Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Education Above All ( EAA) and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate along with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, took part in a virtual event to celebrate the achievement of granting 10,000 scholarships to displaced youth, through a partnership between EAA’s Al Fakhoora programme and Dutch NGO, SPARK.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza said at the event: “We will continue to connect quality education with meaningful employment through Education Above All and our economic empowerment foundation, Silatech. I do not want this conversation to end; rather it must be a renewed beginning. These 10,000 scholarships should serve as a road map to follow, to grant new hopes, new opportunities, and new lives to tens of thousands of other displaced youth.”
During the programme which took place on the UN World Refugee Day, Her Highness Sheikha Moza and Queen Maxima interacted with some of the students who are recipients of the scholarship. The students spoke about their learning experience as well as how the scholarship helped them face the challenges during their education and beyond.
EAA's Al Fakhoora programme, through Qatar Scholarship, partnered with the Dutch NGO SPARK in 2016 to provide over 7,000 higher education and empowerment scholarships to underserved Palestinian youth in the West Bank and Syrian youth, refugees and internally displaced persons in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza congratulated the scholarship recipients for their inspiring and "unwavering ambition" towards continuing their education. She also called on universities, learning centres and tech companies to join in the collective responsibility of ensuring graduates of these programme are equipped to find meaningful employment and connect with the virtual and traditional job market, to empower them to contribute to their communities.
Her Highness at the event spoke with three scholarship recipients, Noor Jomaa, Jouman Najjar, and Rami Farhan, through a Zoom video call, where they shared their experiences with the programme and future aspirations.
Meanwhile, taking part in the virtual event, Queen Maxima emphasised the importance of education and entrepreneurship. She also spoke with two students who had received the scholarship. They shared their learning journey as well as how they benefited from the scholarship.
"Education and entrepreneurship are essential for rebuilding every region affected by conflict and by establishing the possibility for growth in every country. Each scholarship awarded to young a refugee not only helps that particular person, but eventually a whole community of people and, ultimately, all of us. It is an investment in the future with a fantastic yield," said, Queen Maxima at the ceremony.
Khalifa al-Kuwari, director general of the Qatar Fund for Development; Kitty van der Heijden, director general, International Cooperation, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Claudia Miller, Trust Fund manager, EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, European Commission, among others also spoke at the virtual event.