Over 40 American colleges and universities will welcome 250 Afghan students in the next academic year, through the Qatar Afghan Scholarship Project.
The initiative aims to support displaced Afghan students with full scholarships to US colleges and universities.
Organisations backing the initiative include The Afghan Future Fund, Schmidt Futures, the Yalda Hakim Foundation, the Qatar Fund For Development, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the Institute of International Education.
“Afghan Future Fund was established just over a year ago in order to provide a horizon of hope for Afghanistan’s most talented citizens, whose lives were suddenly upended by the Taliban takeover,” said Vance Serchuk, founding board member of the Afghan Future Fund.
“Even as Afghanistan has receded from the headlines, the creation of this extraordinary scholarship program — the largest of its kind for refugee and displaced students — sends an unmistakable message that Afghans are not forgotten.”
The scholarships to institutions in 17 states, including Rutgers University, Bard College, and the University of Texas at Austin, are “an inspiring testament to the power of partnership”, Serchuk continued.
Partners have “worked together tirelessly over the last 12 months — united only by a shared belief in the importance of education, the potential of these students, and our determination to provide them with the chance to pursue their dreams”, he added.
UNHCR estimates that only 5% of refugees have access to higher education, far below the 40% global average. QASP is seeking to represent the commitment to UNHCR’s “15by30” target, which aims to ensure that 15% of refugee youth can access higher education by 2030.
“The Qatar Afghan Scholarship Project exemplifies how partners from higher education, government and philanthropy can work together to provide displaced young people with new futures,” said Allan Goodman, CEO of the IIE.
“Supporting higher education in emergencies is an essential component of humanitarian aid. If every institution could take even one displaced student, scholar, or person, we could all help prevent a lost generation.”