Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education Boosts Higher Education Opportunities for Arabs With 550 Scholarships for Online Master’s Degrees at Arizona State University

Dubai, U.A.E. – 16 May 2021: The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) has awarded 255 scholarships to underserved Arab youth at Arizona State University (ASU) to pursue their online master’s degrees as it closes the final application cycles of its Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program (OLSP). This will bring the total number of scholars enrolled as part of the OLSP to 550 since its launch in 2017.

The awardees represent 17 nationalities across the Arab region, with women making up over half of the group, and 40% being first-generation university students – the first in their families to pursue higher education.

The scholarships cover a range of programs including engineering, technology, health, education, and sustainability, among others. These programs were specifically selected by AGFE for being in fields that are in high demand within the region, with the objective of bridging the knowledge and skill gaps which exist in the workforce today and allowing for talent to grow and stay in the region.

To ensure the highest quality of programs offered through the OLSP, AGFE has partnered with ASU, which has been ranked the most innovative university in the United States by U.S. News & World Report for the past five years due to its leadership in online learning. Though the pandemic has caused the popularity of online learning to surge, AGFE has been a leader in advocating for the development of high-quality online education since the program’s inception in 2017.

Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, Chief Executive Officer of AGFE said: “The success of our OLSP in partnership with ASU, continues to elevate the state of Arab youth in the region. We are really pleased to be welcoming another round of scholars and continue to lay down pathways that inspire young Arabs to pursue high quality online learning in the future. Having been advocates and supporters of high-quality online learning since 2017, we are fortunate to be in this position, ready to provide these opportunities to the underserved youth in these challenging times. Since the start of the global pandemic, we have seen a huge surge in demand for the online scholarship program and we are grateful to be able to help.”
Having provided scholarships for online programs with ASU for the past 4 years, the Foundation has seen a sharp increase in demand since the onset of the pandemic, with the average number of applications received per round increasing by nearly 60%. The AGFE has offered scholarships and is continuing to grow and cater to the needs of the youth. The Foundation is also helping regional universities improve their capacity towards scaling their online programs, to meet the growing needs in the region and assure the advancement of online Arab higher education.

Mona Youssef, who is Palestinian and living in the UAE, is one of the students selected for the scholarship to complete her master’s degree in Biomedical Diagnostics. Mona hopes to use this degree to focus on research in the UAE and wider region to better support the Arab community. Speaking about her experience with online learning during the pandemic, Mona said: “I was able to discover new qualities about myself such as self-control and resilience, which enabled me to realize my goals, work for a better future and succeed as an online learner.”
AGFE recognizes that for an underserved student to succeed in completing their program and getting a job in the region, they need much more than financial support. The students need to succeed academically and professionally, requiring guidance and counselling beyond just coursework. AGFE and ASU offer scholars various skill-building professional opportunities to better equip them for the working world, providing them with a supportive community and tailored support throughout their educational journey, which includes a personal enrolment coach and success coach.

Established in 2015, the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education supports the provision of high-quality education opportunities, as well as the development of relevant higher education and professional skills for Emirati and Arab youth. The Foundation is dedicated to transforming lives through education as it believes that education is the main driver of development. These efforts directly address the disparity in access to university education in the Arab world to help meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, please visit AGFE’s official website.