NEW YORK — A new eight-year educational scholarship has been established to benefit 100 at-risk children from the Arab Middle East. The 100 LIVES initiative announced the new program at the Near East Foundation’s Centennial Gala on October 28 before an audience of humanitarian aid leaders and members of the Armenian community.
100 LIVES and NEF developed the program together as a way to express gratitude on behalf of the Armenian community to the people of the Middle East who offered shelter and food to refugees of the Armenian Genocide a century ago.
Valued at nearly $7 million, the 100 LIVES and Near East Foundation Gratitude Scholarship Program will provide children affected by conflict, displacement and poverty the opportunity to study at UWC Dilijan, an international co-educational boarding school currently hosting students from over 60 countries, or other UWC network schools around the world. 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.
The 100 LIVES initiative was founded this year to celebrate those who helped destitute Armenians one hundred years ago, allowing their descendants to survive and thrive. This scholarship is one of the many ways 100 LIVES seeks to continue in their spirit by supporting people and organizations working to keep the legacy of gratitude alive today.
“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,” said 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.”
“By providing crucial access to education, we truly hope to be able to provide these children opportunities to have the successful future they deserve — much like the extraordinary work the NEF has been committed to these past hundred years,” said Armine Afeyan.
NEF will facilitate this scholarship as a part of its larger mission to deliver education, community organization and economic development throughout the Middle East and Africa. Originally founded in 1915 as the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief and later incorporated as the Near East Relief through an act of Congress, NEF has played a crucial role over the past 100 years in assisting the world’s most vulnerable populations.
“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,” said NEF President Dr. Charles Benjamin. “We are excited to join 100 LIVES in rewarding talented students and future leaders the opportunity to excel and succeed.”
The first recipients of the scholarship will be enrolled in UWC schools in 2016.