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Anthropology student named Trudeau scholar

By Janet Harron

A doctoral student in Memorial's Department of Anthropology is among 15 elite scholars across Canada to receive life-changing scholarships from the Trudeau Foundation.

Nehraz Mahmud is studying gender discrimination in property inheritance in Bangladesh. According to Shariah law guiding distribution of inherited property, women get half the share of men.

"I want to examine the extent of access Muslim women have to ancestral property and the use they put to property they own; the views of Muslim men and women of different generations about women's equal share in property; the perspective on this issue of civil society and the policy makers involved; and local interpretation of Shariah law related to inheritance," said Ms. Mahmud, who is supervised by Dr. Sharon Roseman.

Ms. Mahmud credits Dr. Roseman for helping her to adjust to a foreign academic environment and says she would never have applied for the Trudeau Scholarship without her supervisor's support and encouragement.

Each of the 15 new Trudeau Scholars has been offered up to $180,000 to advance their research into critical issues such as visual culture, democratic transition, gender-based violence and social rights to public utilities.

The scholarships subsidize tuition fees and living expenses and allow the Trudeau scholars to travel for research and scholarly networking and knowledge dissemination.

The Trudeau scholarships are among the most coveted awards of their kind in Canada.

Ms. Mahmud says her ultimate aim has always been to use social research as a means to find answers to complex social problems.

"I want to contribute in policy-making both in my country and internationally. I have been working with the Ministry of Planning in Bangladesh as a researcher. I would like to continue my career in the same direction in the future so that I may help people through my work."

Ms. Mahmud completed undergraduate and graduate level education in anthropology at the University of Rajshai, Bangladesh. In 2006 she attended Brandeis University in Massachusetts under a Fulbright scholarship and received a joint master of arts in anthropology and women's studies. She has worked with the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and with Naripokkho, a non-governmental organization based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, developing communication materials to prevent violence against women.

For Ms. Mahmud, the Trudeau scholarship is the pinnacle of her professional career to date.

"Personally, I am humbled and deeply thankful to get this opportunity to be considered in the same rank as scholars from the best universities around the world. The monetary support is huge, but it is the name that matters most."