James Pantefedwyn Foundation

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Marged Elen Wiliam

I would like to express my gratitude to the Foundation for investing in my MPhil studies at Girton College, Cambridge University. Without this funding, I would not have been able to take the opportunity to study at the Centre of South Asian Studies with some of the leading academics in the field.

During my time studying for my first degree in International Politics at King's College, London, I followed modules on post-colonial theory, religion and politics, and comparative political theory. The lecturer for these modules was my dissertation tutor; Dr Humeira Iqtidar sparked my interest in South Asian history, politics and philosophy, and encouraged me to apply for a place on the Modern South Asian Studies course at Cambridge University.

The course proved my resilience to the full, and I had to balance weekly presentations, multidisciplinary seminars, learning a whole new language, and research work for the dissertation. The core module provided an opportunity to explore a wide range of concepts, themes and debates within Modern South Asian Studies. One of my favourite elements of the course was the language module - a unique opportunity to learn spoken Hindi and write Devanagri script. The dissertation was an opportunity to refine my research and writing skills, and I researched secularism in post-colonial India looking through the lens of education policy.

Being the only student from the UK, I had the opportunity to develop friendships with people from all over the world - an invaluable experience which I will treasure forever.

In recent months, Y Lolfa published Aniq, my first novel for young people. The indirect effect of the course was to deepen my cultural and religious understanding of South Asia, which is a prominent element of the novel. I have also recently been appointed Policy and External Affairs Officer at the General Medical Council (GMC) in Cardiff, a position I would not have been able to undertake had it not been for the advanced research skills developed during this course.

I would like to reiterate my thanks to the Foundation for enabling me to study this fascinating course in one of the world's leading South Asian Studies departments.