Refugee from Afghanistan wins Provost's Scholarship

3 July 2018
Sitarah Mohammadi has won the prestigious Provost’s Scholarship

As a girl growing up in Afghanistan, Sitarah Mohammadi was told that women and girls did not need education. However, as a Hazara refugee she escaped to Australia where she was able to complete her schooling and went on to study for an undergraduate degree in international relations and human rights at Monash University. After overcoming all these obstacles, Sitarah  has been named as one of three academically outstanding students from Australia and New Zealand who have been awarded the Provost’s Scholarship in 2019. 

The scholarship worth around $90,000 includes university fees, accommodation at Worcester, return airfares, a generous stipend and access to all University of Oxford facilities. It allows the Scholars to be Visting Students between January and December 2019.

In announcing the award, the Provost of Worcester Professor Sir Jonathan Bate said: ‘Once again, a Monash student has come through in an immensely strong field for our prestigious Provost’s Scholarship at Worcester College, a unique opportunity to give the brightest students the true Oxford experience. The whole selection panel, notably Alan Jones, one of our generous Worcester College alumni, was profoundly impressed with Sitarah, given all that she has been through in her life. We greatly look forward to welcoming her to Oxford in January.’

Growing up as a Hazara refugee in Australia taught Sitarah a valuable lesson about the need to fight for the rights of those less fortunate, and the role that education plays in changing the world. She said: ‘My experiences as a child in Afghanistan, growing up as a female and coming to Australia, where I was finally able to pursue education, really ingrained in me the curiosity of wanting to learn more, to explore issues of interest in more depth, to think critically and understand more about how the world works from various perspectives. I now have the very opportunity to just study for the sheer joy of learning and explore my interests at the University of Oxford, and to fully develop myself intellectually, culturally and socially.’

Sitarah was a participant in Monash’s flagship leadership programme, the Vice-Chancellor's Ancora Imparo Program, directed by Professor David Copolov. He said: ‘I’m delighted that the Provost’s Scholarship will give Sitarah the opportunity to study at Worcester College at Oxford University, where she will experience an environment in which she can pursue her passionate advocacy of human rights and extend her already impressive academic achievement. Sitarah has great potential to make a significant contribution to addressing the important cross-cultural challenges that confront nations across the globe. Her co-curricular horizons will be extended as she further develops her quest to promote women's rights and girls' education, as well as progress the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers.’

To be eligible for the Provost's Scholarship, candidates must be in their final undergraduate year at the Universities of Melbourne, Monash, New South Wales, Sydney, the Australian National University, or at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. This is a fully funded scholarship for study as a Visiting Student, with options in all Humanities and Social Sciences subjects. 

More information about graduate scholarships awarded by Worcester College