Extending its commitment to making qualified higher education accessible to students from every segment of the region, The American University in Cairo (AUC) has welcomed 12 students from different Arab countries in the region this fall, as part of Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship Program. The program is directed specifically to students from the Middle East and North Africa who are capable of making a difference as leaders in their local communities, but do not have the financial resources needed to attend AUC. The students are selected based on their outstanding academic performance, leadership skills and community involvement.
Launched in 2008, the Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship Program was initiated by the U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). It grants full need-based scholarships and accommodations to distinguished high school graduates from the Middle East and North Africa who wish to complete their undergraduate studies at AUC. The program also provides each student with a laptop and stipend. "We provide resources that help candidates excel in their academia and maximize their college experience," explained Sohair Saad, director of the Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship and the LEAD programs at AUC.
There are currently 40 students enrolled in Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship Program coming from several countries in the region, including Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, and Lebanon. The program prepares students to take on leadership roles within their communities by providing sessions on civic-engagement, and by granting internship in various community development organizations.
Reflecting on her experience at AUC as part of Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship Program, Nataly Naser Aldeen, a Lebanese student majoring in biology, noted that AUC helped her gain knowledge and allowed her to engage with cutting-edge research and facilities, as well as assisting her discovery of new talents. "The program has developed my leadership skills, helping me grasp my role in influencing my community," Nataly noted.
Yousif Raouf, a Bahraini student, said that he has greatly benefited from the diversified culture AUC embraces, and that he learned how to deal with people from different cultures. "The whole journey at AUC and through Tomorrow's Leaders Scholarship Program is helping me become a better person, more confident and competent," Raouf added.
AUC allocates 17 percent of its operating budget — 18 million annually — to provide deserving students with a wide range of scholarships and financial aid to assist them in meeting the expenses of obtaining AUC education.