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Bahrain: 15 years of Crown Prince scholarships

Bahrain’s annual multimillion-dollar backed Crown Prince International Scholarship Programme (CPISP) celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. The programme has sent 146 students overseas to date, funding all costs incurred during study abroad and paying out up to US$500,000 per student.

Sh. Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Head of the CPISP's Financial and Administrative Committee, receives a cheque from Alba Chairman Mahmood Hashim Al-Kooheji supporting the CPISP's endowment fund. Photo: CPISP.

“The global experience – the opportunities to think differently – that’s what the Crown Prince wants”

Founded in 1999 by Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, the scholarship covers tuition fees, travel, accommodation and living expenses for 10 qualifying students every year to study in one of seven countries: Singapore, the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, France or Germany.

The programme funds all costs related to tuition fees, travel and living expenses for ten students every year

The Crown Prince contributes more than US$4m of his own money to finance the scholarships annually.

Students may choose any undergraduate degree course, with the exception of medicine, and have the option of continuing onto postgraduate study. The total endowment received by those who complete a PhD can reach US$500,000.

Scholars from state schools, where the majority of teaching is in Arabic, also benefit from two years of study at a prestigious overseas boarding school to improve English language skills.

Any student in high school Grade 11 with a 97% Grade Point Average (GPA) or higher can apply to undergo the rigorous admission process that begins with a shortlist of 60 candidates who complete the CPISP Candidacy Programme– a combination of critical thinking training, IELTS and SAT foundation courses and a Level 3 certificate in Team Leading from the UK’s Chartered Management Institute.

From that group, 10 high-achieving candidates are selected to receive the scholarship. Scholars are then required to maintain a 90% or 3.0 GPA during their studies abroad.

“[The Crown Prince] wants to have these young people come back as leaders in his country and to develop the expertise from the subjects they’ve studied in all their different career fields,” explained Cynthia Gessling CPISP Director, adding that students aren’t expected to return immediately after graduation.

“The global experience – the opportunities to think differently – that’s what he wants. He doesn’t want a cookie-cutter kid,” she said.

In 2006 the Crown Prince established an endowment fund backed by private investors including Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), Investcorp and GPIC petroleum company to guarantee the future security of the programme.

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