Coverdell Fellow Profile: Ramzy Bejjani '21 MLA
Ramzy Bejjani served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Ethiopia before joining CAPLA's Master of Landscape Architecture program.
The University of Arizona is one of only two universities in the country to offer Coverdell Fellowships to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who are enrolled in a graduate landscape architecture program. The Coverdell Program provides tuition assistance and internship opportunities. Coverdell Fellows find a robust Peace Corps community at the University of Arizona and in Tucson, and many are CAPLA alumni.
Tell us where you went! How did that change your life?
I went to the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia to teach English as a foreign language. It changed my life in ways I still have yet to understand. But it also allowed me to come to Tucson and the University of Arizona.
How did the experience lead you to studying landscape architecture at CAPLA?
After sitting on a bus stuck in traffic for hours with someone’s grandma and her chicken on my lap, a lone biker passed our immobile bus. I had the revelation that urban form and design has the power to dictate everyone’s quality of life, and that quality design was perhaps a more effective way to empower people than traditional development practices.
Tell us about your current fellowship.
I’m an intern with Living Streets Alliance, a local Tucson non-profit that advocates for streets to be used a public spaces that connect people to places and to each other. It’s an internship where I’m always learning a new skill, and my responsibilities range from volunteer management to street planter maintenance and from publication graphic design to public bike repair. I work with an amazing team of community organizers who have taught me just as much as I’ve learned in university.
How do you plan to change the world?
By doing my little part to make sure that everyone is empowered to safely walk or bike or rollerblade or scooter or what-have-you to wherever they need to go.