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Cambridge, MA —Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) is announcing the establishment of the Sammy Ofer Graduate Fellowship Fund for Emerging Leaders from Israel and Palestine to help promising and committed students from the region attend the school.
The fund is being established in memory of Israeli businessman Sammy Ofer, who in his lifetime was a firm believer in the role that education can play in sound leadership, promoting peace and coexistence in the region. Firmly committed to such a legacy, his son Idan Ofer made this opportunity possible for Israeli and Palestinian students through a generous donation.
Sammy Ofer (1922–2011) was a global shipping magnate and philanthropist who established an international shipping operation that grew into one of the largest privately held fleets in the world. In the 50 years since its inception the business has developed into a diversified group of independent operating companies spanning a wide range of industries and sectors.
The Sammy Ofer Graduate Fellowship Fund will provide, in perpetuity, full tuition for up to four students annually to attend HKS. Israelis and Palestinians who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing peaceful relations throughout the region are invited to apply. They will be committed to fostering the principles of an inclusive society where individuals from various religions, ethnicities, and nations of origin live together in peace and prosperity.
“The Kennedy School is a unique environment where students with disparate views and life experiences convene both in and out of the classroom to learn, study, and think seriously about some of the world’s most intractable problems, and Mr. Ofer’s gift fits perfectly with our mission,” said David T. Ellwood, dean of the Kennedy School and Scott M. Black Professor of Political Economy.
“We are grateful for Idan Ofer’s confidence in our expanding Middle East program,” said R. Nicholas Burns, The Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations. “This extraordinary gift will deepen our engagement with students from Israel and Palestine. It will enhance our ability to attract the brightest students and future leaders in the region and engage them in the vital work of making the world a better place. It will further help us broaden our capacity to engage in research and teaching and promote more intensive exchange among our students and the young people of the Middle East.”
“As a longstanding admirer and friend of the school, I have discussed with the dean for many years what we might do to contribute to the emergence of a new generation of leadership in the Middle East, especially in Israel and Palestine,” said Idan Ofer. “Out of those discussions came the idea of establishing a fund to provide promising and committed students the opportunity to attend the school. It is an initiative that I know would have resonated with my father. He was a great believer in the importance of education and strong core values in leadership, particularly in the Middle East where generational and political change is taking place.”
Harvard Kennedy School maintains an abiding commitment to advancing the public interest by training skilled, enlightened leaders and solving public problems through world-class scholarship and active engagement with practitioners and decision makers. The school offers the depth, reflection, insight, and excellence of ideas and teaching that can shape future leaders, affect public policies, and make an impact on people and their daily lives.