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IIE hosts International Awards gala; honours SRF

At an illustrious bash in New York this week, the 10th anniversary of the Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) and its valued work was celebrated by international education luminaries and honorary guests. Organiser, the Institute of International Education (IIE), which manages SRF, presented humanitarian awards to the fund’s founders, financial leaders Dr Henry Jarecki, Dr Henry Kaufman, Thomas A Russo and George Soros.

L-R: George Soros, Thomas A. Russo, Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan, Henry G. Jarecki

"In Western tradition, it is said that 'Knowledge is Power'. In our tradition, we hold that “Knowledge is Light”

Jarecki praised the host universities which have also enabled the Scholar Rescue Fund to assist 469 scholars from 48 countries since 2002. 300 host partner institutions in 40 countries around the world have assisted SRF by enabling fellowships for professors, researchers and public intellectuals working in countries where crisis threatens their work.

SRF has also developed a network of 550 “safe haven” universities in 45 countries.

The Scholar Rescue Fund has assisted 469 scholars from 48 countries since 2002

For example, 250 scholars in Iraq have been helped by SRF’s work. Almost half of these beneficiaries were able to continue their work at institutions in neighbouring Jordan. The Honorary Chairs of the Gala were The Honorable Kofi Annan and HRH Princess Ghida Talal of Jordan.

Princess Ghida Talal, introducing the winners of the humanitarian award, said, “My husband Talal and I are very proud of our affiliation with the SRF. We are also proud that our country, Jordan, had the compassion and responsibility to respond immediately to the call of the Scholar Rescue Fund, by opening its doors to over 250 Iraqi scholars and helping to place as many of them as possible in our own institutions of higher learning.”

She continued, “In Western tradition, it is said that ‘Knowledge is Power’. In our tradition, we hold that “Knowledge is Light”. I can think of no more fitting ideal to describe the work of the IIE and the Scholar Rescue Fund.”

This week’s event raised $1.2 million for the IIE and $3 million in support for IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund, which will be matched by SRF’s retiring Chairman, Dr. Jarecki.

Other awards were also presented during the evening – The Fritz Redlich Alumni Award was awarded posthumously to HE John Atta Mills, President of Ghana, for his commitment to education. Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State, Ann Stock, when announcing the award, explained that Mills – a Fulbright scholar – was “driven by his enduring vision of improving life for all Ghanaians. And, his perseverance propelled Ghana’s development”.

The other award of the evening was the Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award, given to Western Union President and Chief Executive Officer Hikmet Ersek for the company’s commitment to education and CSR. Western Union offers a Family Foundation Scholarship Programme to enable two members of a family move up the economic ladder through education.


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