Brandeis International Business School

Peace Scholarship turns dreams into reality

Brandeis International Business School students from South Sudan, Ukraine reflect on scholarships that changed their life

Peace Scholars Obaidullah Didar, MA’25, Ann Tukari, MSBA’25, Yuliia Stelmakh, MSBA’25 and Kamila Haieva, MBA’25.

Peace Scholars Obaidullah Didar, MA’25, Ann Tukari, MSBA’25, Yuliia Stelmakh, MSBA’25 and Kamila Haieva, MBA’25.

Ann Tukari, MSBA’25 wants to give back.

As an undergraduate, she worked with the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger and raised money to support Hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas.

“These experiences not only provided me with valuable insights but also kindled my passion for human rights and hunger alleviation initiatives,” said Tukari. “My commitment to making a positive impact remains unwavering.”

Tukari’s interest in community development and humanitarian work stems from the challenges she faced growing up amid civil war in South Sudan.

Now studying at Brandeis International Business School thanks to the Peace Scholarship, Tukari hopes to continue helping others as she pursues a Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) degree.

Tukari is one of five Peace Scholars at the International Business School. Other first-year students include Yuliia Stelmakh, MSBA’25 and Kamila Haieva, MBA’25 of Ukraine and Obaidullah Didar, MA’25 of Afghanistan. Second-year student Sofiia Tarasiuk, MBA’24 of Ukraine arrived at Brandeis in 2022.

The International Business School launched the Peace Scholarship Fund just weeks after the Ukraine war began. The donor-funded scholarship offers full tuition to students forced to leave their country because of violent conflict or persecution.

After completing her bachelor’s degree in Armenia and returning to South Sudan, Tukari wanted to broaden her horizons further with a global perspective.

As a renowned research university with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Brandeis was a top choice.

“I am particularly captivated by the university's welcoming environment, which fosters a sense of belonging for individuals from all corners of the world,” said Tukari.

‘A huge impact on my life’

Yuliia Stelmakh, MSBA’25 woke up on the morning of Feb. 24, 2022 to explosions throughout her home city of Kyiv.

Later that day, a rocket fragment nearly crashed into her home.

“I can’t tell you how scary it was,” said Stelmakh.

After earning a degree in international economic relations in Kyiv, Stelmakh dreamed of earning her master’s abroad. But once her family fled to Western Ukraine just 48 hours after the start of the war, such plans seemed like “trifles,” as she put it.

“When we returned to Kyiv in May, it was a completely different city than what I remembered before the war,” said Stelmakh. “From that time, we began to live in new realities amid the sirens of missile attacks and power outages.”

The Peace Scholarship gave Stelmakh a second chance to follow her dream. Like Tukari, she also had her eye on Brandeis because of its academic reputation.

“The diverse and inclusive campus community at the International Business School also appealed to me,” said Stelmakh. “I believe that studying in such a multicultural and intellectually stimulating environment will provide me with a well-rounded education and a broader perspective.”

For Stelmakh and Tukari, the Peace Scholarship was the critical element that enabled creative, motivated students to overcome difficult circumstances.

“The Peace Scholarship has had a huge impact on my life,” said Tukari “It has given me a strong sense of belonging and has truly transformed my dreams into reality. I am beyond grateful for Brandeis International Business School and all the donors for offering me such a huge opportunity and to be part of such a wonderful community.”