Ethiopia: Poet Lemn Sissay Announces UK Scholarship For Exceptional Students

The writer Lemn Sissay, chancellor of the University of Manchester. (Photo: The University of Manchester)

Press Release

The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester’s Chancellor, Lemn Sissay, has attended a special event in Addis Ababa to officially extend a transformational student scholarship to Ethiopia.

Talented candidates from Ethiopia will now be able to apply for places through the University’s Equity and Merit Scholarships, which currently fund students from Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to take a postgraduate course that isn’t available in their home country.

Now into its eleventh year, Equity and Merit has helped more than 200 students who have a desire to learn skills that will transform their home countries, build their careers and implement projects which have benefitted thousands of local people.

Lemn Sissay MBE is a poet with Ethiopian heritage who regularly visits the country. In his role as Chancellor, he is the ceremonial head of The University of Manchester and has been supportive of a number of new initiatives such as a scholarship for black male law students. He said: “I am very happy that during my time as the University’s Chancellor the Equity and Merit Scholarships have been extended to Ethiopia, a country that I know well and love. I have seen first-hand what a difference these scholarships make to people.”

Lemn launched the scholarships at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa last night (20 December) alongside senior representatives from the Ministry of Education and local universities and Dr Alula Pankhurst from the University of Addis Ababa.

Dr Pankhurst is an alumnus of the University of Manchester, where he obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology. His links to Manchester don’t end there however, as he is also the grandson of Sylvia Pankhurst, the suffragette who was also a staunch champion of Ethiopia during World War II, and was born in the city in 1882.

The Equity and Merit Scholarships announced at the event are now open for applications from exceptional individuals who can demonstrate both academic excellence and a commitment to the economic or social development of their home communities.

The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and its donors. The University covers the tuition fee in full and the generosity of donors covers students’ living costs, flights to the UK and visas.

In the past the students have used their newly gained knowledge to fight diseases such as malaria, build low-cost housing for slum dwellers or bring electricity to remote communities. In many cases the scholarships have not just transformed the students’ lives but those of their people living in their home towns or cities.

Joanne Jacobs, from the University’s International Office, oversees the Equity and Merit Scholarships. She said: “Equity and Merit scholarships really do change lives. The students we’ve had over the last ten years have all been exceptional and have made a genuine contribution to the development of their countries.

“Ethiopia has close links to The University of Manchester through our alumni and our Chancellor, and we are really happy that there has been such support at the event tonight.”

One of the University’s current Ethiopian students is Eyob Balcha Gebremariam, a PhD student in Development Policy and Management. He said: “Manchester is a great place of academic excellence, diversity and also socio-economic and political history.

“I would say to my fellow Ethiopians try your best to join The University of Manchester and have an amazing opportunity of reigniting your academic and non-academic career.”


Equity and Merit applications for Ethiopia open on 20 December and close on 31 January 2018. Visit the dedicated web page for more information and to apply.

Related:
In Pictures: Tadias Salon Series Featuring Poet & Author Lemn Sissay in NYC

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