Falak Sufi was born in Pakistan in 1983. She possessed a generous heart, the urge to engage with and change the world, and a brilliantly original, vivacious mind. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with first class honors in Political Science. While young, she began to publish the work that showed her great gifts and talent. Among her interests were women and gender in South Asia, the historiography of this region, and the strength of the humanities. However, no list can capture the range of subjects about which she thought, spoke and wrote. She was a much beloved, deeply admired graduate student in Near Eastern Studies at New York University when she died tragically in Spring 2008. In honor of her memory and with the support of her family, the Kevorkian Center launched the Falak Sufi Scholarship and Memorial Essay Prize in 2010.
The Falak Sufi Scholarship
In fond memory of Falak Sufi, the Falak Sufi Scholarship, inaugurated in 2010, is awarded annually to support students from countries with a majority Muslim population in South Asia who might not otherwise be able to obtain a graduate education in the United States. These students, preferably female, enroll in the two-year master's program in Near Eastern Studies. The scholarship recipients embody the intellectual spirit and promise of Falak Sufi and possess a deep and abiding commitment to the role of women in academia and to the questions that she explored, primarily the study of gender in the countries of the Near East, Middle East, and/or South Asia with a majority Muslim population. The scholarship includes a full stipend, tuition, student health insurance, and registration and services fees for up to two years, provided that academic standards of the Graduate School and the graduate program are met.
2018-2019's Incoming Falak Sufi Fellow
Moneeza Burney matriculated at NYU as a student in the Near Eastern Studies program in Fall of 2018. Moneeza grew up in Lahore, Pakistan and graduated with Honors from the Sheffield Hallam University, UK, with a degree in Business Economics in 2013. After returning to Lahore, she worked as a Program Director at the Lahore Students Union (LSU), a non-profit community center, running a youth volunteer program called the Community Service Initiative (LSU-CSI), which has placed 900+ volunteers at 65+ NGOs over the last 4 years and incubated over 20 social projects by student volunteers through its Youth Social Leadership Program (YSLP). The program received international recognition from organizations and institutes around the world. Moneeza also played a pivotal role as a research associate and scriptwriter for a local comic book company where she worked on the critically acclaimed 'Paasban - the Guardian' series' about violent extremism, as well as public service messages for NGOs working on causes ranging from gender empowerment to mental health. In her free time, she has been writing for DAWN newspaper, Pakistan's leading English daily, since 2013. She hopes to explore her different interests at Kevo with the hope to work on youth development in the region, with focus on IDPs and refugees.
2017-2018's Continuing Falak Sufi Fellow
Ms. Zuha Siddiqui will matriculate at NYU as a student in the Near Eastern Studies/Global Journalism program in Fall 2017. A native of Karachi, Zuha is set to graduate from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in May with a B.S. in Political Science. While at NYU, Zuha plans to examine the politics of class and ethnicity within the context of contested spaces -- for instance, do various political actors, such as politicians and political elites, state officials, members of law enforcement agencies, exist in concurrence, along with the state? Zuha is also interested in the intersection of gender and politics within the Near East and South Asia, with a particular interest in the examination of how women – central as victims but marginal as agents – exercise various forms of agency within the overtly masculine framework of the post-colonial state.
2017-2018's Graduating Falak Sufi Fellow
Shandana Waheed joined the Hagop Kevorkian Center in Fall 2016 from Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan, where she completed her BA in political science in 2016. As an undergraduate, she was interested in the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan—a subject she has studied through case studies of historical minority endowments and research in Punjab archives in Lahore. In her first year, she has explored cultural studies courses on neoliberalism, sexuality, consumption, modernity, nationalism, and memory. She has spent time adapting to and enjoying the pace of life in New York city. She recently presented her work in the MEESAS graduate conference at Columbia University, and is spending this summer 2017 interning at the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University in Germany.
Past Falak Sufi Scholars
- 2017: Sabahat Zakariya
- 2016: Aqsa Khalid
- 2014: Maham Javaid
- 2013: Fatima Malik
- 2012: Mehvash Ansari
- 2011: Wajiha Naqvi
|The 2014-2015 Falak Sufi Scholars and Essay Prize Winners celebrate with members of Falak Sufi's family at the Kevorkian Center on April 2, 2015. From left to Right: Raza Sufi' Azhar Sufi; Aqsa Khaled, '16; Maham Javaid, '15; Anna Reumert, '15; Jeffrey Eamon, '15; and Rashiq Sufi.
The Falak Sufi Memorial Essay Prize
In honor of the memory of Falak Sufi and with the support of her family, The Kevorkian Center awards the annual Falak Sufi Memorial Essay Prize in recognition of outstanding and innovative scholarship by MA students of Near Eastern Studies.
Competition for next year’s award will take place at the beginning of the spring semester 2019. The Hagop Kevorkian Center remains indebted to the family of Falak Sufi for supporting this recognition of outstanding and original M.A. scholarship.