Four graduates of The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) have been awarded one of the most prestigious scholarships offered worldwide for programs in the United Kingdom. The Chevening Scholarship is an international award given to future leaders from all around the world. It aims at helping leaders, decision makers and influencers to develop both professionally and academically. It is also a great opportunity for international students to experience British culture and to expand their networks in the UK.
A total of 24 Chevening scholarships were awarded in Iraq this year, out of which four were won by AUIS alumni. The students received their awards at a pre-departure event for Chevening scholars at the British Consulate General in Erbil in September.
Dashne Omer studied business administration at AUIS, and is now pursuing an MBA in global finance services at the Coventry University London Campus. She says AUIS prepared her to get this prominent scholarship with “its intensive programme for teaching English language, and its American style education, which broadened [her] critical thinking [skills]”. Dashne’s referees described her as a student who outperformed her colleagues, and the scholarship’s interview panel thought she had the potential to become a leader. When wanting to pursue higher education, Dashne had taken a few countries into consideration but the UK had always been her first choice. “The application process is a real experience that takes several months”, said Dashne, “and being persistent is very crucial.” She encourages students to apply without being intimidated by the skills and experiences needed to receive the scholarship.
Ismail Kamal Aziz, former engineering student at AUIS, has been awarded the scholarship for a masters degree in renewable energy engineering at Brunel University London. Ismail was a top student at AUIS; he frequently made the President’s and Dean’s lists and was always active in volunteer work and clubs on campus. Renewable energy engineering was Ismail’s first choice because he strongly believes it has revolutionized the market worldwide, and he wants to benefit Iraq and the Kurdistan Region when he returns by putting what he learns into practice. “The universities in the UK make you ready for the international workplace, I could tell this from my first week of classes, ” says Aziz. He strongly encourages all AUIS graduates to apply for the Chevening Scholarship. “AUIS is a key to a successful future to those who appreciate the value of its knowledge.”
Sharif Hamza Khoshnaw is studying renewable energy and resource management at South Wales University in Cardiff. Having studied engineering at AUIS, Sharif describes himself as a passionate engineer, “I would like to develop my region to the next level and the scholarship will help me do that”. Described by his referees as highly motivated, Sharif had his reference letter ready three months before graduating because he knew the scholarship was highly competitive.
“It is a long process,” Sharif says, “Applicants would have to be ready for all the challenges they face on the way,” but he still encourages all AUIS graduates to apply. “The most essential qualification to be a future leader in a community is to be a hard worker and a good time manager. This is why I encourage every single AUIS student to work while they are studying.”
Dana Jaff completed his bachelor’s degree in international studies at AUIS, and is now studying sustainability, culture and development at Durham University. He was a top student at AUIS, and the interview panel described him as a politician by nature, a person who knows what he wants.
These students are now following the path of AUIS alumna Nergis Sabir, another Chevening scholar who has now returned to Kurdistan after finishing her masters in oil and gas management with a distinction from Coventry University. “I can call this particular year very unique and special in my life. It gave me the opportunity to make friends from all over the world with so many different backgrounds,” said Nergis, “Living in the UK was not easy especially in terms of their weather, but Chevening made the experience amazing thanks to the events and trips they arranged for us there.”
Nergis also said that AUIS prepared her for this opportunity because it enables its students to compete in international platforms confidently thanks to its world-class education, and thinks that all AUIS graduates should apply without getting discouraged by the scholarship’s competitiveness, “They just have to be dedicated and determined,” she added.
The deadline for applying for the Chevening Scholarship for 2017/18 is November 8, 2016. Interested students and alumni can visit the website for more information on the application process: www.chevening.org.