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Marwa El-Sherbini scholarship

Marion Doering

Ms. Maya Singh, student at the Evangelische Hochschule Dresden, holds a Marwa El-Sherbini scholarship since October 1, 2019.

Marwa El-Sherbini was born in Alexandria in 1977. She was the daughter of Ali El-Sherbini and Laila Shams, both of whom are chemists. During her schooling at the English Girls’ College in Alexandria, she was head girl. She went on to study pharmacy, successfully completing her degree in 2000. From 1992 to 1999, she also played for the Egyptian women’s national handball team. In 2005, Marwa El-Sherbini came to Germany together with her husband, the geneticist Elwi Ali Okaz. Their son was born in 2006. In 2008, Okaz obtained a doctoral research position at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, and the family moved to Dresden.

At a playground in Dresden in August 2008, Marwa El-Sherbini was verbally abused and called an “Islamist” and “terrorist” by Alex Wiens, an ethnic German immigrant from Russia. The police were contacted and Wiens was charged.  At the court hearing on 1st July 2009, Alex Wiens killed Marwa El-Sherbini just as she was about to leave the courtroom after giving her testimony, and critically wounded her husband. The public prosecutor’s office spoke of a lone perpetrator, acting with “an extreme xenophobic motivation”. On 11th November 2009, the Dresden Regional Court sentenced Alex Wiens to life imprisonment for murder.

Scholarship

The “Marwa El-Sherbini Scholarship for Open-mindedness and Tolerance”, the result of a collaboration of the Free State of Saxony and the State Capital Dresden, is awarded in memory of Marwa El-Sherbini. For this purpose, DRESDEN-concept e. V. has set up the Marwa El-Sherbini Foundation. The aim of the scholarship programme is to promote future executives and specialist staff who take on social responsibility, are involved or interested in politics, and who stand up for freedom, democracy and fundamental human rights.

Sponsorship is for up to two years (four semesters as a rule), and those eligible are students participating in a Master’s degree programme (or equivalent Diploma, M.A. and other relevant programmes) at a higher education institution in Dresden. The prerequisite is that the prospective scholarship holder has attained a Bachelor’s degree or has completed a traditional single-stage academic course (Diploma, M.A., State Exam). If the Master’s programme or similar is not at a university, proof of accreditation is to be sent together with the application documents.

In selecting prospective scholarship holders, the principle of equal opportunity is to be observed while considering performance. For this reason, particular but not exclusive consideration will be given to international students and applicants from migrant backgrounds. If aptitude, qualifications and professional performance are equally high amongst applicants, those with a disability will be given preferential treatment. The final decision rests with a Board of Trustees.

The criteria for being accepted for sponsorship are:

  • outstanding academic achievements at school and university
  • intercultural competence, social engagement and political interest
  • strong civic commitment
  • creativity, self-reflexivity, goal orientation

The Free State of Saxony, DRESDEN-concept and the State Capital Dresden support young people not only with this scholarship but also with non-material backing. For example, scholarship holders are actively supported in their search for internships. It is expected that scholarship holders, in consultation with the sponsors, will participate in events organised by the Free State of Saxony and the State Capital Dresden.

The scholarship amounts to 750 euros per month and is awarded for a maximum period of up to two years. The goal is to include a further scholarship holder for the respective winter semester, at the very latest after a two year period, depending on the availability of budgetary resources. This decision will be based on an agreement under private law with the scholarship holder and the support foundation DRESDEN-concept e. V.