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IDB Saudi Arabia: Scholarships to help create Future Leaders

Delegates attending a workshop organized by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah yesterday commended the IDB scholarship program and said it would help create future Muslim leaders and play a big role in the development of Muslim communities.

IDB currently provides scholarships to more than 9,000 medical and engineering students in 58 non-member countries. "The workshop was a good opportunity for us to meet with our counterparts in different countries who assist us in implementing the program," said Dr. Malek Shah Yusoff, head of the scholarship program.

Seventy-three NGO delegates in 56 countries in four continents took part in the three-day workshop, which was opened by Dr. Syed Jaafar Aznan, vice president of the bank. "Since the inception of the program in 1983, nearly 6,000 beneficiaries have graduated," Yusoff told Arab News.

"We provide scholarship to undergraduate students to pursue their studies in medicine and engineering because we believe that Muslims should excel in science and technology to achieve greater progress," Yusuff said. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen provides seats to IDB scholarship winners free of charge.

Dr. Yusoff highlighted the program's impact on Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries as IDB scholars assist their communities in various activities such as free healthcare, educational awareness campaigns, conducting tuition classes for the poor and providing counseling and guidance to other students.

Dr. Mohammad Salem, head of special assistance office at IDB, was the chief guest at the concluding session yesterday. He said the workshop was instrumental in gathering a lot of ideas to plan for future community development programs. He disclosed plans to establish a center of excellence in India, which will provide coaching to students to pass competitive exams. Salem distributed certificates to the participants.

Mamoon Al-Azami, community development specialist and one of the main organizers, said this year's excellent performance awards for IDB scholarship students and graduates would be distributed during a ceremony in Jeddah in October.

Amanullah Khan, secretary general of the New Delhi-based Muslim Education Trust, said Indian students were receiving about one third of IDB scholarships.

Professor Mohammad Abdul Mannan of the University of Papua New Guinea said he was rejoiced to learn that many Muslim organizations around the world are working for the educational development of the community.

"This scholarship program will have tremendous impact in boosting intellectual capacity of Muslims across the world. It will also help produce new Muslim leaders. Our community will not face any leadership crisis in the future."

There are 2,200 Muslims in Papua New Guinea, which has a population of six million.

Nuraya Luckian of the Philippines was the only woman participant. She said she had learned a lot from the interactive workshop. "We had applied for 478 scholarships but received only 26 and IDB has promised us to increase the number to 40," she told Arab News.

Mohammed Abu Bakar of Jamiyah Singapore said the workshop had given him an opportunity to interact with NGOs from 56 countries. He praised IDB's contribution to the development of Muslim communities. Arzika Rimau of Islamic Education Trust in Nigeria said the workshop was very useful as it helped NGOs learn new things and correct their mistakes. Over 250 Nigerian students are receiving IDB scholarships.

Mohammed Amra of South Africa commended the IDB team for organizing an educative and excellent workshop, which, according to him, was long overdue, as the previous one was held 17 years ago. The delegates called for holding such workshops every year in different countries. (via Khaleej Times) Such Steps would encourage the talented students of today to become researchers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

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