Edward Said Scholarship

The Edward Said Scholarship was established by SF State Alumnus Allam El Qadah in honor of Professor Edward Wadie Said, a Palestinian American literary theorist and public intellectual who helped found the critical-theory field of post-colonialism and was a champion of justice for and in Palestine.

The scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduate students of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) Studies who demonstrate an outstanding academic record and community service that exemplifies what Professor Edward Said stood for.

View the scholarship criteria and application.

2015-2016 Scholarship Recipients

Amena Elmashni, AMED Studies Minor

It is truly an honor to receive an award named after of one of the most inspirational men to have walked on this planet. Dr. Edward Said has changed my life through the ways in which I carry myself and take part in my community. And to have been chosen to receive this scholarship is an experience both humbling and graciously empowering.

My interdisciplinary career goal after graduating with bachelor's degree in Visual Communication Design and a minor in Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies is to use my skills within design and the knowledge of my struggles as an Arab, Woman, and Muslim to fuse a project in which I analyze the situations and narratives of my people and all peoples who have suffered loss of homeland and identity. This scholarship will truly effect my dreams in making these projects become a reality.

Design within itself is a form of resistance in a world that was designed to keep a certain race, class, and gender privileged and all "others" oppressed. I hope to work on a project that focuses on refugee camps and forming ways in which design becoming a place of healing, resistance, and preserved history. I also envision myself writing a book in analyzing design within Palestine and the historical and political context within the country's architectural, industrial, and visual design from past to future. This future space I hope to create, will have the ability to engage youth into flourishing and reclaiming the beauty that lives within their culture, traditions, and realities through engaging design workshops, exhibits, archives, and social outlets. I believe this is could be a place that helps youth grow mentally, emotionally, and intellectually.

The meaning of this scholarship to my life and my community is remarkable. It is inspiring to see community leaders giving back to their community through the privilege of educational support. I can truly say I am proud to be a member of such a community that does not forget one another, but rather works to empower and push each other.

Heather Porter Abu Deiab, AMED Focus Graduate Student

I am incredibly honored to have been awarded this scholarship, named for one of the most distinguished scholars of our time and an academic whose work was among my first introduction to critical race and anti-colonial studies.

As an undergrad, Edward Said’s Orientalism inspired me, along with classes offered by the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, to move away from a curriculum focusing on the “Middle East” and declare a special major designed in consideration of and named after the AMED program. It was through Said’s texts, and in these classrooms that I shifted my focus to recognize a social justice perspective, which was inclusive of the lived experiences and intersectionalities of these diverse communities.

Now, as a graduate student in the Ethnic Studies program at SFSU, my thesis departs from dominant research in that it adopts an interdisciplinary approach, inspired by Said’s critical perspectives, examining the movement of Islamophobia from 1492 Spain to 1776 U.S. while considering the gendered and sexualized oppressions and policies fueled by and inherent in these ideologies. Furthermore, I work to de-center the U.S. and 9/11/2001 and consider not just how Arab-Muslim communities have been affected but also investigate how Islamophobia has worked as a structural oppression against U.S. Indigenous populations and people of color.

And, as a graduate assistant in the AMED program at SFSU, I have had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, to whom I am especially grateful, for extending my graduate program beyond my seminars and keeping me constantly learning and developing an ever more critical perspective and knowledge through my work on research, course material, and in planning events and programs, all that focus not only on Arab and Muslim communities but also on non-Muslims in Muslim majority and non-Arabs in Arab majority countries and work to inform on issues in these transnational communities.

Receiving this scholarship has inspired me to continue my work in academia as I near the end of my graduate program. I can only hope that the work I do will continue in the vein of the great Dr. Said, and of the many other radical scholars and community activists who have paved this way for us.

Saleem Shehadeh, AMED Focus Graduate Student

I am humbled to receive the Edward Said Scholarship which celebrates the brilliant legacy of Edward Said. Edward Said once said “We cannot fight for our rights and our history as well as future until we are armed with weapons of criticism and dedicated consciousness.” I am truly honored to be recognized as working towards this endeavor.

I graduated from UC Davis with degrees in Political Science and Middle East & South Asian Studies. During that time I interned with Professor Suad Joseph under the Genealogy of Media Project where I analyzed the representation of the Arab world and Islam. At UC Davis I was a member of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and served as the organizing chair of divestment. SJP alongside other student organizations and the wider community successfully passed legislation through the Associated Student Body Legislative Senate that detailed ethical university investment standards.

As a graduate student at San Francisco State University, I have undertaken a graduate practicum under Professor Rabab Abdulhadi. In that capacity, I was Dr. Abdulhadi's teaching assistant for the class Voices in Exile: Arab and Muslim Americans & Civil Liberties in Race and Resistance. I have also helped the AMED Studies program organize public lectures and events that promote anti-colonial, anti-racist, and social justice oriented frameworks within communities at home and abroad.

This scholarship will help support my continuing research and academic pursuits at San Francisco State. I am studying Palestinian identity consciousness among the students and organization of the General Union of Palestine Students. My thesis work will be among one of the first academic research projects centered on documenting the long standing oral histories of GUPS here at San Francisco State University.

Above all, the sheer recognition and affirmation of the path I choose to travel in life and academia is of immeasurable moral support. The recognition of my academic record and community service as working in tandem refuel and reinforce my dedication to education; which echoed in the principles of AMED, Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, and all the recipients of the award, is one in which knowledge is produced to serve social justice.