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Willma and Albert Musher Fellowship

In 1997 Albert Musher provided funds to establish a fellowship for studies in international social welfare. Two fellows were appointed. Subsequently, Mr. Musher reallocated those funds to support a broader range of charitable purposes including general support of other Musher Program activities. Accordingly, sufficient funds are no longer available to support this fellowship. The fellowship will be resumed when funding becomes available. Contributions are welcomed.


The Willma and Albert Musher International Fellowship was established at the Columbia University School of Social Work in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Council Secretariat to foster world economic and social objectives relevant to life betterment and world peace. The Fellowship was to be awarded periodically to Columbia University School of Social Work faculty, staff, or graduate students to facilitate research or study pertaining to international social work policy or practice. Recipients of the award were to be selected in consultation with representatives from the Columbia University School of Social Work, the United Nations Economic and Social Council Secretariat, and the Musher Family.

On behalf of the United Nations Economic and Social Council Secretariat on September 15, 1997 Dr. Margaret A. Kelley wrote of Mr. Musher as follows:

"His life-long dedication to promoting good will and the betterment of life for those in need was indeed touching. I am delighted that he has agreed to establish the International Musher Program Fellowship and I should like to assure you of the full collaboration of the United Nations Economic and Social Council Secretariat."

The Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Newsletter (Fall 1997) published the following article regarding the Musher Fellowship.

New Endowment for CUSSW/United Nations Program

A gift of $100,000 from the Willma and Albert Musher Philanthropic Fund has established and endowment held by the Jewish Communal Fund to benefit the Columbia University School of Social Work. The endowment will generate income for the support of an exciting and innovative partnership between the United Nations Economic and Social Council Sectretariat and the CUSSW - Willma and Albert Musher Program. A primary purpose of this collaboration will be to achieve economic and social objectives that promote world peace - a giant step forward in life betterment, the goal of the Musher Program. The funds will be used for program support and an International Musher Program Fellowship, awarded periodically to either faculty, staff, or graduate students. In 1995, Mr. Musher, a great benefactor of the School of Social Work, established both the Willma and Albert Musher Chair in Social Work at CUSSW and the Willma and Albert Musher Program for Life Betterment in honor of his late wife. Professor Edward J. Mullen holds the Musher Chair and also directs the Musher Program at the School.

The Columbia University Record reported the establishment of the Schoolís program with the UN and the Musher Fellowship in the following article published December 5, 1997 (VOL. 23, NO. 11)

School of Social Work Teams Up with the UN for Joint Program

Links Created for Research, Training and Education


Columbia's School of Social Work and the Division for Social Policy and Development of the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs have embarked upon a unique program initiative that will be officially launched in January 1998.

  In an effort to "improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of social policy and development programmes in nations throughout the world," the two institutions aim to develop cooperative linkages in the areas of research, education, program design and professional development.

  In conjunction with this initiative, the Division for Social Policy and Development will be designated as one of only two Educational Training Centers for the School of Social Work.

  In September, 1998, the Division will serve as a field instruction site for School of Social Work students who are doing graduate work that will lead to the M.S.W. degree.

  Joint research programs that involve the School's faculty and doctoral students will address critical worldwide problems concerning social policy and development. In addition, the two organizations will co-sponsor a biennial United Nations Day for up to 500 participants that will examine important social policy, development and international social welfare issues.

  Ronald A. Feldman, dean of the School of Social Work, said: "This program will be one of the most innovative and exciting partnerships in social work education." The collaborative program, he said, "will enable both organizations to significantly strengthen their respective efforts to advance human well-being worldwide and to improve training programs for the professionals who will be called upon to address such critical challenges."

  This initiative will receive financial support from an endowment that was established in July by School of Social Work benefactor Albert Musher. "By addressing the potentially fruitful interrelationships among social work education and the international work of the United Nations," observed Feldman at the time of the $100,000 gift, "Mr. Musher has established a truly innovative precedent."

Selection Committee

Awardees were selected by a four person committee composed of the United Nations Secretary of the Economic and Social Council representing the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the Director of the Musher Program, a designee of the Dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work, and a member of the Musher family.

Fellows Selected

Two International Musher Program Fellowships have been awarded. The first recipient was Samuel Cotton and the second was Billur Gungoren, at the time of their selection both Ph.D. candidates at the Columbia University School of Social Work. For additional information regarding these Fellows select the links below.

Samuel Cotton

   Columbia University Record Article

  Columbia University Press Release

   Columbia University School of Social Work Admissionís Panel Statement

   Bio Sketch

Billur Gungoren