Mr. Ezzaldin Ibrahim, who graduated from the Syrian Preparatory Programme (SyPP) in January 2007, has been awarded a Chevening scholarship by the British Government. These scholarships, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, enable overseas students to undertake post-graduate study in the United Kingdom for a year.

The Syrian Preparatory Programme is jointly funded and managed by the IIS’ Department of Graduate Studies and Ismaili community institutions in Syria. It prepares students by improving their English reading and writing skills to a level suitable for academic study at English-medium higher education institutions. The curriculum, designed by the Department of Graduate Studies, is taught by the British Council in Damascus. As well as aiming for proficiency in English, students are also introduced to intellectually challenging ideas, preparing them to contribute to the Ismaili community and its institutions in Syria.

The Chevening scholarships are prestigious awards given to graduates with proven academic skills who are committed to returning to their country and contributing to its socio-economic development through the skills and knowledge they acquire in the UK. Apart from having good English Language skills, successful applicants must have a clear idea of how their scholarship will benefit their country on their return. Ezzaldin hopes to study Environmental Engineering in the UK and use his knowledge and expertise in the new and much-needed field of environmental management in Syria.

Ezzaldin Ibrahim was part of the first SyPP intake of 20 students in 2007. He notes, “The graduates agreed that SyPP was a unique opportunity for them. SyPP is the only [programme] in Syria which has such an amazing content and purpose ... In 2003, I applied for the Chevening Scholarship. Unfortunately I could not make it. At the end of the last year, I applied again but before that, I looked at my old application and I was shocked by my poor writing skills. This programme provided me with the tools which enabled me to express my thoughts and talk about myself and my plans.”

Ezzaldin graduated from Aleppo University in Syria, with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering in 1997. Since 1998, he has worked with the Tartous Cement Plant with a break in 2004, when he worked in Nigeria, and travelled to Malaysia, Indonesia and the UK.