Brown University senior, recent alumnus earn Marshall Scholarships

A senior concentrating in archaeology and a Class of 2016 graduate studying
puppetry in Indonesia are among the 2017 recipients of the prestigious
academic awards, which allow for post-graduate study in the United Kingdom.

*PROVIDENCE, R.I.* [Brown University] — Two members of the Brown University
community — senior David Elitzer and Class of 2016 graduate Evan Silver —
are recipients of the 2017 Marshall Scholarship
. The winners will be formally
announced in early December by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission.
Marshall Scholarships provide all expenses for two years of graduate study
at any university in the United Kingdom.

“Both David and Evan represent what Brown’s unique vision of education as
self-directed exploration can cultivate,” said Linda Dunleavy, the
University’s associate dean of the college for fellowships. “David’s work
blends cultural heritage preservation and military policy, while Evan’s
creative projects embrace multi-modality and global reach. Both have
infused their own particular areas of study and interest with the charge of
our contemporary moment. I’m thrilled that they are a part of this newest
cohort of Marshall scholars.”

Elitzer, an archaeology and the ancient world concentrator, came to Brown
knowing he wanted to study ancient Mesopotamia. His interests in
archaeology and Middle Eastern politics merged when the Islamic State
started destroying Mesopotamian archaeological sites soon after his
freshman year, and he has since devoted much of his study to researching
both the cultural and political implications of this destruction.

“I am interested in the preservation of cultural heritage, but I am even
more interested in how cultural heritage directly affects people’s lives,”
Elitzer said.

In addition to archaeological fieldwork around the world, Elitzer has
worked over the past year with Cultural Heritage Initiatives
, contributing to weekly reports on
the damage and destruction of sites in Syria and Iraq. This past summer,
Elitzer interned for Laurie Rush, a civilian who works for the U.S. Army,
maintaining archaeological sites at Fort Drum in upstate New York and
serving as point person for the Pentagon and NATO regarding cultural
property protection.

Though the Marshall Scholars’ placements are not yet confirmed, Elitzer
aims to earn two master’s degrees: one in international public policy at
University College London in his first year, and the second in
archaeological heritage and museums at the University of Cambridge in year
two. Armed with these degrees, Elitzer hopes to aid global efforts to
support local and national governments in Iraq and Syria in the
preservation of their cultural heritage, much of which has been leveraged
by competing factions for political purposes.

“Because I didn’t study international relations as an undergrad, the public
policy master’s will be invaluable and allow me to do meaningful policy
work,” Elitzer said. “The archaeological heritage master’s will be a great
opportunity to think about where I stand on ethical and moral issues.
Taking the two together will be put me in a much better place to work on
creating impactful cultural heritage policy.”

Silver — who currently lives in Bali, Indonesia, on a Luce Scholarship
studying traditional
masked dance, shadow puppetry and gamelan music — concentrated in literary
arts at Brown. He was actively involved in theater, serving as a director,
board member and actor at Production Workshop, Brown’s student-run theater
group. He was also a member of Harmonic Motion, a Brown and RISD a cappella
group and took part in a range of creative cross-disciplinary
collaborations in theatre, film, music and the visual arts.
Evan Silver, a 2017 Marshall Scholar.

“The Marshall is an unmissable opportunity to support my graduate education
and continued development as an artist,” Silver said. “I get to spend two
years in the U.K. doing what I love — making art.”

In one instance at Brown, Silver drew on a course he took through the Open
Curriculum called “Cross-Cultural Approaches to Death and Dying” to conduct
research on various cultures’ approaches to the afterlife and the
apocalypse, which then inspired the writing and directing of his original
play, “11 Apocalypses.”

He plans to pursue his master’s degree in advanced theatre practice at the
Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. While his post-Marshall
plans are not fully formed, Silver said he will likely continue to study
non-Western performance traditions, perhaps in India, or start a theater
company that adapts various mythologies and folkloric traditions for
contemporary performance.

“The Marshall drew me in as a way to spend time in one of the great
creative capitals of the world and tap into networks comprised of
individuals that I hope will challenge and inspire me,” Silver said, “from
the artists I will collaborate with to the Marshall Scholars at the
forefront of fields I know little to nothing about. I have the opportunity
to focus on furthering my development as an artist with no financial
burden. That’s a remarkable thing.”

Widely considered one of the most prestigious scholarships for United
States citizens, the highly competitive Marshall Scholars program was
founded in 1953 with the goal of creating future American leaders who would
continue to strengthen the relationship between the people of the United
States and Britain. To date, 48 Brown students have earned Marshall
Scholarships, the seventh highest number in the country.