Columbia University

Passport to an Education
"It’s great to find classes so targeted to specific humanitarian assistance."
— Christopher Jenkins
Photo credit: Jill LeVine
By supporting a SIPA fellowship program, a couple devoted to international affairs helps deserving students make a world of difference.

The accomplished violist Christopher Jenkins ’11SIPA has worked extensively with youth musicians in a variety of settings and, as a chamber musician and string quartet member, performed in venues from Carnegie Hall to Cameroon. A few years ago, he realized he wanted to develop new skills for a different kind of stage.

Jenkins knew the School of International and Public Affairs could be the ideal springboard for a career focused on international humanitarian work. But the graduate of Harvard University, the New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music was extremely reluctant to add to his existing student debt. The Ottaway Fellowship provided Jenkins with the financial support he needed to attend SIPA. “It’s great to find classes so targeted to specific humanitarian assistance,” he said. “Everyone here wants to make the world a better place.”

Meet The Donor: David ’72GSAS and Marina ’74GSAS Ottaway

Loyal Columbians who earned their doctorates here, David Ottaway ’72GSAS and Marina Ottaway ’74GSAS are united by their interest in international affairs and deep commitment to creating opportunities for deserving students. David Ottaway, a senior scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, worked for decades as an award-winning journalist at The Washington Post, while Marina Ottaway is the director of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


In 2007, the couple made a $1 million contribution to establish the Ottaway Fellowship Fund, which now awards two-year fellowships to two SIPA students every year. All told, they have given more than $2 million to the University, supporting a variety of programs including scholarships for doctoral students. Said David Ottaway: “We strongly believe that education is the best way to level the playing field for all Americans regardless of color, creed, or ethnicity, by making accessible to them the best schools and universities.”



Published: June 2011