Dubai – MENA Herald: The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), one of the largest privately funded philanthropic education initiatives in the world, has today announced its first cohort of Al Ghurair STEM Scholars. The scholarship program aims to build the next generation of Arab leaders by supporting high-achieving but underserved youth to pursue their undergraduate and graduate studies in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at leading universities in the region.
The selection of the scholars involved a highly competitive online application process in which students were expected to write essays to showcase their determination to succeed and their commitment to giving back to the region, as well as providing evidence of their academic performance and financial need. After screening a total of 14,500 applications, the Foundation conducted interviews with a shortlist of candidates before selecting the first cohort of Al Ghurair STEM Scholars. In total, 170 students from the UAE and across the region were awarded scholarships.
Starting from fall 2016, the students will be attending one of the Foundation’s four partner universities – American University in Cairo (AUC), American University of Sharjah (AUS), American University of Beirut (AUB), and Khalifa University. They will be pursuing high quality degrees in a range of programs that are in demand in the region, including Engineering, Health Sciences, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and Math.
The Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, commented on the story: “We are pleased to welcome our first class of students into the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program and believe this is the first step in making quality education accessible to the Arab world. The mandate of the Foundation is to provide high-achieving, underserved Emirati and Arab youth with the opportunity to study at a top university and we hope that this is just the beginning of a long road to success for all our students.”
The scholarship will offer either full or partial support towards tuition and other university expenses, depending on the student’s financial need. In addition, eligible students will receive support towards their housing, health insurance, and a monthly allowance to cover transportation, books, and meals. However, the Program will not only offer financial support. The Foundation will work with its university partners to provide academic advising and career counseling, whilst giving the students opportunities to access community service and internships in their career fields and to become part of the network of Al Ghurair scholars studying in the region, and beyond in future years.
Maysa Jalbout, CEO of the Foundation, said: “This has been an incredibly exciting time for us. The application process has revealed that the youth of today’s Arab world have a hunger for knowledge that is inspiring. They are also extremely resilient, overcoming a range of challenges that stand in the way of their future. We are proud of the candidates we’ve selected to be the first cohort of Al Ghurair STEM Scholars and truly believe they are now on the path to becoming the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders in the Arab world.”
Mohammed Said Al Ghabra, one of the students selected for the first round of scholarships, commented: “I am beyond grateful to the Foundation for this scholarship and for giving me the tools to get my life back on track. Fifteen thousand scholars are going to revolutionize the Arab region, developing all our sectors, and making our region a global leader again”
The next round of applications for the 2017/18 Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program for the will begin later in the fall.
Abdulla Al Ghurair has invested 1.1 billion USD (AED 4.2 Billion) into the Foundation and has pledged to reach 15,000 promising Arab youth pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education over the next ten years. The Foundation is focused on providing access to high quality education for high-achieving, underserved Arab youth who excel in these fields and are committed to giving back to their community and the Arab world.