Malala Yousafzai attends launch of Oxford programme for Pakistani students

08:45 PM | 4 Jun, 2022
Malala Yousafzai attends launch of Oxford programme for Pakistani students
Source: @TJPirzada (Twitter)

ISLAMABAD – Oxford Pakistan Programme, a major initiative, was launched at the Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) of the University of Oxford to address under-representation of Pakistani and British Pakistani students at the world's second-oldest university.

The OPP programme has drawn a strong support from activists. Pakistani education promoter and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani High Commissioner to UK Moazzam Ali Khan, Pakistani American entrepreneur Sohaib Abbasi and lawmakers like Naz Shah and Yasmin Qureshi attended the ceremony.

Administrators and senior academics from the University of Oxford attended the event, including Principal of LMH Professor Christine Gerrard, Principal of Mansfield College Helen Mountfield QC, Academic Registrar Dr Saira Sheikh, Director of Undergraduate Admissions Dr Samina Khan, Director of Graduate Admissions Dr Nadia Pollini and Chief Development Officer Liesl Elder, according to a press release.

The initiative led by Oxford academics and alumni, including Professor Adeel Malik, Dr Talha J. Pirzada, Haroon Zaman and Minahil Saqib, is aimed at boosting efforts to address underrepresentation of Pakistani and British Pakistani students at Oxford, raise academic profile of Pakistan and promote academic exchange between Oxford University and Pakistan.

Officials who rooted for the programme revealed that the initiative had secured commitments of around £1 million over the next five years to fund various initiatives, including a scholarship programme for graduate students of Pakistani origin at Oxford.

At least 20 students from the South Asian country will be able to take up graduate offers to study at Oxford on an annual basis.

Three scholarships will be offered under the programme with the first set of graduate scholars commencing study at Lady Margaret Hall in October 2022, allowing these students to take advantage of Oxford’s world-class academic facilities.

Members also revealed that British Pakistanis are the most underrepresented group at collegiate research university, despite being Britain’s second-largest ethnic minority community.

Furthermore, the Country Director for Pakistan at the World Bank Dr Najy Benhassine announced a new internship programme with OPP on this occasion that will help four students from Oxford University and four from a public sector university in Pakistan to intern at the World Bank Office in Islamabad every year.

Pakistani educationist, the international symbol of the fight for girls education and the youngest person ever to be awarded a Nobel Prize, announced establishment of a graduate scholarship for Pakistani women at Oxford under this programme.

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Meanwhile, Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is an Oxford alumnus, termed the programme a pioneering effort to advance academic access and engagement.

The PPP leader expressed great personal pride at the OPP being supported by LMH, the college where his beloved mother, Benazir Bhutto, studied.