Indian student in UAE chosen for Dh1m scholarship named after former Canadian PM and Nobel laureate Lester B. Pearson

A UAE-based Indian student has won more than Dh1 million of scholarship — named after Lester B. Pearson, the former Canadian prime minister and Nobel Prize winner — at University of Toronto in Canada.

Candace Sara Ciju, a former student of GEMS United Indian School, Abu Dhabi, has been named among the top five of 37 global recipients of the scholarship that fully covers tuition fee, residence costs, food, books, stationery, health insurance, incidental costs and so on for the duration of Candace’s undergraduate studies for four years.

“The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship was created to bring exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Toronto. We are pleased to announce and welcome these outstanding students as members of the 2022 cohort of award recipients,” the University of Toronto (U of T) posted on its website.

Distinct opportunities
In addition to the unique Pearson cohort experience, the award provides distinct opportunities such as work-integrated learning, an international learning experience with one of U of T’s many international partner universities, on-campus work-study opportunities, peer mentorship and more.

A jubilant Candace said: “I am ecstatic and incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a Pearson Scholar this year at U of T, which is the number one university in Canada and has consistently ranked among the top ten public universities in the world in all major rankings.”

She said she was proud to win the scholarship, which is a fiercely competitive and illustrious one, with an acceptance rate of 1.5 per cent, which is less than that of Harvard University. The total net worth of this scholarship is more than Dh1 million.

Candace is currently part of U of T’s Faculty of Arts and Science. Her major is currently undeclared, but after a year of course exploration, she plans to double major in History and Political Science/International Relations.

Opportunities from UAE
“Having grown up in a culturally and heritage-rich environment, my interests have always been inclined towards History. Despite being an Indian national, I have always lived in Abu Dhabi. Through prestigious awards such as the ‘Sheikh Hamdan Award’, ‘Sharjah Award’, and ‘Sheikha Fatima Award’, the UAE has provided me with numerous opportunities, nurturing me into the person that I am today,” Candace said.

“Leadership is a value I hold in high regard and I have honed my own by serving as my school’s Deputy Head Girl (2019), Head Girl (2020-2021), and, finally, President (2022). I’ve started several programmes for students in my school with the help of my team, including ‘UIS Masterclasses’, ‘G Month: Month of Generosity’, ‘UIS Blog’, ‘Anti-Bullying Squad’, clubs, fun fairs and many others.”

As an avid writer and debater, Candace has served as the editor-in-chief of her school’s newsletter from 2020 to 2022, as well as the Crisis Director of the UIS Model United Nations. “Apart from writing and debating, I enjoy reading, theatre, playing the ukulele, chess, painting, badminton, and baking.”

Sustainable initiatives
“As an environmentalist, I am deeply committed to sustainability, which led me to function as one of the UAE’s Sustainability Ambassadors with ‘MASDAR’, a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable urban development. In 2012, I also founded the ‘Re-Use of Books Campaign’, which collects used books in good condition so that they can be re-used by others.”