HIAS Scholarship Program 2012 Distributes Funding to Deserving Former Clients: HIAS Scholars engage in community activities to help immigrants

Posted on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 15:10 pm

(New York, NY) – As the President announced a favorable change in policy that would allow undocumented students to stay in this country, HIAS, the global migration agency of the American Jewish community, announced that it had recently awarded $152,000 in scholarships to 38 immigrant students in the United States in its second-annual HIAS Scholars Program. Each year since 1974, HIAS has provided financial assistance to Jewish immigrants who were rescued and resettled by HIAS, and either have achieved naturalization or are on the path to doing so.

Last year, HIAS’ longtime scholarship program evolved into HIAS Scholars, a program that incorporates a community engagement/service component through which HIAS Scholars can leverage their unique understanding of the immigrant experience to create or participate in projects directly serving, or advocating on behalf of, local immigrants and refugees. In addition, recipients receive monetary awards to help finance their education, as they build social and professional networks in the framework of a leadership training curriculum.

At the recent awards ceremony, the incoming 2012-2013 Scholars were saluted, and the outgoing Scholars reflected on their experiences and shared words of wisdom. Two such 2011-2012 scholars were Inna Dolgin and Zhanna Digilova, from Ukraine and Russia, respectively, who together created the NYU Immigration and Refugee Awareness and Advocacy Society (NIRAAS) as a way to educate their peers about important immigrant and refugee issues. It is the first organization of its kind at NYU. Through NIRAAS they aim to inspire their peers to learn about and act on immigration and refugee issues.

According to Dolgin: “At an age when children are just learning to read, I had already understood that my opportunities were limited. However, oppression ended when, in 1998, HIAS provided my family with refuge to the United States, the land of opportunity…. Having had the privilege to come to America and receive extraordinary opportunities, like education and employment, we sympathize with those who do not have the same opportunities. With new knowledge about policies, we hope that members of our club will be inspired to get involved and advocate for the rights of immigrants and refugees.”

2012-2013 Scholars from the New York area are largely from the FSU and Iran and are a diverse group that represents a variety of interests and future professions, including Lev Litichevskiy, originally from Ukraine, a biomedical engineering student at Brown University; Yulianna Yagoudaeva, originally from Uzbekistan, a law student at New York Law; and Siavash Kiumehr, originally from Iran, a biology student at Yeshiva University.

Since 1974 HIAS has awarded more than $3 million to more than 3,500 immigrants to the U.S. and Israel to help fund their higher education.