OIC’s COMSTECH offers 5,000 scholarships for Palestinian students to study at universities in Pakistan

In a significant move to bolster educational opportunities for Palestinian students, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) has expanded its collaboration with Pakistan, offering 5,000 scholarships for Palestinian students.

The initiative, launched in Islamabad on April 2, aims to provide academic support to Palestinian students amid ongoing challenges and crises in their homeland.

The 5,000 scholarships have been announced as part of the second phase of the COMSTECH-Palestine program. In the first phase, the OIC body announced 500 scholarships for Palestinian students, with around 100 currently benefiting from the scheme in various Pakistani universities. This scholarship covers tuition and accommodation fees along with monthly stipends.

Palestinian students welcome new scholarships

At the launching ceremony of 5,000 COMSTECH scholarships, Palestinian students currently studying in Pakistan emphasized the profound impact these new scholarships would have on their fellow Palestinian students. Talking to Islamabad Scene, a Palestinian student Ammar said: “These scholarships hold immense significance for us as many Palestinians have been displaced, and many have lost their families. Opportunities like those offered by COMSTECH scholarships enable us to nurture our aspirations, especially for those dreaming of becoming engineers or doctors.”

The aspirations of Palestinian youth extend beyond receiving opportunities from the people of Pakistan as they desire to reciprocate their generosity. “We aim to utilize the skills of our engineers and doctors for the mutual benefit of Pakistan and Palestine, fostering and nurturing the enduring brotherhood between our two nations,” Ammar said.

By investing in education, the initiative aims to empower Palestinian youth with the knowledge and skills necessary for socio-economic development and nation-building.

Second phase of COMSTECH-Palestine program

Addressing the scholarship launching ceremony at the COMSTECH secretariat in Islamabad, Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Coordinator General COMSTECH, said that the second phase of the scholarship program aims to “benefit 1,000 Palestinian students annually over the next five years through collaboration with the Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP) and member universities of the COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence (CCoE).”

The scholarships were awarded in various fields including STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), health, and agriculture. This initiative will also be announced by the OIC Secretary General in Jeddah soon.

Palestinian students at the scholarship launching ceremony at OIC COMSTECH secretariat in Islamabad
Palestinian students at the scholarship launching ceremony at the OIC COMSTECH secretariat in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 2, 2024. (Image Credit: COMSTECH)

The ceremony was graced by guests from the diplomatic community, academia, and government offices. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui hailed the initiative as a testament to the strong bond between Palestine and Pakistan.

“This scholarship is not a favor or gift but our obligation as Pakistanis as brothers of Palestinian people,” the minister said. Dr Siddiqui highlighted the importance of this large-scale scholarship program in collaboration with partner universities from Pakistan and other Muslim countries in promoting science and technology. “This initiative is a reflection of the inseparable relationship between Palestine and Pakistan at all levels,” he added.

He congratulated OIC COMSTECH, Palestinian Diplomatic Mission, Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA), Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan (APSUP), OIC General Secretariat and Vice Chancellors of the COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence universities for their collaborative effort.

OIC Secretary General and Palestinian Ambassador hail the initiative

In his address through a video link from Jeddah, OIC Secretary General, Hissein Brahim Taha, said the program was a beacon of hope amid the challenges being faced by the Palestinian people.

“This collaboration between the OIC COMSTECH, leading member universities of the Association of Private Sector Universities of Pakistan and the esteemed Embassy of the State of Palestine in Islamabad, constitutes an important step in our commitment to pursue Palestinian universities and researchers, to support Palestinian universities and researchers,” Hissein Brahim Taha added.

He expressed confidence in the initiative’s positive impact on research and educational opportunities for Palestinian students. He extended an invitation to OIC member states to join COMSTECH in expanding the program by fostering science diplomacy and encouraging educational assistance to Palestinians.

On behalf of the Palestinian people, Palestine’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Jawad Rabei thanked Pakistanis and OIC for supporting the education of the future generations of Palestinian people amid Israel’s continued occupation and military campaign in Gaza.

Palestine’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Jawad Rabei
Palestine’s Ambassador to Pakistan Ahmed Jawad Rabei at the launch of the second phase of the Palestine scholarship program by COMSTECH. (Image Credit: COMSTECH)

“The Palestinians need support from their Muslim brothers, as the children and students of Palestine, who are being killed by the occupants, need someone to support and sponsor them to make them able to keep their narrative alive,” he said.

He extended gratitude and appreciation to Pakistan’s government, people and universities, for the “continuous unwavering support Pakistan has provided and continues providing to the Palestinian people in various fields, especially the academic and scientific field, where we are proud of thousands of Palestinian graduates from the great Pakistani universities.”

He emphasized the importance of educational initiatives in empowering Palestinian youth and fostering resilience amid ongoing challenges.

COMSTECH scholarship overview

  • COMSTECH, in collaboration with APSUP and member universities of the COMSTECH Consortium of Excellence, unveiled the second phase of 5,000 scholarships for Palestinian students.
  • 500 scholarships were announced for Palestinian students in the first phase.
  • This scholarship covers tuition and lodging fees along with monthly stipends.
  • The scholarship program represents a beacon of hope for Palestinian students, offering them access to quality education despite the challenges faced by them.

During the ceremony, Dr. Awais Raoof, Chairman of the Board of Governors at the University of Lahore, and Justice Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwer addressed the audience. Both speakers delved into the historical context of Palestine, discussing its rich culture and the challenges posed by occupation throughout history.

The launch event saw the presence of ambassadors and diplomats from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Oman, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Additionally, Vice Chancellors from member institutions of the CCoE, foreign fellows of COMSTECH programs, and Palestinian students enrolled in Pakistani universities were in attendance, reflecting the broad international support and interest in the scholarship program.

The collaboration between OIC, Pakistan, and Palestinian authorities not only enhances educational opportunities but also strengthens diplomatic ties and solidarity among member states.

Sana Jamalhttps://about.me/sanajamal
Storyteller. Avid Reader. Learner to the core.

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