Ithaca College Student Wins Fulbright Grant

Ithaca, NY--Ibrahim Shakoor, a senior studying organizational communication, learning, and design in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, has been awarded a grant from the Fulbright Student Program. He will spend the 2001-2002 academic year in Morocco exploring communication principles in traditional Sufi communities and comparing them to secular models. Ithaca College has had one student Fulbright winner for the last four consecutive years.

"Mr. Shakoor's impressive accomplishments and leadership skills have made possible his selection for the Fulbright program," says Alan Schechter, chairman of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. "He will be joining the ranks of some 225,000 distinguished scholars and professionals worldwide who are leaders in the educational, political, economic, social, and cultural lives of their countries."

Sufism, a mystical practice assimilated by Islam, played an important role in the cultural and religious life of Morocco as early as the seventh century A.D. However, Western influences eventually overshadowed the Sufi system.

"My research approaches Morocco as a dynamic system whose economic, political, and educational development depends on communication," Shakoor says. "I am looking to determine whether Sufism's historical influence on these institutions remains in the communication structures of modern Moroccan organizations."

Before enrolling at Ithaca College, Shakoor had already traveled abroad. In 1996, at age 17, he served as a teaching assistant in English in Sarajevo. Two and a half years later he spent spring semester of his sophomore year in Morocco, studying Arabic, improving his French, and working on an independent study project on Sufism.

"I chose Morocco because I was interested in learning about the experience of Muslims in a country where they were a majority and because French and Arabic have always interested me," he says. "Going there will probably change my outlook on future work and study, but right now I plan on continuing my organizational communication studies in some form."

He has plans for graduate study, possibly a master's in business administration with a focus on strategic management and consulting. He will then look for a doctoral program that combines his interests in language, Middle Eastern studies, and organizational development.

"In receiving the Fulbright, I am extremely grateful for my family's support," he says. "I am also grateful for the academic grounding the organizational communications, learning, and design department gave, and for the encouragement and advice of the faculty and staff at the College."

The Fulbright program was established at the end of World War II to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. In addition to the student program, Fulbright grants are awarded to faculty and professionals who wish to teach and do research abroad.