The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Near East Foundation Gratitude Scholarship Program

Valued at nearly $7 million, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and Near East Foundation Gratitude Scholarship Program will provide 100 academic scholarships, over the next 8 years, to at-risk youth from the Arab Middle East who have been affected by conflict, displacement, and poverty. The scholarships will provide selected youth the opportunity to receive an international level education at the United World College (UWC) network of schools around the world, including in Armenia-based UWC Dilijan—an international co-educational boarding school currently hosting students from over 60 countries.

The application process for 2016 enrollment is currently closed. The application process for the academic year commencing in September 2017 will open between September and October of 2016 and will continue into mid February of 2017. The applicants from the following countries will be eligible to receive the scholarships for the current academic year: Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.  NEF is encouraging youth who meet the established criteria to pursue the application process for the scholarship in the participating countries in which they work beginning in the Fall of 2016.

Eligibility criteria includes the following:

•  16-17 years old by September 1, 2016
•  High Academic Performance
•  Proficient English
•  Identifies with at least one of the following:
· Is a refugee or displaced person
· Has endured the loss of one or more caretakers
· Has or is living in extreme poverty

As its name indicates, the Gratitude Scholarship program was developed jointly by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and NEF to express gratitude on behalf of the global Armenian community to the people of the Middle East who offered shelter and food to those displaced by the Armenian Genocide over a century ago.

Just like 100 years ago, children are the most vulnerable victims of present-day turmoil in the Middle East. The majority of children displaced by war and poverty have no access to education. UNICEF estimates that there are more than two million out-of-school children in Syria, in addition to 700,000 Syrian refugee children in neighboring countries.
“We are proud to be able to help parents experiencing great hardship and uncertainty to secure a better future for their children, as our parents and grandparents were able to do for us,” says Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of 100 LIVES. “It is with great pride that we announce our partnership with the Near East Foundation, and with eager anticipation that we look to identify the scholarship recipients.”
NEF President, Dr. Charles Benjamin shares Mr. Vardanyan’s enthusiasm, saying at NEF’s October Centennial Gala that, “The Near East Foundation is proud to celebrate its centennial anniversary by enabling a hundred driven and in-need students to receive a world-class education. We are excited to join 100 Lives in rewarding talented students and future leaders with the opportunity to excel and succeed.”

The program will be administered through the Scholae Mundi Foundation, which aims to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to the international community and catalyze social change.

About 100 LIVES
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative is committed to building a broad, global humanitarian movement. The initiative is rooted in inspiring stories of courage and survival that emerged during the Armenian Genocide, when 1.5 million Armenians perished. Those fortunate few who survived were saved by the courageous and heroic acts of institutions and individuals who intervened, at great risk. A century later, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative seeks to express gratitude, share remarkable stories of survivors and their saviors, and celebrate the strength of the human spirit. 

About UWC Movement
UWC makes education a force to unite peoples, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. To achieve, this UWC deliberately selects students of different ethnicities, religions, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds. Selection for UWC is based on merit by selection committees in more than 150 countries. This unique and challenging education model places a high value on experiential learning, to prepare students for future roles in community leadership. Founded in 1962, UWC now has 15 schools and colleges on five continents, the majority of these are two-year residential colleges following the International Baccalaureate Diploma, a qualification UWC played a major part in developing. Currently, 75% of UWC students receive either full or partial financial assistance. UWC also has a network of short courses, often held in regions of political, economic, ethnic or environmental tension on themes such as conflict management or environmental awareness. The UWC movement aims to inspire a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and to creating a global fellowship for international understanding among its alumni, now numbering more than 50,000.

For more information contact the UWC National Committees for each of the participating countries:


Palestine Refugees In Lebanon





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