Alsaid Foundation

New scholarship award aims to encourage student travel to the Arab world

A new supplemental travel scholarship was created this week via a partnership between First Trip and the Alsaid Foundation.

The specialized travel award aims to promote study abroad opportunities in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The initiative is part of a larger project started by First Trip’s CEO, Dex Burns, to advance certain travel opportunities deemed “critical learning experiences” for students. According to Burns, such programs provide the much-needed language skills and international experiences needed for foreign policy thinkers in the 21st century.

The partnership establishes a $1,000 supplemental scholarship to be awarded to two First Trip scholars each year. The eligible destinations for this supplemental award include seven Arabic-speaking countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, and Tunisia). The program will last for five years or until the funds allocated for the specialized awards are disbursed.

Students selected for the awards will receive the $1,000 supplemental award in addition to their First Trip scholarship. For example, a student who is granted a $1,500 First Trip scholarship could also receive the supplemental award, bringing their total scholarship disbursement amount to $2,500.

Burns and Mohanad Alsaid, the Alsaid Foundation’s CEO, were recently featured together in a GW Today article which highlighted their collaborative efforts to advance strategic international programs for underrepresented college students.

First Trip’s resolve to advance minority participation in U.S. foreign policy resonated with Alsaid, who himself traveled to the United States from Jordan to learn English and to pursue higher education. “There are many opportunities for American students to gain valuable learning experiences in the Middle East and citizens of the region would be excited to learn from Americans” says Alsaid. Mohanad Alsaid joined First Trip as a Strategic Advisor in May 2023.

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