Speech of Ms. Yasmin Merali on the Scholarship award Ceremony

On October 5, 2015

Yasmin Merali Biography:

Yasmin Merali is currently a Director of The Merali Foundation, established and founded by her late father, Pandju Merali in honor of his wife, Shirin Merali. After receiving a Bachelor of Science from Simon Frasier University in Canada, Yasmin worked in the various industries and received a Masters in Business Administration in Los Angeles. Today, she lives in Southern California, where she works on the Merali Foundation with her nephew Mehdi Merali, and her brother Karim Merali.

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Ms. Yasmin Merrali

Remarks of Yasmin Merali:

I am delighted to be here today in Hanoi and to finally meet so many of you. I have enjoyed reading about your experiences in the program over the past few years, but to be here in person is truly special.

My late father established the Merali Scholarship program, as he truly believed that an educated woman could have tremendous impact in her family, community and throughout society. He recognized that men and boys often receive the bulk of education training and scholarship opportunities in developing countries, where women are traditionally not given the same opportunities as men. The Merali Foundation mission is to educate and empower women in the developing world. We align with The Asia Foundation who is committed to this shared belief that formal education provides low-income women the much needed opportunity. This will ultimately bring about positive change in countries such as Vietnam.

This program is founded by our partnership with Asia Foundation has shown us good success. This program is competing for the limited resources we have with other programs in other countries around the world. To date students here achieving good grades, a high graduation rate, and improved job opportunities as well as better pay after they have graduated. These factors are making us continue to support these scholarships as the hard earned money of my father is well spent. The graduating women will help their family, their neighborhood, and their country and are role models for future generations of young women. Continue your focus, as it is imperative for success.

My parents did not have a chance to get an education in Africa but they were very smart and they became successful. As we grew up, they made sure we got an education. We moved to different countries, changed school systems and I had to learn my new languages. It was not easy. One of their proudest moments is when my brother and I graduated from university.

It is difficult to get a job without a degree and a lot of work experience. I started, as a clerk, then worked in administration at a university, became a buyer then a manager, worked as an Oracle consultant, and then went to Aerospace manufacturing as well as medical implants.

No matter how difficult it was to keep up with the changing world and economy, I always found a good job, I worked full time for 30 years. I had a good career path. To enhance my career, I took on additional assignment at work as well as classes like Oracle, blueprint reading, government contracts, supply chain management, etc. It’s hard work but you can do it. Learning is a lifelong endeavor and I am privileged to be part of yours as it gets started.

My father would have been very proud and I am so happy to be here in person. Congratulations to all of you and I look forward to meeting some of you and hearing your success stories in the near future.

Concluding Remarks:

By 2016, nearly 500 young women will be a Merali Scholar graduate from Asia, and 500 more in the rest of the world.