcare.  She co-chaired EuWHO2012 where 200 students from 50 countries wrote a resolution on reproductive health. Elizabeth produced a short film documenting the event and sharing the final summary, published by the Lancet.  Having secured an Academic Foundation post, Elizabeth has spent a year working in Newham encountering health issues consequent upon high rates of unemployment, child poverty and overcrowded living.  At Newham, she implemented the IHI Ask One Question initiative, encouraging medical students to ask patients about the one thing which would improve their stay.  She is a visiting research fellow at LSHTM, coordinating an international project to write new guidance for reporting neonatal infection data in published research. Work in India, Uganda and Nepal as well as in the UK has fuelled Elizabeth’s desire to improve the collection and use of data in the field, whether for research, healthcare provision or advocacy.  She therefore welcomes the strong foundation she will gain from the Quantitative Concentration of the Harvard Masters in Public Health. 

Jonathan-ClarkeDr Jonathan Clarke 28 

Harvard School of Public Health MPH

Jonathan, who is the first in his family to go to university, has a long-term interest in population health and epidemiological methods.  As a medical student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he researched the role of health data to track equitable access to new cancer treatments with the Cambridge Institute of Public Health; later, as an Academic Foundation doctor at Imperial College London, he investigated the efficiency of screening programmes for bowel cancer at a population level.  He has also been involved in the establishing of national standards for the recording and utilisation of national healthcare data.  This resulted in his being the only junior doctor selected as a panel speaker at an international conference in 2013.  Currently an Academic Clinical Fellow in General Surgery, he is particularly researching care of cancer patients before their diagnosis and seeking to understand factors which cause a delay in diagnosis.  Through his work Jonathan seeks to understand how the quality and efficiency of surgery and cancer care can be improved at a national level using routinely collected healthcare data. Jonathan is an active and enthusiastic clinical teacher.  He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles and has presented his work nationally and internationally. He welcomes the opportunity to understand how population health challenges are overcome in the USA and incorporate that perspective into the doctoral studies he will begin on his return to Imperial.

Hester-van-HensbergenHester van Hensbergen  21

Harvard GSAS Special Student

Hester has been studying History at King’s College, Cambridge where she has specialised in the history of political thought.  She is uncertain whether to seek an academic or a diplomatic career and welcomes the breadth offered by a year as a Special Student. In particular, she hopes to explore and integrate her two interests in intellectual history and the politics of the contemporary Middle East, recognising America as a pivotal influence in both.  She first went to Egypt in 2012, following the Port Said football massacre, where she worked with the aid section of the Spanish Embassy. The focus on female empowerment in the NGOs with which she worked sparked her wider interest in Egyptian political life, and she returned again to Cairo in 2013 to shadow Guardian correspondent Patrick Kingsley. Hester is eager to further her study of the Arabic language at Harvard, and also to develop the critical languages provided by the social sciences faculties.

Rachel-JonesRachel Jones  26

Harvard Law School LLM

Rachel has three aims in pursuing the LLM at Harvard: to broaden her knowledge of the Law and other disciplines (particularly philosophy, science and history), to immerse herself in a legal culture that is both foreign and familiar and to prepare herself for her future career.  After graduating with a top First in Law with French Law from Balliol College,Oxford, Rachel took an LLM at the LSE particularly to study human rights to accompany her knowledge of public and international law.  Here she finished top in her year.  She trained as a barrister and is currently working as a researcher for Lords Reed and Carnwath as a Judicial Assistant at the UK Supreme Court where she finds comparisons with other common law systems are often required.  This has deepened her desire to take a further LLM in order to understand the finer details of the USA’s legal doctrine and culture.

