About the ELRC's New Beginning Azhar Ambassadors Program

Al Azhar Mosque
Al Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning for over a thousand years. Centuries before the Western world, Azhar scholars were globally-minded intellectual pioneers in the study of law, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, geography and history. However, Al Azhar has failed to keep up with the rapid academic, linguistic, scientific and technological changes of the last 100 years. The Azhar Ambassadors Program aims to reinvigorate the rich 1,000 year old traditions of Al Azhar in spreading the true message of Islam and promoting peace, tolerance, scholarship and mutual understanding between the Muslim world and the USA.

The ELRC's New Beginning Azhar Ambassadors Program awards 9-month fellowships to outstanding Al Azhar University PhD candidates to travel, study and speak publicly at universities in the USA to advance mutual understanding by addressing issues of tension between the USA and the Muslim World. 

To be eligible applicants must demonstrate:
  • English Ability-English language proficiency with proof of a score of 500 or higher on the TOEFL Paper-based test or 61 on the Internet-based test (iBT)
  • Cross-Cultural Awareness-Participate in the online Soliya Connect cross-cultural education program and obtain a letter of recommendation from a Soliya facilitator 
  • Public-Speaking Skills-Obtain ELRC's "Competent Communicator" status by completing the 10 speeches in the Competent Communicator manual
  • Letters of Recommendation-Submit two additional letters of recommendation 
  • Clear Purpose-Submit 500 word Statement of Purpose detailing reasons for wanting to be an Azhar Ambassador, commitment to mutual understanding and peace, and what candidate hopes to give to and get from the program
  • Lasting Impact-Submit 500 word Continued Engagement Plan detailing how Azhar Ambassador will apply insights gained during experience abroad to spread mutual understanding after returning to Egypt  
  • Financial need-Proof of household income of no more than 5000 LE/month
  • *Preference will be given to applicants who have never traveled internationally before
Once in the US, Azhar Ambassadors will:
  • Attend a minimum of 2 qualifying tertiary 'American Studies' courses (history, culture, politics, etc.) each semester.
  • Have regular teaching assistant duties in Arabic language courses and/or Islamic Studies courses each semester.
  • Speak at a minimum of 8 public speaking engagements (4 per semester) about issues of conflict, tension and misunderstanding between the Muslim world and the Western world.
Upon return to Egypt Azhar Ambassadors will:
  • Submit a 30-40 minute "Azhar Ambassador Message" video project to be posted on ELRC Youtube Channel. Project is an edited compilation of video from public speaking engagements in the US, with commentary, graphics and interview footage. *Azhar Ambassadors program may provide digital cameras in qualifying circumstances. 
  • Organize and Participate in a 2-day American Experience Workshop at the ELRC Azhar Ambassadors will present their experiences to current ELRC students, share their video project and serve as cross-cultural mediators, leading discussions about critical issues of tension between the US and the Muslim world.

ELRC 2009-2010 Highlights (student-produced video)

ELRC 2008-2009 Highlights (student-produced video)

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