The Morris and Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, based in Montreal, Canada, announced Monday that they have launched a scholarship program aimed at supporting Israeli graduate students of Ethiopian descent, in partnership with Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, according to a press release from the organization.
Noting the under-representation of Ethiopian-Israelis within academia, the foundation said that the scholarship's goal is to help the community overcome hurdles presented in their integration into Israeli society.
The scholarship will provide Ethiopian Israeli graduate students who are engaged in social, community or academic leadership activities financial assistance to help in easing the monetary burden of their studies, which will be divided equally between students at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Hebrew University (HU).
The press release added that the result of the initiative is to support a new generation of Ethiopian-Israeli leaders in academic and the wider Israeli society.
“The intention of this grant is to help on multiple levels,” says foundation president Maxyne Finkelstein. “It is to assist students with financial needs and also to raise awareness of the importance of graduate studies for this population, in the context of creating greater social and economic benefit through advanced education.”
Both universities commended the initiative and highlighted their commitment to supporting Ethiopian-Israeli graduate students on their path to positions of leadership.
“The Morris and Rosalind Goodman Scholarships will help Hebrew University to provide increased opportunities for Israelis of Ethiopian origin to pursue graduate degrees and to take up positions of leadership in Israeli society and academia,” said Michal Barak, director of HU’s Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Diversity. “We are committed, through academia, to advancing the well-being and transformation of communities.”
“We see diversity in academia as a key element in building a strong Israeli society, and this is why Tel Aviv University seeks to increase the number of Ethiopian students across all degrees and professions,” says Limor Shem-Tov, head of the Unit for Student Advancement at TAU.
“The Morris and Rosalind Goodman Scholarships will provide motivated students from the Ethiopian community the opportunity to realize the dream of a higher education, become agents of change and gain social influence. We are honored to be partners with the Foundation in this important initiative,” she added.
Sarit, a TAU Engineering student of Ethiopian background, lauded the scholarship as an important step towards helping build a strong community.
“My parents came to Israel from Ethiopia in 1983,’ she said.
“They walked through Sudan in order to fulfill the dream of Zion, to create a better future for our family in the Holy Land – Israel. As a young girl, my mother loved studying. But unfortunately, here in Israel, she had to work to support my brothers and me. A part of me wants to accomplish this dream for her, so that she can see me completing my degree with excellence, entering the engineering sphere and later continuing to advanced degrees.”