SOAS University of London

SOAS Director Valerie Amos CH welcomes 2016 scholarship students

4 November 2016

Nearly 150 recipients of this year’s round of scholarships joined benefactors and staff for the Annual Scholar’s Reception at SOAS University of London.

The reception, which took place Tuesday 1 November 2016, included a welcome speech from the Director of SOAS Baroness Valerie Amos CH as well as speeches from scholarship recipients Onen David Ongwech from Uganda and Donya Nasser from the US.

Baroness Amos spoke of how the SOAS community is enriched by scholarship students: “Scholarships allow students from around the globe with diverse backgrounds to attend SOAS – students in the room tonight represent not only our regions, but North and South America, numerous European countries as well as the UK.”

Valerie Amos at annual scholars reception
Baroness Valerie Amos CH at the Annual Scholars Reception at SOAS


Onen David Ongwech, an Allan and Nesta Ferguson Scholarship recipient, spoke of his journey to SOAS which he chose for its “history and progressive reputation”. Born in a conflict zone, he said: “I found myself struggling along with many others for survival.

“The history in my ‘blank slate’ as a child was written at a tender age and the childhood experiences shaped my understanding of the world differently, including having to ‘normalize’ the situation I was born into.”

After receiving his scholarship to study for an MA in Social Anthropology of Development he said: “The future ahead of me is not that of doom anymore, it’s a future of hope and motivation.”

Onen David Ongwech
Allan and Nesta Ferguson Scholarship scholarship recipient Onen David Ongwech


Donya Nasser, a recipient of the John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship and the Kamran Djam Award, will study for an MA in Iranian Studies. The first in her family to go to university, Donya said: “It has undoubtedly been difficult to have dreams as large as I do with a single mother with as small a financial ability as she has. But I have not let it stop me, and these scholarships have been gracious enough to believe in me and the potential I have to contribute to our campus, our community, and the world.”

Donya Nasser
Donya Nasser, a recipient of the John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship and the Kamran Djam Award

Scholarships opportunities at SOAS have been made possible due to the generosity of nearly 40 benefactors, ranging from individual donors to charitable trusts and grant-making bodies.

As part of SOAS’s ‘Questions Worth Asking’ fundraising campaign SOAS is seeking to offer scholarships to 10 per cent of postgraduate students to enable talented young people to benefit from a SOAS education.