Launching Rawda Bshara Atallah 2019/2020 Scholarship Program

In a special ceremony that took place in Nazareth on Friday, November 8th, the Arab Culture Association (ACA) launched its Rawda Bshara Atallah Scholarship Program for 2019/2020 and distributed 250 scholarships to Palestinian students attending universities all over the country.

The Rawda Bshara Atallah Scholarship Program, which was founded in 2007 and is sponsored by the British “Galilee Foundation”, encourages higher education in the Palestinian community living in Israel, and building a cultured and professional academic vanguard characterized with a spirit of belonging and giving back to the community.

In the ceremony that took place at the New Grand Palace in Nazareth, registered students were welcomed with a reception, followed by a group photo in the garden with the Arab Culture Association’s management.

The ceremony commenced with the national anthem “Mawtini”, and then was presented by scholarship student Shahd Badran. Antoine Shalhat, Head of the Board of Directors, gave the commencement speech to the students. Shalhat stated “the Scholarship bears many connotations in regard to academic education not as the only goal, but as a multi-functional tool for societal development”. Shalhat also noted that the Arab Culture Association (ACA) was the first to give significance to the Palestinian identity and Arabic language and make them its main priorities, which has been proven over the years to be of great value to Palestinians’ development in their homeland.

Anton Shalhat, Head of the Board of Directors at the Arab Culture Association

Shalhat ended his speech by thanking the Galilee Foundation in London, and the legacy Dr. Rawda Bshara Atallah left, who passed away 5 years earlier.

A biographical documentary was screened about the life of the late Dr. Rawda Bshara Atallah, and her approach to youth education, and how she has counted on them to become the leaders of the future through encouraging and motivating them to study, read, know their homeland, history, and civilization.

The Arab Culture Association’s (ACA) Director, Rula Khoury, presented ACA’s ongoing programs and projects, and then stated that she “choose to be part of the professional and administrative staff of ACA because its vision represents [her]; its unique and many projects hold significant societal values.” Khoury added that the late Dr. Atallah’s journey was not an easy one, but in fact filled with difficulties, pitfalls, and obstacles. Nevertheless, its effect has reflected on the youth positively. All speakers insisted that the only way to preserve and honor Dr. Atallah’s memory is to continue the legacy she established.

Third-year scholarship student Jamal Mustafa, speaking on behalf of all scholarship students, rejected the idea of basing higher education on the grading system. Mustafa highlighted that the role of student movements is in the renaissance and development of societies, in addition to combating violence and improving society from the inside, in order to empower it, encourage it to transcend, and rid itself of its scourges, beyond all regional and religious differences. Mustafa stressed their responsibility towards society, which requires them to function as a solid and coherent Palestinian movement.

During Mustafa Rinawi’s speech, the Scholarship Program Coordinator, he reminisced about his days at the Arab Youth Center in Nazareth where the late Dr. Atallah would encourage them to read on a daily basis, not only for the sake of reading but “in order to remove the injustice which has befallen on our people,” a statement she repeated frequently. Rinawi highlighted the importance of higher education that is built on pride and dignity; he stated: “it is of the utmost importance that you aren’t regarded only as students, but also as success stories in your universities.”