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Benazir Bhutto fellowship at Harvard University starts accepting applications

Benazir-Bhutto

A new fellowship at Harvard University to honour the late Pakistani political leader Benazir Bhutto, member of the Harvard College class of 1973, is now accepting applications.

The fellowship, established by ClassACT, an organization created by members of the Harvard-Radcliffe (HR) Class of 1973 who were classmates of the late twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, is housed at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).

It aims to educate and support mid-career leaders particularly from the Middle East and South Asia.

Titled the HKS ClassACT HR 1973 Graduate Leadership Program Fellowship in Honor of Benazir Bhutto, the fellowship will support those accepted into the Edward S. Mason Program at HKS.

The HKS is now accepting applications to the Mason Program for the first year of the fellowship.

Eligible candidates for the Benazir Bhutto Fellowship at HKS will have an interest and commitment to creating positive change through the advancement of the principles Benazir Bhutto championed — democracy, equality for women, reconciliation of cultural and religious differences, and education without gender or religious bias.

“In college, we were privileged to have Benazir Bhutto, who was to become the first woman to lead a predominantly Muslim country, as a classmate,” said Marion Dry, Co-Chair of ClassACT and Director of the Benazir Bhutto Leadership Program.

“The world needs, more than ever, the kind of leadership that Benazir’s principles inspire.”

Classmate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of the state of Maryland commented: “Benazir arrived at Harvard as a 16-year-old with verve, energy, curiosity and enormous determination. She inspired us with her courage in the face of tragedy, integrity where corruption was rampant, and focus when so many forces could lead to dissipation. We are eager to carry her spirit in our hearts and her legacy at our alma mater”.

“Benazir Bhutto has been an iconic and inspirational figure for many women — as well as plenty of men like myself”, said Jamshed Kazi, Country Representative of UN Women Pakistan and a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. “Bhutto worked against considerable odds to promote democratic principles and boost gender equality initiatives in a patriarchal setting”.

“The launch of the Benazir Bhutto Fellowship is a fitting tribute to her legacy”, he added. “It will provide training for a new generation of leaders in public service from Pakistan and countries across the Middle East and South Asia.”

ClassACT is an initiative of members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Class of 1973. It is founded on the premise that “it is not too late for us to change the world”. The organization’s primary purpose is to bring together HR73 classmates to address important local, national, and international problems by creating and supporting positive change.

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