Horizon Scholarship winner hopes to help minority voices be heard through art

NOTE: This is one in a series of articles on Brock’s 2021-22 Horizon Graduate Student Scholarship recipients. Read other stories in the series on The Brock News.

It has long been Kosar Dakhilalian’s dream to help promote equity on an international stage.

With that goal in mind, she arrived in Canada from Iran in the fall to begin her time as a Brock University Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts master’s student.

Dakhilalian was one of 20 recipients of the University’s 2021-22 Horizon Graduate Student Scholarship, which supports high-achieving graduate students from Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) and other under-represented groups. Recipients are selected from research-based programs to receive a one-time award of $5,000.

Dakhilalian became driven to counteract discrimination and racism globally during her time volunteering for Messengers of Peace in Iran, an international foundation and influential cultural peace group. She plans to use her research to help further this mission.

“With the challenges and barriers I’ve faced through my journey, I have tried my best to stay positive, active and motivated to have a national and international impact through art and literature,” she says. “The role of antiwar activists is important because history has shown there is always a chance for conflict to spark, as we have witnessed between Russia and Ukraine.”

Dakhilalian’s time volunteering with various organizations, including the University of Isfahan in Iran, has shown her the prominent struggle that exists with religious, gender-based and geographic racism.

“In my society, I was an activist to fight racism and promote equity for years, because I hold dearly to this idea that equity is every human being’s right,” she says. “I lectured diverse student populations about the possibility of world peace and the ways of peace-making in the current era on different scales.”

During her undergraduate studies, Dakhilalian worked for an English magazine and realized through theatre, literature and the arts, she could make a difference by giving suppressed minorities a voice.

“The work in the magazine was incredibly rewarding because, in a society full of suppression and censorship, I could help many voices be heard,” she says.

The Horizon Scholarship has allowed Dakhilalian to take that work to the next level by studying literature and the arts, and conducting related research, at Brock.

“I am determined to work hard to improve my knowledge, skills and experiences and to help grow the communities around me, as I have always done,” she says.

Dakhilalian’s next steps include continuing her research by pursuing a PhD, with the hopes of becoming a post-secondary professor.

Launched by Brock in the 2020-21 academic year, the Horizon Scholarship fund will provide $1 million to incoming students over 10 years. The scholarship is intended to help Brock attract top researchers and students from various fields while building a diverse and inclusive university community.

The scholarship’s recipients come from different inspiring backgrounds, overcoming a variety of challenges in order to pursue their passion for their graduate studies work.

Read more stories in: Graduate Students, Graduate Studies, Humanities, News
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