Dalhousie University student and graduate announced as inaugural McCall MacBain Scholars – HalifaxToday.ca

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The scholarship enables students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program

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DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY





At the end of a rigorous six-month scholarship application process, including two rounds of interviews, Dalhousie student Fatima Beydoun (BA’21) and graduate Caroline Merner (BA’17) have both recently received life-changing news. They are among 20 Canadians who have been chosen as inaugural McCall MacBain Scholars – the country’s first comprehensive leadership-based scholarship for master’s and professional studies. 

The McCall MacBain scholarship enables students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while connecting with mentors and participating in an intensive leadership development program. More than 735 people applied for the McCall MacBain Scholarships, 132 participated in regional interviews with local leaders in November, and 50 were invited to final interviews in March. Scholars were chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity. 

“We are so proud of Fatima and Caroline for being selected for this prestigious scholarship after participating in such a rigorous national competition,” said Dr. Deep Saini, President and Vice-Chancellor of Dalhousie University. “Both have distinguished themselves as dedicated advocates for vital social justice and environmental issues, and are so deserving of this historic opportunity to carry on their important work. To have two Dalhousie individuals among this inaugural cohort of McCall MacBain scholars speaks to how our students and graduates are boldly making their mark nationally and internationally.” 

Fatima is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts, combined honours, in Sustainability and International Development with a minor in French. She has been an activist and organizer with Amnesty International Canada for five years, most recently as a national youth advisor and president of the Dalhousie chapter. In her national role, she set up a governance mentoring program for her peers. Fatima is also a founding member of the Dalhousie Black, Indigenous, People of Colour Caucus, a racial justice collective, and she represents fellow students as a member of Dalhousie’s board of governors. She is an experienced cultural humility facilitator and public speaker, highlighted through her workshops and having spoken in the House of Commons in support of migrant communities in 2019. 

“Much of my volunteer and leadership involvement has been motivated by my experience growing up in an environment where I did not see myself represented and where overall diversity was lacking,” Fatima said. “The scholarship application process was really rewarding because it helped me learn more about myself while also providing me with the opportunity to connect with other students across the country.” Fatima plans to study law at McGill, where she hopes to bridge her legal studies with “on-the-ground social justice activism.” 

Caroline co-founded and leads on fundraising at Youth4Nature (formerly Climate Guides), a non-profit organization that mobilizes youth on nature and climate action. The organization has hosted two youth mentorship programs, a storytelling platform, and a network of 5,000 youth. Caroline also works two part-time jobs in the non-profit and public sectors. Caroline graduated from Dalhousie in 2017, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environment, Sustainability, and Society. During her undergraduate studies, she helped run the student union’s sustainability office and mentored students during a six-month training program and cross-Canada cycling relay. 

Caroline will enter the Master of Public Policy program at McGill, where she hopes to learn the foundations of climate policy to become a better advocate for current and future generations.

“Joining the inaugural cohort of the McCall MacBain Scholars will be transformative,” Caroline said. “I am most looking forward to the diverse, interdisciplinary perspectives of this community of changemakers.” 

The global challenges we face as a society need the energy and entrepreneurial spirit of these scholars,” said John McCall MacBain, who, together with his wife Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, created these scholarships through a historic $200 million gift. “Through this scholarship program, they’ll have opportunities to deepen their knowledge, develop their leadership skills, and create meaningful connections that will enable them to bring about positive change. We want to congratulate these students and recognize the hundreds of candidates across Canada who were considered for this scholarship.” 

In addition to selecting 20 McCall MacBain Scholars, the McCall MacBain Scholarships program and McGill University offered 55 entrance awards of $5,000 or $10,000 each to promising candidates. 

Outreach is already underway for the second class of McCall MacBain Scholars, with the application period opening in June. Canadian students and alumni can visit mccallmacbainscholars.org to learn about applying for Fall 2022 admission. 

The program will expand internationally over the next decade, with nearly 300 McCall MacBain Scholars selected by 2030.

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