The Yale Young Global Scholars Program, a two-week summer enrichment program for high school students, will now be offering new Arab Student Leadership Awards in an effort to recruit more talented students from the region.
Yale will give out 10 scholarships this spring that cover the program’s total cost — including tuition, which is $5,500 — and roundtrip airfare. The awards are issued in addition to YYGS’ need-based financial aid packages, which provide students with aid up to the full cost of tuition. The new awards are part of an increased focus on attracting students from the Middle East, said Erin Schutte Wadzinski ’12, the program’s director.
“The Middle East is experiencing an unprecedented ‘youth bulge,’ with over 30 percent of its population between the ages 15 and 29,” Schutte Wadzinski said. “YYGS’ Arab Student Leadership Award seeks students from the region who have the skills, ideas and determination to be the region’s next generation of leaders.”
YYGS, run through Yale’s Office of International Affairs, was founded over a decade ago under the name Ivy Scholars. The University changed the name in 2012 to reflect an increased commitment to educating large numbers of international students, according to the program’s website. In the summer of 2015, half of all participants in YYGS were international students and represented 92 countries worldwide.
Though the Arab Student Leadership Awards will be given for the first time this year, Schutte Wadzinski said this is the only existing scholarship of its type for YYGS: There are no such awards for students from other regions of the world. To be eligible for the award, students must be citizens of an Arab League country and attend school in the region.
Ted Wittenstein ’04 LAW ’12, the program’s executive director, said in a January press release that many former participants in YYGS were from the Middle East.
“With these Arab Student Leadership Awards, YYGS will continue to attract the best and brightest high school students from this critical region to the Yale campus, regardless of their ability to afford this wonderful opportunity,” Wittenstein said.
But Victoria Marks ’18, who was an instructor for the program this past summer, said that overall, students from the Middle East are less represented in YYGS than students from other parts of the world.
Marks also said that geographic diversity is an extremely important part of the YYGS experience, and that these scholarships will help improve this aspect of the program.
“While the academics are rigorous and a developmental aspect of the program,” she said, “the community is what makes the program truly special and unique. Students represent a host of different countries, all bringing different perspectives to the table. I think it truly helps the students grow as both people and thinkers.”
For summer 2015, YYGS admitted about 27 percent of total applicants to its three sessions.