DUBAI: A billionaire businessman from the United Arab Emirates launched the Arab world’s largest education fund on Wednesday, setting aside $1.14 billion (4.2 billion dirhams) in grants for underserved youth from the region.
The Abdulla al-Ghurair Foundation for Education said it plans to provide scholarships for 15,000 Middle Eastern students over the next 10 years. The recipients will be students in need of financial assistance who also qualify for entrance to the region’s top universities.
Fund Chairman Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair said his family has allocated a third of their wealth for the initiative. He said the endowment is likely to grow over the coming years as the family’s business revenues increase, with the scholarship fund intended to continue well beyond its initial 10-year mark.
“It has to be significant in size. It has to make an impact in the region,” al-Ghurair said, describing the foundation as a “perpetual endowment.”
The al-Ghurair family has stakes in a number of businesses, including the Dubai-based Mashreq Bank, as well as in iron and steel, packaging, cement and insurance companies.