Expanding Our Scholarship Efforts in Egypt

AMIDEAST aims to provide access to higher education for as many students as possible. With this in mind, it is fundraising for 10 additional scholarships to Egyptian public university excellence programs—beyond what has already been funded under the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) Public University Scholarships program. Meet Ahmed, Mehad, and Souad, three bright young Egyptian students who, without the HEI program, would never have had the opportunity to attend these quality programs and open new doors to their future. 

Ahmed is a talented young man who has never let his challenges define him or hold him back.  Losing his father when he was three years old, and raised along with his six siblings by his mother in a one-bedroom house in Sohag, Ahmed learned the value of hard work, education, passion, and helping others.  Although his mother was unable to financially support her family, her emotional support and encouragement empowered him, and her dependence on charity associations inspired in him a spirit of giving.  His mother’s continual motivation of her children to reach for new opportunities through education helped Ahmed to earn 98 percent on the Thanaweyya Amma high school exit exam. Just selected for the second cohort of the U.S.-Egypt HEI Scholarships program to pursue his academic studies at Mansoura University, Ahmed dreams of being a pioneer in biomedical engineering—using his inventions and developments to benefit his country. His teachers told him that they expect him to become the next Ahmed Zewail—the first Egyptian and the first Arab to receive a science Nobel Prize, and Ahmed hopes that, with the help of this scholarship, they are right.

Mehad is an accomplished young woman who faces challenges with confidence and determination. Now attending a preacademic program provided by AMIDEAST as part of her U.S.-Egypt HEI Scholarship, she is excited that she will soon study gas and petrochemical engineering at Alexandria University. Math and engineering have been her passion and strength for as long as she can remember, but she most values their association with her father, who inspired her love for the field. Mehad’s father passed away when she was only eight years old, leaving her mother, older sister, and younger brother living on his small pension. Though she was only in primary school, it was at this point that Mehad committed herself to becoming an engineer. Excelling in the math section of her high school in Kafr El Sheikh, she earned 97.3 percent on the Thanaweyya Amma high school exit exam, ranking her third in her school and 17th in her governorate of over three million people. She now looks forward to excelling in her university and ultimately contributing through her work to the strength of her home country of Egypt.

Soad is an intelligent young woman who has nursed a passion for agriculture since high school.  She recently completed her first year on an HEI scholarship, studying agriculture biotechnology at Ain Shams University, where she finished among the top five of her class. Originally from Hurghada on the Red Sea coast, Soad is the oldest of five siblings, and her father works two jobs to support the family.  Soad admires her parents, who always motivate and support her, even now, when her university studies have taken her hours away from them. Soad dreams of pursuing her postgraduate studies in biotechnology abroad—conducting research, inventing techniques, and creating medicines from plants and animals—ultimately helping other students by becoming a professor of agriculture. The scholarship has helped Soad to become more independent and confident, and her example has motivated four other young women to study agriculture as well—a field that has great potential in Egypt but currently lacks youth entering the field.

The U.S.-Egypt HEI Public University Scholarships program enables disadvantaged Egyptian high school graduates like Ahmed, Mehad, and Soad to attend high quality “excellence” programs at public universities in Egypt. The high-achieving graduates who qualify for the program also take part in specially-designed supplementary activities such as English language instruction, leadership training, and career planning, as well as internships, community service, and study abroad at U.S. universities. 

By providing strong academics interwoven with enrichment activities and private-sector and practical experiences, the program is preparing these deserving young men and women to enter Egypt’s workforce and contribute in sectors that are critical to the country’s economic development.

With more than 500,000 young Egyptians graduating from high school each year, competition for the USAID-funded U.S.-Egypt HEI Scholarships is intense.  AMIDEAST, supported by donors, both individuals and companies committed to Egyptian youth, will enable 10 additional students to access the educational and supplemental benefits of the U.S.-Egypt HEI Scholarship program.

“AMIDEAST is proud to partner with USAID to expand higher educational opportunity in Egypt through the U.S.-Egypt HEI scholarship program,” AMIDEAST President and CEO Ambassador Theodore H. Kattouf said. “AMIDEAST marks 60 years in Egypt this year. I can think of no more fitting way for us to mark our 60 years of continuous service in this great country than by giving back by supporting an additional 10 deserving young Egyptians to realize their potential as individuals and contributing members of their society.”