Ben_Leibowitz_2Ben Leibowitz  22

Harvard GSAS AM Regional Studies - Middle East

Completing his undergraduate degree in History at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Ben has been increasingly drawn to the study of the political and intellectual history of the modern Middle Eastern. With a background in British and European history, Ben is particularly interested in ‘Western’ perceptions of, and interactions with, the Arab world, with recent research projects including a study of the relationship between Victorian Britain and the Ottoman Empire, and ongoing work exploring the mobilisation of Arab-American intellectuals in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict. His engagement with the Middle East is a confluence of academic intrigue and deep personal and political passion. Having lived on Kibbutz Lotan in Israel for a number of months, since his return Ben has become increasingly involved in the Anglo-Jewish community - as a youth leader and as a student director for the pro-peace charity Yachad, acting most recently as co-founder and spokesperson for the related Sign on the Green Line campaign. Ben is enormously excited to study Arabic; to become part of a department as dynamic and vibrant as Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies; and to live in Boston, where he hopes to pursue and further cultivate his love of tennis, travel, folk music and food.

Tom-O-BryanTom O'Bryan 24

Harvard Kennedy School MPP

Tom has a vision to transform policy-making in conflict zones, empowering local entrepreneurs and catalysing sustainable local industries. He recently returned from a two-year deployment to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he worked as an advisor to Hollywood actor and director Ben Affleck’s non-profit, the Eastern Congo Initiative. Having previously served as an economic policy advisor in post-Revolution Tunisia, Tom went on to analyse UN human rights monitoring issues in Western Sahara. He spent a year in Washington, D.C. engaged in American politics, has worked in the Foreign Policy Unit of the Liberal Democrats’ London HQ, and has analysed issues of conflict resolution for CNN, the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent. With a First Class Honours degree in International Relations and Dean of School Commendation from the University of Exeter, he studied abroad in China and India and received scholarships from the UK Houses of Parliament and UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Tom is a Junior Fellow of the International Studies Association, with Palgrave Macmillan publishing his book chapter comparing Western responses to popular uprisings in the Middle East. Tom grew up in Bath, is a lifelong supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and speaks fluent French.

Nyasha-Weinberg-2Nyasha Weinberg 25

Harvard Kennedy School MPP

Nyasha read Human Sciences at St John’s College, Oxford graduating top of her year. She picked up passable Bengali (on a gap year in Kolkata where she transformed the syllabus of a rural school for HIV positive children), and qualifications as a teacher in TEFL and Yoga (not simultaneously). After graduation she took a law conversion and then, to develop her communications skills, taught English in Rio de Janeiro whilst writing for an NGO.  She learned about environmentally- responsible entrepreneurship helping to set up a sustainable tourism project in Argentina.  On the UK Civil Service Graduate “Fast-Stream” she became her Directorate’s consultant on driving digital change, and established a cross fast-stream learning and development network. Nyasha is particularly interested in education, engagement and employment issues for young adults. The MPP will provide a challenging cross-disciplinary environment in which to explore how to develop better, evidence based policy and change without creating complex, expensive bureaucracies.  She hopes to work either in government or the not-for-profit sector, improving the future for young people through better policy making.

amy-woolfson-1Amy Woolfson 29

Harvard Law School LLM

Amy grew up in Hereford and went to a local comprehensive school, followed by Hereford Sixth Form College.  She then worked in a series of sales and administrative jobs.  In 2009, at the age of 22, she enrolled in a part-time law course with the Open University.  Studying law sparked an interest in politics and she began to volunteer for her local Conservative Association.  This led to her working for a Conservative MP as a constituency caseworker and later as a Parliamentary Assistant, alongside her studies.  In 2013, Amy graduated from the Open University with a first class law degree.  She has considerable mooting experience having been on the winning Open University team in the 2013 Lexis Nexis Welsh National Mooting competition and the 2015 UK Environmental Law Association junior moot.  She writes a blog – – which uses case law to introduce people to the geography and history of London, and has written a paper on education policy as the Society of Conservative Lawyers’ Lyell Scholar.  Amy has represented three clients in the employment tribunal as a volunteer at the Free Representation Unit and hopes to continue this voluntary work when she returns to the UK.  Amy welcomes the opportunity to deepen her understanding of international, constitutional and public law at Harvard, to hone her analytical skills before training as a barrister.



Scholar Profiles
Mutsa Chironga, 2004

I definitely had to pinch myself once or twice during the year!

Mutsa Chironga, 2004

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