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Malala Yousafzai Announces Oxford Scholarships for Palestinian Students

Malala Yousafzai

OXFORD/LONDON: The youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, recently announced a groundbreaking scholarship initiative designed to support Palestinian students at the University of Oxford. She made this announcement during her keynote address at the Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP) fundraiser dinner.

This initiative is part of the Refugee Academic Futures Programme at Oxford and includes the Graduate Scholarship for Palestinian Students, which Malala emphasized is crucial in overcoming the financial barriers that often prevent Palestinian students from accessing Oxford’s prestigious educational opportunities.

In her speech, Malala highlighted the devastating impact of the ongoing conflict in Gaza on education. She stated, “More than 80% of Gaza’s schools and all universities have been damaged or destroyed.” She pointed out that the scholarship is a critical step in showing solidarity with young Palestinians, who have been severely affected by the conflict.

Malala further elaborated, “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.”

She stressed the importance of the initiative, saying, “This scholarship is about centring and supporting young Palestinians whose voices will continue to resonate across the globe. 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 Oxford Pakistan Programme community, this scholar will embody resilience and change, benefiting from a network of support and solidarity among their diverse peers.

Additionally, Oxford University plans to bolster its support for Palestinian students through a dedicated access program. This program will guide Palestinian students through the application processes for universities in the UK and the US, ensuring they have the necessary support to pursue their academic ambitions.

In her address, Malala also mentioned the $300,000 in emergency funding that the Malala Fund has committed to Palestinian-led organizations and humanitarian efforts.

The Malala Fund, while primarily focused on advocating for girls’ access to education through activist partners, also allocates resources to emergency and relief efforts when crises severely disrupt educational opportunities.

Malala, an alumna of Lady Margaret Hall, has been a strong supporter of the OPP initiative since its inception, in line with her commitment to ensuring that all girls receive a quality education.

She reflected on her role in establishing two scholarships that help Pakistani female students pursue their academic goals at Oxford University, promoting leadership and academic excellence.

Through this new scholarship initiative, Malala continues to champion education and provide critical support to students in conflict-affected regions, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to educational equity and solidarity.

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