Elom Tettey-Tamaklo '19 Receives Clementine Cope Fellowship
The political science major is studying how faith and politics interact at Harvard Divinity School, with the support of Haverford’s fund for graduate study.
Despite graduating three years ago, the support that Elom Tettey-Tamaklo ‘19 is receiving from Haverford is only just beginning. The political science major with a concentration in Africana studies is this year’s recipient of the Clementine Cope Fellowship, a 123-year old fund established to help support graduate study for Haverford alumni. Only students who are preparing to enroll in the upcoming fall are eligible for the annual award.
Beginning this August, Tettey-Tamaklo will study at Harvard Divinity School, pursuing a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) in Religion, Ethics, and Politics.
“The aim of the REP programs is the exploration of how religious beliefs, practices, and codes shape ethical and political questions in everyday life,” he said.
In particular, he will be studying how the interpretation of religious texts have shaped policies around land ownership to justify and portray the occupation of Palestine.
Tettey-Tamaklo has had an interest in activist work, ever since his first religion class at Haverford. He was gripped by the theories of Martin Luther King Jr., Reinhold Niebhur, and other theologians who theorized about faith-informed justice in a world fraught with injustices as he sat in Associate Professor of Religion Molly Farneth’s “Religion and Social Ethics” class.
“Moved by their ideas about creating a beloved community—all rooted in a deep understanding of faith, I began to explore questions of faith and justice,” he said.
That same concept of community never left Tettey-Tamaklo, as he pioneered Firm Foundation, one of the largest Christian faith communities for Black students at Haverford, and visited Palestine in summer 2019 to work at the Ramallah Friends School. He later served with the Eyewitness Palestine Delegation in summer 2020, though he was unable to visit in-person due to the pandemic. He seeks to maintain that communal mindset into graduate school and beyond.
“Guided by the values of trust, concern, and respect for all God’s creation,” he said,” my praxis strives to honor the Imago Dei in all through understanding of text and the development of policy that protects, honors, and advances human dignity in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Tettey-Tamaklo was informed of the fellowship opportunity by former classmate and friend Feven Gezahegn ’19, who received the scholarship in 2020. Inspired by the generosity of the Fords who had given him the opportunity, he chose to apply to fund his Harvard pursuits.
Recounting how it felt to learn of his fellowship, Tettey-Tamaklo said, “With labored breathing, I carefully opened the email, just searching for some indication of a congratulatory message. Immediately I saw Jason [Chan]’s words, ‘You have been selected as the recipient of the Clementine Cope Fellowship.’ I let out a scream of joy, much to the chagrin and worry of my roommates. I immediately shared the news with my family and friends!”
“What stood out in Elom's application was the cohesiveness of his candidacy, with a clear connection between his past experiences, his proposed graduate program, and his future plans,” said Jason Chan, fellowship and career advisor and assistant director of the Center for Career and Professional Advising (CCPA). “His academic and extracurricular experiences at Haverford, combined with his extensive portfolio of leadership and professional activities, provided the selection committee with a rich and compelling portrait of Elom as a scholar-activist within the realm of religion, politics, and global affairs.”
While attending Harvard Divinity School, Tettey-Tamaklo is applying to a dual-degree program at Tufts University’s Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, to further connect his lifelong interests of religion and government. Additionally, he will be continuing work as convenor for the Black Christians for Palestine Network, which works under the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. He hopes that his work will be able to advance religious literacy and inform public policy in creating more just communities for not only Palestinians, but all oppressed peoples.
In addition to Tettey-Tamaklo, four other students won an honorable mention Cope Prize to support their graduate work: Seabrook Jeffcoat ‘22, Sara Ozawa ‘18, Roy Simamora ‘22, and Zakiyyah Winston ‘22.
Read more about Fords who have won fellowships, scholarships, or grants.