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MIC awards first Postgraduate University of Sanctuary Scholarships

Professor Lorraine McIlrath in ceremonial robes presenting Zimarai with his certificate in recognition of his award

Mary Immaculate College is delighted to announce that a climate specialist and a linguistics academic have been awarded MIC Postgraduate University of Sanctuary Scholarships. The scholarship programme, which is awarded for this year for the first time, aims to offer financial support for those seeking international protection and includes a full fee waiver.

Professor Lorraine McIlrath, Director of Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Interculturalism, explained: "This scholarship programme is facilitated by the EDII office at MIC and is designed to increase participation for international protection applicants, refugees and migrant groups on a merit basis and we are extremely happy to support our two recipients, Zimarai and Edward, in their chosen course of study."

Scholarship awardee Zimarai Hashimzai, who is originally from Afghanistan, came to Ireland in October 2021. Prior to that, Zimarai had spent 14 years involved with international NGOs in development programmes in Afghanistan, including four years as Program Manager of the Irish funded Multi-Sectorial Resilience Programme for Concern Worldwide. Zimarai holds a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry and Horticulture from Balkh University in Afghanistan. Upon arriving in Ireland, Zimarai undertook a pre-sessional English programme at MIC which helped him to improve his language skills and prepared him for further university studies. Through his University of Sanctuary Scholarship, Zimarai was offered a place in MIC’s MA in Climate, Justice and Sustainability.

Zimarai says he hopes to work towards fighting climate change once he has finished his Masters and says it’s a goal he couldn’t have achieved without the scholarship: “As an Afghan native I didn’t fall under the EU Student Category and I couldn’t afford the tuition fees otherwise, and so I am delighted to be awarded this Scholarship by MIC. I’ve been working on development projects in rural areas of Afghanistan, where people struggled with flash floods, drought, soil erosion and heavy land degradation due to climate change. I hope through this MA I will expand my professional skills for developing sustainable practices, policies and measures to address the challenge that global warming poses for humans and all other lifeforms worldwide.”

Video graphic showing front of MIC foundation building
Postgraduate University of Sanctuary Scholarships

The second recipient, Edward gained a degree in English Language and Literature in 2006 before going on to complete a Master’s in English Language Teaching. After a number of years teaching English, Edward turned his attention to humanitarian work in war-torn Syria, but he never lost his passion for research and scientific discovery. Through his University of Sanctuary Scholarship, Edward is undertaking MIC’s PhD in Applied Linguistics.

According to Edward: “I am profoundly thankful for this wonderful opportunity that carries the potential to truly affect positive change on my journey and that of my family.”

Applications for next year's programme are now open. Click here to find out more about the Postgraduate University of Sanctuary Scholarship Programme, including how to apply.