The Challenge

In 2013, Ford’s International Fellowships Program drew to a close after 12 years. The flagship program enabled thousands of ambitious students from countries around the world, including Egypt, to pursue master’s and Ph.D.-level degrees at universities abroad. The program supported individuals from marginalized groups, and encouraged them to use their leadership skills and knowledge to work toward positive social change in their home communities and countries. In Egypt, after IFP closed, Ford’s Middle East and North Africa office saw a widening gap between the number of Egyptian students who wished to complete their graduate studies abroad and the supply of fellowships. At the same time, new players were emerging, driven by strong interest in and commitment to training promising young Egyptians and preparing them to become future leaders.

What’s in the Report

In 2018, Ford commissioned consultant Nayra Ijjeh to map the main players offering scholarships, fellowships and research grants to Egyptians. The report identifies 18 Egypt-based and regionally-based foundations as well as bilateral and foreign donors administering a range of programs and provides basic information about each one. (An appendix provides an at-a-glance list of the programs, what they offer and to whom.)

The report offers observations on trends regarding the grants available in Egypt. For example, most support scholarships for master’s degrees while few support Ph.D. or post-doctoral studies. The vast majority are merit-based as opposed to based on financial need, and only one program specifically targets women.

The report concludes with discussion questions for those who fund these programs— about the philosophy behind their scholarships, how they measure the impact of their disbursements, and what lessons they can glean from the design of their programs.

“We believe that this is the beginning of an important discussion of direct relevance to Egypt’s higher education and its present and future.”

Moushira Elgeziri and Noha El-Mikawy