The Saïd Foundation held its annual dinner and prize giving ceremony on Saturday 14 April at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The dinner was hosted by Wafic and Rosemary Said to celebrate the success of the Foundation’s current students who are being supported for postgraduate studies at universities across the UK. The winner of the “Said Foundation Alumni Achievement Prize”, which is awarded annually to a former student who has made an outstanding contribution in their field, was also announced and presented to Marwa Bouka by Wafic Said.
Marwa received a scholarship for an MBA at the University of Warwick which she completed mainly by distance learning whilst holding down a full time job with the World Food Programme in Syria. She was responsible for all humanitarian and development projects implemented by the Syria country office reaching around 500,000 people including Iraqi refugees, drought affected farmers and vulnerable children. Marwa contributed to the design and implementation of a pilot electronic voucher system in Syria and is now considered an expert in this modality of humanitarian assistance. She is currently responsible for co-ordinating emergency assistance to more than 1.5million people in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and is operating in extremely difficult conditions and personal danger.
After presenting the prize, Wafic Said explained how the situation in his country of birth, Syria, had impacted upon the Foundation’s activities. Some long-term projects in the country have had to be been put on hold and the Foundation has focused more on providing relief and humanitarian assistance. He spoke of his sorrow at the tragic events in Syria but said that he continued to draw strength from the millions of Syrians fighting for their legitimate rights with peaceful protest and from the brave young people who have shown their elders the way forward.
Wafic Said went on to emphasis the Foundation’s continued commitment to education as a route out of poverty and as a means to solve the world’s problems. He praised the achievements of the talented, forward thinking young achievers being supported by the Foundation now and in previous years and said they gave him great hope for the future.