Friday, June 14, 2024

Malala Yousafzai Announces Scholarship for Palestinian Students at Oxford Pakistan Programme Fundraiser

The youngest Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, co-founder of Malala Fund, announced a new scholarship initiative in support of Palestinian students at the University of Oxford during her keynote address at the Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP) Fundraiser Dinner.

Part of the Refugee Academic Futures Programme at Oxford, Malala Yousafzai highlighted how the Graduate Scholarship for Palestinian Students aims to break down the financial barriers that prevent Palestinian students from accessing Oxford’s esteemed educational opportunities.

In her address, she highlighted the devastating impact of the recent conflict in Gaza on educational opportunities. “More than 80% of Gaza’s schools and all universities have been damaged or destroyed,” she stated.

She emphasized that this scholarship is one of many important signals that we can provide to demonstrate solidarity with Palestinian young people,It will require a lasting ceasefire, and then years of investment in learning opportunities, to rebuild Gaza’s education system.  But in the interim, we must all do everything we can to lend our support to as many students as possible by sharing their stories, echoing their calls to action and funding them directly.”

“This initiative is about centering and supporting young Palestinians whose voices will continue to resonate across the globe,” Yousafzai emphasized. “Together, we’re not just funding a scholarship; we are sending an important signal of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

The first recipient of this scholarship will begin their studies at Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford, in October 2024. As part of the vibrant Oxford Pakistan Programme community, this scholar will embody resilience and change, drawing from a network of support and solidarity from their diverse peers, inspiring a brighter future for many more to come. 

In addition to the Malala Fund scholarship, Oxford University will also enhance its support through a dedicated access program. This program will guide Palestinian students through the application process for universities in the UK and the US.

Malala Yousafzai, in her speech, also highlighted Malala Fund’s ongoing commitment to Palestine, building on the more than $300,000 they have already committed, along with additional support for Palestinian Led organisations and humanitarian efforts. Indeed, while the Malala Fund is focused on advocacy for girl’s access and completion of education through activist partners, they also ensure the preservation of resources to fund emergency and relief efforts when the most acute crises disrupt students’ ability to learn.

“This is such a difficult time…It is heartbreaking and terrifying...When I think about what Palestinians are going through, I cannot even imagine the atrocities and pain…I feel humanizing people is important. Oftentimes when we look at conflicts, wars and oppression, it always begins with dehumanising another group. I want people in Palestine not to be dehumanized. Yousafzai said in a recent interview with British Vogue. “They need a ceasefire, they need humanitarian aid, they need peace.”

A distinguished alumna of Lady Margaret Hall, Malala Yousafzai has supported the OPP initiative since its inception in line with her commitment to ensure all girls receive a full, quality education. In her address, she also reflected on her role in establishing two scholarships that assist Pakistani female students in pursuing their academic goals at Oxford University – a step that promotes leadership and academic distinction.

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