Email This Page
Former UMBC Diver Ian Ralby Wins Prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Baltimore-Former UMBC diver Ian Ralby will enter the M.Phil. Program in International Relations at Cambridge University with funding provided by the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The first UMBC student or graduate to win this prestigious award, Ralby will begin his studies at Cambridge in fall 2007.
Ralby, the valedictorian of UMBC's Class of 2002 graduated from UMBC with a B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics and an M.A. in Intercultural Communication. With the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, the Gates Scholarship ranks among the world’s most selective academic awards. It was created in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which donated $210 million to establish the Gates Cambridge Trust.
While completing his J.D. at the College of William and Mary in 2005, Ralby was part of a legal team that worked throughout that year with the U.S. Department of Justice to provide legal research and support for the Iraqi High Tribunal as it prepared its legal case against Saddam Hussein.
Since earning admission to the Virginia state bar, Ralby has served as an associate in the Norfolk, Va., office of Hunton & Williams, an international law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., London, Beijing and Brussels.
Each year, approximately 100 scholars from countries other than the United Kingdom, including about 40 Americans, receive the award. The award fully funds one-to-four years of graduate study at Cambridge University in any field.
Gates Cambridge recipients are chosen based on “intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others.”
Winners of the award must first be admitted to their chosen program at Cambridge and then demonstrate outstanding qualities through a written application and in interviews with a distinguished panel of British and American academic leaders. A Gates panel interviewed Ralby in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 10.
As a member of UMBC's swimming and diving team, Ralby was named Northeast Conference Most Outstanding Diver in 2000 after winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events.
Ralby’s younger brother, Aaron, was also an outstanding student at UMBC. Graduating as valedictorian of the Class of 2005, Aaron completed an M.Phil. in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University in 2006 and is now a Ph.D. student at Cornell University in Medieval Studies. Both of the Ralby brothers graduated from UMBC younger than the norm, while in their teens.
Ralby plans to use his study at Cambridge to focus on means of establishing the rule of law in post-conflict societies, examining how post-conflict justice processes could be better used to facilitate reconstruction. He intends to continue studying for a doctorate in International Relations. Ultimately, Ralby plans to devote his career toward assisting failed states as they attempt to recover from collapse.