Eisenhower Fellowships today announced its fourth class of Eisenhower Global Scholars, four outstanding recent American university graduates it will send abroad for a year of postgraduate study at the University of Oxford and IE University in Madrid leading to a master’s degree and immersion in the influential EF global network of Fellows.
This fall these four, highly accomplished graduates of prestigious American universities will begin an all-expenses-paid year of intense academic study and cultural immersion at Oxford and IE University pursuing master’s degrees in public service and good governance.
Now in its fourth year, the unique Eisenhower Global Scholars Program harnesses the power and prestige of EF’s diverse, worldwide Fellows’ network of more than 1,500 dynamic doers to inspire, empower and encompass the Scholars as it extends the legacy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to a new generation of young Americans.
The Chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, welcomed the new Global Scholars.
“We are delighted to provide these four exceptional young Americans with this wonderful opportunity to expand their horizons while exposing them to the world beyond our shores and immersing them in our global network of leaders,” Gates said.
Named to the 2024 class of Global Scholars attending the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford are:
Olakunle Atanda, 30, a World Bank Program Officer and Acting Team Lead overseeing the Small States Program that supports nations whose fragile economies are particularly vulnerable to external shocks such as climate change. In prior roles at the Bank, he provided strategic advice on alleviating poverty and analysis of initiatives to close gender gaps in funding. He has worked as a policy advisor on sustainable development at the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations and as a research assistant in the White House Office of Management and Administration. Atanda graduated from City College of New York CUNY with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2014 and from Columbia University with a master’s degree in human rights and U.S. foreign policy in 2016. Born in Brooklyn to West African immigrants, he spent parts of his childhood in Lagos, Nigeria, where he witnessed pockets of wealth amid searing poverty and government corruption, experiences that seeded his passion for public service. At Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, he wants to create an online library of resources to promote good governance, with an emphasis on how Sub-Saharan African economies can regenerate the institutions of government and academia devastated by years of instability and military coups.
Grace Fox, 21, graduated from Columbia University in 2023 with a double major in psychology and ethnicity and race studies. A Native American from the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, she was a congressional intern with the environmentally conscious Udall Foundation, a community organizer with the New York Civil Liberties Union and worked in the Edmond (Okla.) Public Schools Indian Education Program preparing low-income Native American students for the SAT, ACT and college applications. At the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, she will pursue a master’s degree in public policy and participate at the Government Outcomes Lab, which investigates how governments can partner with the private sector and social-service agencies to improve living conditions. Fox wants to provide high-achieving, low-income indigenous students with free college-advisory services, professional development training and mental health support through a non-profit organization she plans to create.
Riley Owen, 24, is a 2023 graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in public and international affairs, helped lead the Latter-Day Saints Student Association and oversaw the men’s rugby team as its president. At the university’s Center for International Security Studies, he designed and executed crisis and grand-strategy simulations based on Arctic and South China Sea scenarios. For two years, beginning in 2017, he was a missionary in Denmark, coordinating the work of 120 volunteers in communities throughout the country. In 2020 he worked as an economic policy analyst in the White House. For his senior thesis, “The End of Arctic Exceptionalism: Swedish- Finnish NATO Expansion and the Emerging Arctic Security Dilemma,” he interviewed foreign affairs and defense ministry officials in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Amid the increasing militarization of the Arctic region, at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government he looks forward to the opportunity to refine his understanding of policy issues in preparation for an eventual career in public service. At Oxford he will work on a proposal to bring security issues before the Arctic Council, the eight-country intergovernmental forum that includes the Nordic countries, Canada, the United States and Russia.
Named to the 2024 class of Global Scholars attending the School of Public Policy at IE University in Madrid is:
Rishma Vora, 21, is a 2023 graduate of Georgetown University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in foreign service. As an undergraduate she founded Guzaarish (Urdu for hope, wish or desire), a Bollywood-fusion dance team that has excelled in national competitions and performed at Vice President Kamala Harris’ Diwali party in 2022. In a curriculum that included studies in theology, philosophy and political theory, she was most passionate about courses on human rights, migration and humanitarian crises. She has interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and earned a fellowship with the Geneva Centre on Security Policy. On her Eisenhower Global Scholarship at IE University in Madrid, she’ll study for a master’s degree in international relations and explore the lesser-known flipside of forced migration. Some issues, such as climate change, pose an imminent threat to families and forces them to flee.
In addition to their year of postgraduate study, the Global Scholars will interact with EF’s worldwide network of leaders from government, business, civil society, education, science, health care, the arts and journalism. At the end of their studies, they will be offered an optional three-month professional internship in their field.
Now in its 70th year and named for America’s 34th president, Eisenhower Fellowships brings together innovative leaders from all fields from around the globe to tackle big challenges to better the world around them. Since its founding in 1953, more than 2,500 mid-career leaders from 115 countries have benefited from the unique, customized experience of an Eisenhower Fellowship.