Doha, 22 March 2021 – With the support of Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD), Education Above All Foundation (EAA), through the Qatar Scholarship Programme, has entered into a new cooperation agreement with Bard College to develop a joint scholarship programme at Al-Quds Bard College for the Arts and Sciences (AQB) in Abu Dis, Palestine. This programme awards scholarships to disadvantaged youth and in-service teachers. Launching in spring 2021, the new programme will grant 339 scholarships over the next eight years.
The programme will unlock access to a rigorous liberal arts education, as well as student support services and civic engagement opportunities for marginalised Palestinian youth and in-service teachers. The programme will also enable students to participate in a variety of events such as conferences and workshops, and opportunities to work with Qatari educational institutions and organisations. Additionally, some of the most talented students will be selected to study abroad in Qatar under the Qatar Scholarship Programme.
The majority of scholarships will be awarded to students in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programme at AQB. The AQB MAT, modeled after Bard College’s signature MAT programme, offers dual-degrees from Bard College and Al-Quds University. The curriculum is based on Bard’s innovative liberal arts model and trains teachers on student-centered pedagogy. The programme supports long-term development in Palestine’s education system, bolstering academic systems that can unlock transformational opportunities for the next generation. Undergraduate scholarships include dual-degrees in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and practising arts. Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences is the first and only US-accredited and Palestinian-accredited dual-degree liberal arts programme in Palestine. The College is known for advancing progressive models of education.
EAA through Qatar Scholarship, will be awarding 4,000 scholarships throughout the MENA region and abroad over the next five years, in close partnership with institutions who are models of excellence in their respective countries and regions.
Talal Al Hothal, Director of EAA’s Al Fakhoora programme, said: “Education is an enabling right that supports all other human rights. At a time of global economic uncertainty, education gives our youth hope to create their own future and work for a better, safer world. We are delighted to partner with the prestigious Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Sciences to support talented bachelor and graduate degree students from marginalised communities and backgrounds to access quality education, supported by student services and empowered by the skills necessary to become engaged, productive, inspirational citizens who can adapt and excel in their challenging environments.”
Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, said: “Bard College welcomes this opportunity to work with Education Above All Foundation in removing barriers to access to high quality liberal arts education for underserved youth and communities. This new programme is consistent with Bard's priorities of expanding global access to higher education and offering academically rigorous programmes. We’re gratified this partnership will help many more students to pursue their academic careers [at Al Quds Bard].”
Crisis and conflict in the region continue to have a negative impact on education access, particularly for young people. Youth unemployment across Palestine remains high, with recent World Bank data indicating that even among those with an advanced education, more than 32% in the West Bank are unemployed. Shifting dynamics and ever-changing employment trends make it more important than ever that Palestinian students are equipped with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary to develop their full potential and to lead productive and creative lives. The innovative programming at AQB has established an impressive track record of post-graduation success, with more than 84% of undergraduate alumni finding employment in their field or pursuing post-graduate study. Likewise, 17% of the College’s MAT alumni/ae have been promoted to leadership roles within the Palestinian education system. Educational development in Palestine contributes to lessening poverty, creating economic growth, and realising the Sustainable Development Goals.
EAA through Qatar Scholarship programme currently works in 7 countries and has, to date, awarded over 7,000 post-secondary, undergraduate and graduate scholarship packages to marginalised youth. The programme’s comprehensive, multifaceted programmes, which integrate access to quality education, student support services, and civic engagement, nurture and support beneficiaries from selection to graduation. By providing holistic support to our beneficiaries throughout their academic journey, the programme enables and empowers youth to become engaged, productive citizens.