HKS Launches Fellowship for Palestinian Students

Harvard Kennedy School
Harvard Kennedy School

The Harvard Kennedy School announced a new fellowship program for Palestinian students Tuesday.

The Rawabi Fellowship for Leaders from Palestine is a “merit-based, competitive” program for Kennedy School students who identify as Palestinian, targeted specifically at those with financial need, according to a Tuesday press release.

The fellowship covers students’ costs of tuition and health insurance as well as providing stipends to students in the school’s degree programs. The fellowship will also provide financial support for Palestinian participants in the school’s educational seminars and other programs.

Palestinian businessman and entrepreneur Bashar Masri will fund the fellowship. Masri is currently a member of the Kennedy School’s Dean’s Council and a member of Harvard’s Committee on University Resources, a group of the University’s biggest donors. He is also the founder of Rawabi City, the first planned city for Palestinians built by Palestinians on the politically tumultuous West Bank.


Masri is also the founder and manager of Palestine’s first private equity fund and the creator of Al-Ayyam, the second-largest daily newspaper in Palestine.

In the press release, Masri lauded the Kennedy School’s faculty and students and said the school was “uniquely qualified” to educate future Palestinian leaders.

“It is critical that we support those who are, or will become, catalysts for positive change in Palestine, with the goal of moving toward a prosperous and peaceful future,” Masri said.

The Rawabi Fellows will also have access to events put on by the Middle East Initiative, a program researching Middle Eastern public policy out of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Relations. MEI will also provide travel and internship support for the fellows.

Dean of the Kennedy School Douglas W. Elmendorf said Masri’s gift will help inspire future generations of Palestinian leaders.

“Principled and effective public leadership is needed to tackle the range of challenges that the people in the region are facing,” Elmendorf said. “This generous gift will empower future generations of leaders to strengthen the region’s political, social, and economic development.”

—Staff writer Alexandra A. Chaidez can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @a_achaidez.


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