Ishmael Maxwell ’21 earns prestigious Marshall Scholarship

Ishmael Maxwell ’21 earns award to attend Queen’s University of Belfast and SOAS University of London where he will focus on the studies of conflict transformation and social justice.

8 December 2020 Posted In:
Ishmael Maxwell ’21
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Ishmael Maxwell ’21 is among just 46 students nationwide to be named a Marshall Scholarship recipient.

Named for former United States Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarship Program began in 1953 as a gesture of gratitude to the people of the United States for the assistance that the United Kingdom received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Since that time, it has remained uniquely positioned among national scholarships for its prestige and scope: offering talented young Americans the chance to study any academic subject at UK universities of their choice for up to three years.

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, the program received a record 1,180 applicants from top undergraduate students representing institutions across the United States. For the first time in the program’s 66-year history, the incoming class will be majority-minority with 52% reflecting minority communities across the United States, including a record number of Black and Latinx scholars. A majority of the class are female scholars and six are first-generation college students.

With over 2,200 scholarships awarded to date, Marshall Scholars are leading the conversation and direction of some of the most critical issues of our time.

“This scholarship is an incredible opportunity for me professionally, as it will prepare me with the knowledge and experience I need to help reduce division and extremism,” Maxwell said. He plans to attend Queen’s University of Belfast focusing on the studies of conflict transformation and social justice, specifically learning from residents about their experience with conflict and how they’ve achieved peace and reconciliation. He’ll also attend SOAS University of London, where he’ll focus on South Asian area studies and hopes to connect with the UK’s large South Asian diaspora community. After graduation, Maxwell said he hopes “to work in a UK peacebuilding NGO, like Peace Direct, to learn how to apply techniques for contact resolution directly before I transition into government.”

“I was inspired to pursue this path because of my own personal experience living between identities and divisions, with a Muslim Indian mother and a White American father,” he said.

“It is a mark of distinction for the college that Ishmael has been selected for the Marshall Scholarship, which is among the world’s most prestigious awards for graduate study,” said Director of Student Fellowships Marynel Ryan Van Zee. “We are delighted that he will be able to pursue his interests at two renowned universities, as well as join an outstanding group of fellow scholars selected for their academic excellence, leadership, and potential to create lasting relationships while in the UK.”

Maxwell credits his scholarship win to his experiences at Carleton. A political science/international relations major, Maxwell has taken courses like Terrorism and Counterterrorism and pursued research opportunities on populism and Scottish nationalism. Furthermore, with the help of the Carleton Careen Center, Maxwell completed two internships, one at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an organization dedicated to understanding and powering solutions to extremism and polarization, and the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies—both which helped him narrow down his interest on extremism and polarization.

Maxwell becomes the seventh recipient of the Marshall Scholarship in Carleton history, with the most recent being Bailey Ulbricht ’15. 

More information about the Marshall Scholarship and Carleton’s application and endorsement process can be found by visiting the Office of Student Fellowships website.