Congratulations to Our 2018 Hope Fund Graduates!

Heartfelt congratulations to four Hope Fund scholars who graduated this past academic year.
Lisa Shalhoub on graduation day at Virginia Tech

Dina, Liza, Tala, and Khaled took advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Hope Fund to excel and put themselves on a path that will lead to further accomplishments. In the three previous academic years, 46 Hope Fund scholars graduated.  The Palestinian community and their supporters can take enormous pride in these future leaders as do we.

Tala Anchassi graduated in May from Georgetown University with a B.S. in Foreign Service. After a summer internship with Anera, she will return to Georgetown in fall to enter a competitive accelerated program leading to a master’s of science degree in foreign service, a degree that she hopes will enable her to contribute to the economic development and gender equality in the MENA region. Tala, who grew up in Lebanon, received the Arrupe Scholarship for Peace, led the student organization Arab Society, and studied abroad in France while at Georgetown. Thankful for her Hope Fund scholarship, she says, “As a strong believer in how access to opportunities can truly be life-altering, I sincerely hope to see the Hope Fund continue to grow and to keep connecting with aspiring Palestinian students.”

Jerusalem-native Dina Benedetto graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a major in mathematics and a minor in computer science. Dina, who spent a year of high school in the United States on the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, has taken a position at Morgan Stanley in New York as a technology analyst. But giving back is important to her, and she is thinking ahead to ways that she can help young girls in Palestine feel empowered to courageously pursue their dreams, as she did.  “Without this opportunity, I would not be where I am today. I am now on the path of success. This experience allowed me to appreciate my culture more. It allowed me to find a voice that I didn’t knew existed in me. A passion that I didn’t knew existed.”

Khaled Jarwan, a Palestinian from Jordan, graduated from Bridgewater College with a bachelor’s degree in economics, a degree that he feels has prepared him to be a better decision-maker by improving his understanding of human nature, behavior, and the world. He also credits his experience with giving him the drive to achieve his goals and to be a more motivated individual, ready to give back to his community. For his next steps, he plans to take the LSAT and apply to law schools. He also hopes to volunteer with nonprofit organizations as the best way to give back.  Reflecting on his scholarship, he says, “The Hope Fund has indeed changed my life for it has given me an opportunity to find myself, learn, grow and become a global citizen with a sense of drive and passion to accomplish my dreams.”

Liza Salhoub graduated from Virginia Tech with a major in industrial and systems engineering and a minor in mathematics. Liza, who is from Ramallah in the West Bank, appreciates the opportunities she had to take leadership roles in campus organizations such as the Students for Peace and Justice Club and Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, as well as the relationships and friendship that she made. She also had an opportunity to work as a manufacturing operations intern at Frito Lay, an experience that whet her interest in business and particularly supply chains. She will continue to build on that interest as a supply chain analyst at Maxim Integrated in San Jose, California. “AMIDEAST and the Hope Fund had a great impact on my life… [They] always reminded me and made me think that there are people out there who are proud of me and want me to succeed.”