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Faiza Moatasim, CEW's First Robin Wright Graduate Fellowship Recipient
The first Robin Wright Graduate Fellowship recipient was Faiza Moatasim, a student in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Faiza spent part of last summer in Athens, researching the archives of C.A. Doxiadis, a noted Greek architect who was commissioned in 1947 to design Islamabad, a modern capital for Pakistan. As Faiza explains, Doxiadis and other planners envisioned cities that gave “physical shape to aspirations for prosperity and progress in the newly independent states.” The cities they created were accessible primarily to governmental officials and others “who could afford to purchase expensive residential property.” The planners failed to anticipate the need for a “balanced representation of population from all segments of society, especially the underprivileged.” As a result, spontaneous “squatter settlements” rose up and continue to grow in areas in and around Islamabad, as well as around the Indian capital of Chandigarh. Faiza's goal is to investigate the decisions made by Doxiadis and his contemporaries, to explore the on-going spatial and social tensions, and to identify possible future remedies.
Faiza is committed to addressing the housing issues of the underprivileged, who represent the vast majority of Pakistanis. “Architects,” she believes, “have a social obligation to create equitable environments, accessible to all and not just to the minority who can afford to pay for their services.”
"Getting funding at this formative stage is very crucial for any doctoral student," said Faiza, "and I am absolutely certain that it will benefit the progress of my research by leaps and bounds. I am grateful to Robin Wright and CEW for the confidence they have in me."
Robin Wright, Journalist
An internationally esteemed journalist, foreign policy expert, and University of Michigan alumna, Robin Wright created this award to support the work of a UM graduate student from Africa or the Islamic World. She has reported from more than 140 countries, but her primary passion and expertise is the Middle East, about which she has written five books. Wright's CEW fellowship highlights her commitment to research on contemporary international and global issues, especially those related to political, economic or societal change in the Middle East or Africa and to new solutions for issues arising from the spread of globalization.
CEW thanks Robin Wright for her commitment to research on global issues through her work and her generous support to establish this fund.