Office of International Affairs

New scholarship offers a bridge from Middle East to McMaster

Daughters For Life announcement

A new scholarship, sponsored by McMaster in collaboration with the Daughters for Life Foundation, is offering exceptional young women from the Middle East a chance for a post-secondary education they would not otherwise receive. Each year, a female student from the region will be awarded a full undergraduate scholarship at the University.

McMaster’s Peter Mascher, Associate Vice-President, International Affairs, announced the scholarship with Daughters for Life founder, Izzeldin Abuelaish while in Ramallah during a mission to Israel and the West Bank led by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Abuelaish, a Palestinian doctor, established the Daughters for Life Foundation in memory of his three daughters who were killed during the Gaza War in 2009. The organization works with post-secondary institutions to provide scholarships for young women from countries throughout the Middle East in the belief that empowering girls and young women through education holds the key to lasting peace.

Abuelaish received an honorary degree from McMaster in 2014 and during his convocation address, spoke passionately about the urgent need to provide Middle Eastern women with access to post-secondary education.

“Education is the strongest agent of progress,” said Abuelaish. “Education provides light in this world that is full of darkness. When you come to learn, to be enlightened, you see things differently and it enlarges your universe.”

Mascher says meeting Abuelaish in 2014 and listening to his convocation address convinced him of the importance of engaging with the Daughters for Life Foundation, adding that participation in the scholarship program is in keeping with McMaster’s ongoing commitment to supporting and advancing post-secondary education in the region.

“Wide-spread access to quality education for girls and young women in the Middle East simply doesn’t exist,” says Mascher. “We look forward to welcoming these bright, talented students to our campus, to providing them with the opportunity to realize their hopes and aspirations, and to equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to make a difference in their communities and in the region.”

Scholarship recipients will be chosen on the basis of academic merit, their ability to make a contribution to improving the lives of girls and young women through extra-curricular activities, work, or volunteer experiences, as well as their financial need.

“McMaster’s emphasis on global engagement includes the recognition that, as an expression of global citizenship, it involves not just a passive awareness but an active orientation to the challenges of the world,” says Mascher. “I am convinced that the Daughters for Life scholarship holders will actively contribute to and benefit from the international flavour of our university”.

Watch Izzeldin Abuelaish's 2014 Convocation address: