Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation permanently endows scholarship for postgraduate studies at Oxford University

The Rhodes Scholarship for the UAE (RSUAE) and the first in the GCC, has been permanently endowed with a grant from the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation (SHF).  Under the RSUAE, two Rhodes Scholarships per year are awarded to eligible applicants, enabling them to pursue postgraduate studies at Oxford University in the UK for up to three years, with tuition, living expenses and return travel all provided.

The official launch, which took place at Manarat Al Saadiyat on the 6th December 2016, was attended by HE Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education; the UAE’s first Emirati Rhodes Scholar HE Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chairwoman of the Emirates Youth Council; and Charles Conn, CEO of the Rhodes Trust. Also in attendance were leaders from higher education institutions in the UAE.

Speaking at the event, Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrui, commented: “We are grateful to the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation for boldly pioneering the endowment to launch the UAE’s first Rhodes Scholarship program. This investment will inspire the next generation of young leaders who live for something bigger and better than themselves, and who will go on to be top of their fields here at home in the UAE and around the world.”

She added: “Service is at the heart of our values in the UAE. This brilliant partnership with the Foundation and the Rhodes Scholarships program intersects with the founding vision and pillars of our country. Our founder, Sheikh Zayed, believed that “the greatest investment is in building educated generations”, that the “real prosperity of the state is its youth.””

Established in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship is the world’s most prestigious scholarship programme, committed to promoting academic excellence and nurturing socially responsible leaders in a range of fields. The RSUAE, which before the permanent endowment was known as the Falcon Scholarship, is open to students aged 19-25 who have completed an undergraduate degree at a college or university within the UAE. Emirati students who have completed their degree overseas are also eligible to apply.

H.H. Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Founder of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation commented: “The Rhodes Scholarship was brought to the UAE by Tamkeen, a Government of Abu Dhabi company, which facilitated the partnership between the Foundation and Rhodes House. Now, as benefactor of the RSUAE, we are committed to raising awareness of the programme and actively encouraging students from across the UAE to apply. Through the Scholarship, we hope the Foundation can provide access to a life-changing international social and educational experience to promising young people in and from the UAE, and to further support the development of socially responsible and ethical young leaders.”

The launch of the permanent endowment follows last week’s news that scholarships for the next academic year have been awarded to NYU Abu Dhabi student Dubai Abulhoul, and Khalifa University senior Mohammad Alsharid, who will take up their places at Oxford in September 2017. At Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the RSUAE scholars will join more than 20,000 students from over 140 countries currently studying at the University. Nearly 8,000 Rhodes Scholars have gone on to serve at the forefront of government, business, the arts, education, and research among other sectors.

Charles Conn, CEO of the Rhodes Trust, said: “The Rhodes Trust is pleased to partner with the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation to provide Rhodes Scholarships from the United Arab Emirates.  Our aspiration is to identify and support innovative, energetic and ethical young leaders globally.  The addition of Rhodes Scholars from new countries such as the UAE, which has an important international role to play in the 21st century, marks a substantial step in that direction. We see the value of additional cultural diversity in our cohorts of Scholars every day:  they learn from each other in profound ways, leaving behind the narrow interests of individual nationalities. The new Rhodes Scholars will contribute significantly through sharing their skills, experiences and energy with their peers at Oxford and we look forward to welcoming them to Rhodes House.”

In addition to HE Shamma Al Mazrui, five other Emirati and UAE-based students have pursued postgraduate studies at Oxford University as Rhodes Scholars. The Applications for the 2017 RSUAE are now closed, but applications for 2018 will begin again in June 2017.