Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Near East Foundation Announce 6 Recipients of Gratitude Scholarship to Study at UWC Dilijan

6 students from Syria, Palestine, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon received educational grants within the framework of Aurora Humanitarian Intitiative and NEF Gratitude Scholarship Programme (Gratitude Scholarships) to study at UWC Dilijan college. Another 3 students from Middle East and Northern Africa received the grant for their education in UWCs around the world. The Gratitude Scholarship programme is a result of fruitful collaboration between Aurora humanitarian initiative and Near East Foundation. Each of the students who received the scholarship is either a refugee or displaced, living in extreme poverty or living with the loss of a parent or a guardian. They have been chosen based on their demonstrated promise and potential both through academic performance and co-curricular engagement.

The Gratitude Scholarship program, valued over $7 million, is a joint undertaking of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and the Near East Foundation. Over the duration of the program, 100 promising students from countries affected by conflict, displacement and poverty in the Middle East will benefit from the opportunity to study at one of the United World College international schools and colleges. The program was established to thank the people of the Middle East who offered shelter and food to those displaced by the Armenian Genocide a century ago.

The Co-founders of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative have also announced the continuation of the Annual Amal Clooney Scholarship. Now in its second year, the scholarship offers one female student from Lebanon free enrollment in a two-year international baccalaureate program at UWC Dilijan. The scholarship was established to strengthen cross-cultural education and understanding, in honor of the scholarship’s namesake, esteemed international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. This year's Amal Clooney Scholar was selected from more than 43 short-listed applicants “for her stellar academic performance, positive energy and passionate sense of social responsibility, which she plans to put to good use by studying law at university”.

“We are proud to offer education and international experience to deserving students from the Middle East, home to so many Armenians during the last century,” said Ruben Vardanyan, Co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. “By bringing together young people from across the world, we seek to promote international dialogue and understanding at an early age, when relationships are formed and values are instilled. Our hope is that this reinforces a sense of compassion, understanding and the willingness to help each other, even in the face of adversity.”

UWC Dilijan is a home to 198 students from 71 countries of the world. 29% of students studying now at UWC Dilijan, have received full scholarship and 63% of students are receiving different levels of funding from UWC Dilijan. All scholarships are needs based and the final amount is determined by the financial assessment and the funding assigned to each scholarship offer by UWC Dilijan. The scholarship is given on the grounds of demonstrated financial need after a student successfully completes a highly competitive and exigent merit based selection process held by a National Committee in the country of their residency.

The application period for UWC 2017-2019 academic period is now officially launched. Please visit UWC IO website to learn more about the application procedure.

The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative aims to advance collaborative social and philanthropic projects on behalf of the global Armenian community. Its flagship project is the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a $1 million global humanitarian prize which honors those who put themselves at risk to enable others to survive. George Clooney, Co-chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, presented the inaugural Aurora Prize to Ms. Marguerite Barankitse during a ceremony in Armenia on April 24, 2016.