UNT student receives $30,500 Rotary Global Grant

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Gulin "Eva" Gelogullari, a graduate student at the University of North Texas, has received a $30,500 Rotary Global Grant to study at Tel Aviv University in Israel during the 2015-16 academic year.

Gelogullari, a master's student in UNT's Department of Media Arts, will use her grant to enroll in Tel Aviv University's one-year conflict resolution and mediation master's degree program. Her grant is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grapevine and the Rotary Club of Tel-Aviv/Yafo. She is the fourth UNT student or recent graduate since 2013 to receive a Rotary Global Grant. More than 35 other UNT students and recent graduates have received Rotary Ambassadorial and Rotary Cultural Scholarships since 1998.

James Duban, director of UNT's Office for Nationally Competitive Scholarships, has coached most of the students who have received Rotary Grants and Scholarships. He described Gelogullari as "absolutely outstanding in her cosmopolitanism and in her heartfelt determination to bring about a more peaceful world through conflict resolution studies."

Gelogullari is focusing on critical-cultural studies and film criticism for her master's degree. A native of the Black Sea Region of the Republic of Turkey, she lived in the city of Diyarbakir. Her father was an officer in the Turkish Army, and Gelogullari grew up amid ethnic conflicts and terror attacks before her family moved to Ankara.

She said that during her childhood, she observed much prejudice, animosity and bigotry between different minorities after Turkey began accepting refugees following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Persian Gulf War.

Gelogullari said she chose to study in Israel because many "have prejudice toward the State of Israel, the Israelis and Jewish people."

"I want to gain experience in contributing to a well-informed, reasoned dialogue about complex social problems and conflicts from every possible perspective," she said, noting that she learned in her media studies courses about the influential nature of media and "the danger of creating false identity politics."

Gelogullari minored in both women's and gender studies and merchandising as part of her master's degree, and is writing her thesis on fashion and film. She will defend her thesis before leaving for Tel Aviv this October and receive her degree from UNT in December.

Since arriving at UNT in 2012, Gelogullari has been a peer mentor for both UNT's Multicultural Center and the Welcome Center of UNT-International, the university's office for international students, to help new students adjust to life on campus. She has volunteered with UNT's Jewish and Israel Studies Program and completed the Professional Leadership Program in UNT's College of Business. She is a member of Indian and Nepali Student Associations, and she served as the president for the UNT chapter of Iota Iota Iota national women's studies honor society.

Last year, Gelogullari received a $2,500 scholarship from the Dallas/Fort Worth Consular Corps after the corps named her the Outstanding Foreign Student in North Texas for 2014. She used her award to study for a month at the University of Massachusetts' Boston campus and Harvard University's Schlesinger Library.

After completing her degree in conflict resolution and mediation at Tel Aviv University, Gelogullari plans to return to the U.S. to earn a doctoral degree in political science and international media. Her career goals include teaching at a university and working for the United Nations.

About Rotary Global Grants:

Rotary Global Grants support large international activities with sustainable, measurable outcomes in Rotary's areas of focus, including fighting disease, growing local economies, promoting peace, providing clean water, serving mothers and children and supporting education. The grants may fund humanitarian projects, graduate-level academic studies and vocational training teams, and must be jointly sponsored by both the Rotary district or the club where the activity is carried out and a district or club in another country.

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