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Eng. Fathi J. Afana endows AED 1 million in scholarship at AUS
Palestinian businessman and philanthropist Fathi J. Afana, CEO of Fast Building Contracting Company, has endowed an AED1 million scholarship fund for American University of Sharjah (AUS) students. The fund will be available to students demonstrating outstanding academic talent and who are unable to afford university education.
Afana’s remarkable history as a child growing up in Palestinian refugee camps makes this endowment particularly poignant. It was there that he completed his secondary studies, achieving academic excellence and going on to pursue a university degree at Helwan University in Egypt. With solid determination, Afana built a highly successful business in the UAE in the mid-1980s, establishing strong ties with the Emirate of Sharjah, and eventually sending his own children to study at AUS.
During an official signing ceremony with AUS Chancellor Kevin Mitchell on Wednesday, September 25, Afana spoke of his motivation for establishing this fund at AUS:
"The relationship between Fast Building Contracting Company and the Emirate of Sharjah started back in the early 1990s. We have always been involved in the construction of many key projects for the government, some including those within the Sharjah University City,” he said.
“The emirate has been very generous in supporting our growth and success, and this is why I see it as my personal responsibility to give back to the community that has been so kind to us, so that deserving students with strong academic performances are enabled with access to education at one of the region's top institutions,” Afana said.
“I consider myself to be the biggest winner by establishing this scholarship at AUS, and I truly hope that my contribution today inspires others to follow suit,” said Afana.
The AED1 million endowment will contribute to the university’s broader endowed scholarships fund valued at AED 80 million, which sees merit scholarships and need-based financial grants benefiting approximately two-thirds of all AUS students each year. Scholarships are available to all students, regardless of race, color, gender, religion or national origin.
“The generosity of donors like Mr. Afana positively impact the lives of highly qualified students who do not possess the financial means to pursue a university degree,” said Chancellor Mitchell.
“The university’s scholarship program has resulted in attracting exceptional young students who go on to pursue careers or graduate studies at AUS and other top institutions around the world. We are extremely grateful to Mr. Afana, as his contribution is essential for transforming the lives of students and for providing opportunities for students who will become the leaders of tomorrow,” said the Chancellor.