Celeste Holmes

Alwaleed Bin Talal Scholar

I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area, and have lived all over the world: from Hawaii to London to New Delhi. I am retired from a 25 year career with United Airlines, and am also a singer (opera and modern), dancer, political news junkie, and professional Elvis Impersonator. My interests include supporting and working for the promotion of civil rights and the fight against discrimination, and the study of US Foreign Policy in the Middle East. I am a natural extrovert, very people oriented, and love public speaking; but also appreciate quiet time with a good book. I have a long standing passion and fascination for all things from the Middle East, including the study of Islam and its people. Travel has been a huge part of my life and, apart from my parents, has brought me the greatest amount of joy in life

As for my formal education, I received my Bachelors of Art in Art History from the University of California at Davis, and am now merrily engulfed in the wonderful discovery of the study of Muslim-Christian relations and Islamic history. A whole new world has opened up to me, and the passion I feel for this subject matter has changed my direction in life. The Alaweed Scholarship has given this to me. It has enabled me to start a Masters degree in Muslim-Christian relations, contribute to the discipline and work towards promoting greater understanding and mutual respect between Muslims and Christians peoples. The scholarship has meant the world to me, as it has allowed me to be serious about my studies, pursue further knowledge, and prepare for my Ph.D. and second career. Without it, none of this would be possible. It has been a blessing beyond anything words can describe. The Alaweed Scholarship has literally meant a second chance at life, and the fulfillment of my new dreams.