Two alumni win Gates scholarships in international round

May 2, 2017, 1:22 a.m.
Two alumni win Gates scholarships in international round
Yassamin Ansari ’14 is one of Stanford’s two international Gates Scholars chosen this month alongside Erica Gaston (Courtesy of Yassamin Ansari/Stanford News).

Two more Stanford alumni, Yassamin Ansari ’14 and Erica Gaston ’03, have received Gates Cambridge Scholarships for graduate study in the program’s international round of selection.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established its Gates scholarships in 2000 to help graduate students living outside the U.K. study at Cambridge University. Stanford alumni comprise four out of a total of 90 scholars honored by the Gates Foundation this year.

Ansari and Gaston join Nicholas Ahamed ’15 and Anna Ntiriwah-Asare ’14, who won Gates scholarships in February. Ahamed and Ntiriwah-Asare were among 55 recipients in a round of scholarships specifically for American citizens who live in the U.S.

Ansari is already studying at Cambridge, seeking a master’s degree in international relations and politics with a particular emphasis on the Middle East.

As an undergraduate, she majored in international relations at Stanford and completed honors in international security studies. Ansari also participated in politics and international affairs outside the classroom: She interned for House representative Nanci Pelosi, spearheaded a campaign for a media project on war in Syria and spent a summer in Morocco as a Critical Language Scholar sponsored by the State Department.

After graduating from Stanford, Ansari worked for the United Nations (U.N.), advising Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on climate change issues and contributing to the Paris Agreement on climate change, an international pact to reduce countries’ emissions. Ansari went on to help other environmental initiatives and currently works at Mission 2020, an initiative that seeks to curb global warming.

Like fellow honoree Ansari, Gaston majored in international relations and specialized in international security at Stanford. Later, Gaston attended Harvard Law School. She went on to study policy issues in a number of Middle Eastern countries at groups such as the United States Institute of Peace.

She currently works as a project manager for the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, tackling issues like security in Iraq and Afghanistan, World Humanitarian Summit commitments and shifting expectations around the use-of-force for self defense.

At Cambridge, Gaston plans to get a Ph.D. in politics and international studies while examining the ways that external actors collaborate on security with local or mixed-source forces. Specifically, she is interested in whether the risks of such collaboration can be addressed with certain control strategies.

“Whether such mechanisms work has significant implications for local civilians in an increasing number of areas, and for international security strategy as a whole,” Gaston told Stanford News.


Contact Hannah Knowles at hknowles ‘at’

Hannah Knowles is senior staff writer from San Jose who served as Volume 253 Editor-in-Chief. Prior to that, she managed The Daily's news section.

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