Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab announced today that a recent Hunter College graduate and a graduating senior, both part of the Macaulay Honors Program at Hunter College, have won the highly respected Luce Scholarship. Saifeldeen Zihiri (Class of 2019) and Jennifer Dikler (Class of 2020) are among the 18 young scholars selected from across the United States.
Hunter College is one of only two colleges to have two winners this year. It is also the only public college in the state of New York with recipients this year.
“Hunter is incredibly proud to have two new recipients,” said President Raab. “It is truly gratifying to see that our outstanding students are being rewarded with opportunities that take them all over the world to expand their academic futures.”
Sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, the scholarship pays for a year of language study and professional work in an Asian country with the purpose of building a greater understanding of Asia among potential American leaders. Only a limited number of high-achieving college graduates with outstanding leadership potential are eligible for consideration. Recipients of this unique award are not on career paths that would ordinarily take them to Asia. The Luce Scholarship gives them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the continent.
Saifeldeen “Saif” Zihiri graduated from Hunter College in June 2019, with a double major in Political Science and Religion, and a certificate in Human Rights from the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. A winner of several fellowships while at Hunter, he was one of only 25 students nationally to be named a New York City Urban Fellow for 2019-2020. Growing up Muslim-American in New York, Saif has dedicated himself to studying extremist movements and government violations in the name of counter-extremism. As a New York City Urban Fellow, he has been placed this year with the New York City Police Department. Also strengthening his application to the Luce were three summer internships in human rights, made possible through a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship—all during his time as an undergraduate.
“Any understanding of extremism and counter-extremism would remain incomplete without taking Asian societies into consideration,” said Saif. “A year as a Luce Scholar promises to build upon my ongoing effort to comprehend extremism around the world.”
Jennifer Dikler will graduate this June with a joint BA/MA in Economics and a BA in Political Science as well as a minor in Mathematics; she will have completed a five-year program in only four years. Moreover, she will have accomplished this while working full-time throughout college as an immigrant paralegal at Tseitlin Law Firm. At Hunter, she cultivated her leadership skills as President of the Macaulay Business and of the Hunter Association of Business students, and she also benefited from the Cooperman Scholars Program. She also gained experience in the field as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Barclays and as a Foundation Intern at Centerbridge Partners. As a CUNY Women in Public Service Scholar, Jennifer was placed at the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and served as the only intern on the prominent task force that studied the proposed closure of the Rikers Island jails.
“As a Luce Scholar, I’ll be able to research trade through an Asian lens and closely observe the effects of trade policy on various Asian nations, eventually using this knowledge to influence trade policy and the conversation surrounding it in the United States,” said Jennifer.
According to President Raab, the awarding of these two scholarships demonstrates the importance of Hunter’s Newman Office of Prestigious Scholarships, which continues to guide students to potential awards and awards programs.