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Chas Salmen '07
Charles "Chas" Salmen
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Charles "Chas" Salmen of Glenwood Springs, Colo., a Duke University senior who organized an Arab-Jewish student coalition, won academic and photography prizes and served as captain of Duke teams, is among the 32 recipients selected for prestigious Rhodes Scholarships. Salmen was chosen from among 896 applicants at 340 colleges and universities throughout the country.
Rhodes Scholarships, created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, provide two or three years of study at Oxford University in England. Recipients are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.
Salmen was captain of the Duke indoor and outdoor track teams and the cross country team. An English major, his senior thesis on Walt Whitman and D.H. Lawrence won a prize as most outstanding and original senior thesis. He also has taken prize-winning photography.
While at Duke, he has conducted research in the department of urology and has been co-author of two research papers published in the Journal of Urology.
A Lebanese-Jewish American, Salmen also organized this fall an Arab-Jewish Student Coalition, called Peace or Pieces, to promote peace in the Middle East. The coalition, which includes a number of Jewish, Arab and Muslim student groups on campus, has facilitated cross-cultural conversations and is now raising money for Rotary International projects in Lebanon and Israel.
Salmen has been a volunteer for four years in Durham's Big Brother Big Sisters program. He also organized and directed an effort by the cross country team that provided first-aid kits to Hurricane Katrina victims.
"I am absolutely delighted that Chas has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar," said Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead. "He is a person of extraordinarily varied gifts and accomplishments - -- captain of the track and cross country teams, organizer of an Arab-Jewish student coalition on campus, a scholar who is equally comfortable with the hard sciences and the writings of Walt Whitman and D.H. Lawrence. Duke is proud of Chas's achievements and we wish him well in his studies at Oxford."
Salmen said he plans to pursue a master's of science degree in medical anthropology at Oxford. He hopes one day to become a doctor and devote his energies to addressing international health issues.
"My experiences in the Middle East (he studied at the American University in Cairo in 2004) opened my eyes to the fact that so many people around the world do not have what is so available to us here," he said in an interview Sunday. "I'm concerned about the health inequalities that now exist."
He added, "I'm interested not only in the biomedical explanations of disease, but in how various cultures deal with disease and provide care."
Salmen said his initial reaction was surprise when he learned that he would be a Rhodes Scholar. "The other applicants were amazing -- - articulate and inspiring. I was pretty surprised when they called my name, and very honored."
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