The Qalaa Holdings Scholarship Foundation (QHSF) (CCAP) , Egypt’s largest private-sector funded scholarship program, announced the recipients of its twelfth annual round of scholarships, bringing the total number of scholarships awarded thus far to 184. The 2018-2019 scholars were announced at a ceremony attended by H.E. Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity, H.E. Hala El Saeed, Minister of Planning, H.E Khaled Badawy, Minister of Public Enterprises and leaders at the forefront of business, NGOs, and diplomacy in Egypt. Scholarship recipients will pursue master’s degrees at leading universities in the US, UK, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Spain.
“The task of helping develop Egypt’s youth is a collective responsibility that is of particular importance at this stage in our nation’s history. We are honored to have been able to play a role not just by investing in the postgraduate education of Egypt’s brightest young men and women for the past 12 years, but by also serving as an example of how a private sector entity can help lead positive change,” said Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder, Ahmed Heikal.
“It makes us immensely proud to see many graduates return to Egypt having sharpened their critical thinking skills and gained value-added professional qualifications and international connections that have allowed them to become entrepreneurs, pursue positions at the forefront of business, science, and cultural sectors, and propose innovative solutions to challenges facing Egypt today,” added Heikal.
Established in 2007 by Qalaa Holdings’ founders Ahmed Heikal and Hisham El-Khazindar, QHSF provides Egyptian students with opportunities to further their education abroad out of a belief that education is the key to unlocking a more prosperous future for Egypt. Alumni of the program are required to return to Egypt to work upon completion of their degrees, and many have made valuable contributions to a variety of areas from renewable energy and architecture to education and archaeology.
“For twelve consecutive years we have been offering scholarships due to the sustainable funding that we have put in place for QHSF. Since the very beginning the Foundation has been endowed to ensure that it can continue supporting Egyptian students regardless of economic shifts and challenges,” said Qalaa Holdings Co-Founder and Managing Director, Hisham El-Khazindar.
“We understand that introducing a diversity of perspectives is crucial to disrupting standard operating procedures and creating conditions for the development of new strategies and approaches. That is why we make a conscious effort to recruit scholars from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds,” he added.
Commenting on the Foundation’s long-term impact, QHSF Chairman of the Board, Dr. Nabil Elaraby said, “I am incredibly pleased with what the Foundation has accomplished this year and in all of its years of operation sending over 184 students to 60 top universities to study in 23 disciplines. We believe that providing access to quality education to Egyptian youth is crucial to creating a bright future for the country. Time and time again we have seen the truth of this notion as our alumni have returned to make a positive difference in their communities and disciplines. Every time we add to our list of scholarships and recipients, we grow our impact on Egypt as a whole.”
To date, the Foundation has awarded 184 scholarships to students from 14 governorates across the country, and over the years the number and variety of scholarships offered through the Foundation have expanded. In addition to its core QHSF scholarships, for the second year in a row the Foundation will award one student a scholarship funded by Qalaa subsidiary ERC. Previously, the Foundation has awarded the May and Ahmed Heikal New York University (NYU) Scholarship to law and film students as well as a scholarship funded by subsidiary TAQA Arabia for students pursuing graduate-level studies in the renewable energy sector.
In addition to providing scholarships for postgraduate studies abroad, ERC has also developed a program called Mostakbaly aimed at improving the quality of education available in Egypt. Through this program, ERC offers annual grants for members of their surrounding communities to pursue undergraduate degrees at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, Ain Shams University, Zewail University, Nile University and the American University in Cairo (AUC). Thus far they have awarded a total of 28 student scholarships as well as 60 annual scholarships for primary and kindergarten teachers to complete AUC’s Teaching Early Learners program.
“We are incredibly pleased that we have been able to offer another group of students the opportunity to further their education in a diverse array of fields and broaden their perspectives through exposure to new approaches and ways of thinking,” Over the course of QHSF’s operations, we have awarded scholarships to students from 14 governorates across Egypt. I am also proud that we have offered opportunities to an equal number of men and women, helping to close Egypt’s gender gap in the process,” Commented Ghada Hammouda, Chief Marketing & Sustainability Officer of Qalaa Holdings.
Qalaa Holdings tackles the issue of education from all angles with a holistic view that includes providing graduate scholarships through QHSF as well as undergraduate scholarships and training for students and teachers, refurbishing infrastructure at public schools in the community, and providing technical and vocational training through the various initiatives that subsidiaries like ERC are undertaking impacting over 20,000 Egyptian youth to date through various initiatives. Since its founding, Qalaa Holdings has promoted the idea that the private sector should play an active role in fostering sustainable and inclusive growth in Egypt. The company has sought to lead by example, by establishing a number of community development initiatives focused on education and other areas, and encouraging its subsidiaries to make a positive difference in the communities in which they work.
As a founding member of the UN Global Compact Network in Egypt, Qalaa has aligned its own sustainability targets with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In July 2017, Qalaa was invited to speak about its success in pursuing the SDGs at a UN High Level Political Forum in New York.
This year’s QHSF scholarship recipients will be pursuing master’s degrees at leading universities around the globe including Harvard University, The London School of Economics, and the University of Cambridge.