Palestinian Hope Fund Scholar Hashem Abu Sham’a has been selected from among hundreds of applicants to receive prestigious Rhodes Scholarships to study at Oxford University starting in fall 2017. He has the distinction of being one of the first three individuals to win the new Rhodes Scholarship for Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine (SJLP), which was awarded in late November.
Hashem, who grew up in Arroub Refugee Camp in Palestine, received a scholarship through the Hope Fund to attend Earlham College, where he will complete his bachelor’s degree in peace and global Studies with a minor in economics in May 2017. At Earlham, he has clearly impressed his teachers and fellow students. “Hashem is like so many of Earlham’s students, who are very bright, very active, and very concerned with the world around us,” said Academic Dean Greg Mahler of his selection to receive the Rhodes. “He has been a real leader on campus, and in my eyes is exactly the kind of student that the Rhodes Scholarship is seeking to recognize. He is clearly someone who is going to continue to be a leader in life.”
Hashem has left his mark in many other ways. Notably he was the first-ever Youth Representative of Palestine Refugees at the United Nations and the first Palestinian youth representative to address the UN. He has also been active in spreading awareness about the challenges facing Palestinians. While at Oxford, he plans to pursue an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy and an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and also hopes to continue his political advocacy for Palestine and to establish a network of community centers in refugee camps across Palestine.
As Hashem notes in a recent Hope Fund video, “I grew up in a refugee camp outside the city of Hebron on the West Bank… you grow up with, you know, tear gas canisters being thrown into your house with the sounds of live ammunition and rubber bullets always being present… Considering my background and where I come from…I always feel a commitment to go back and do something for my, my people.”
Check out the video to learn more about Hashem’s story and why it’s important to support the Hope Fund.