‘My Own Form of Resistance:’ Anmar Jerjees ’18 Turns Focus on Combating ISIS With Gaither Fellowship

The United States invaded Iraq in 2003, when Anmar Jerjees '18 was seven years old. That moment set in motion a chain of events that led the Iraqi refugee to become a U.S. citizen, a dedicated volunteer, an outspoken advocate for justice, a Harry S. Truman Scholar and now, a Gaither Fellow.

Jerjees has been awarded a 2018 James C. Gaither Junior Fellowship, one of only 12 granted this year by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to students from colleges and universities nationwide. Alumni of the Gaither Fellowship program include George Stephanopoulos, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, ambassadors, cabinet officials past and present, and a wide range of senior personnel in global private sectors.

Jerjees will work alongside two of Carnegie's senior fellows in Middle East policy for a year at the endowment's Washington, D.C., headquarters.

"The work that I'll be doing is my own form of combat, my own form of resistance," said Jerjees, an Iraqi refugee. "My family had to escape because our lives were threatened. Now, nine years later, I have a chance to use my own talents to fight that."

In his application essay, Jerjees dug into policy questions around combating the Islamic State's militancy and fluidity.

"Counterterrorism is more difficult without a central target," he said.

Jerjees wants to explore further how to create more cohesive governmental and civic structures in countries where Islamic State operates.

At Carnegie, he will translate, conduct research, comb databases, edit policy papers and perhaps even get a chance to co-author published research, as he supports the senior fellows in their official, high-level work.

"The work I'll be doing has some sentimental impact for me," he said. "I have family still in Iraq."

At Davidson, Jerjees has been a QuestBridge Scholar and former QuestBridge liaison, Bonner Scholar, Kemp Scholar, co-founder of Davidson Refugee Support, and a member of the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity. He currently serves as one of two Humanities Senior Fellows.

About Fellowships and Scholarships at Davidson

Davidson's Office of Fellowships connects students and recent alumni to an array of prestigious and world-renowned fellowships and scholarships, including the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Gaither Fellowships and more. A faculty committee, currently chaired by Malcolm Campbell, professor of biology and director of the James G. Martin Genomics Program, works closely with the Center for Career Development in support of students seeking scholarship and fellowship opportunities.

About the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a global network of policy research centers in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, India, and the United States. Dating back more than a century, the endowment advances peace through analysis and policy development, in collaboration with decision-makers in government, business and civil society. Their centers strive to bring multiple national viewpoints to bilateral, regional and global issues.

John Syme