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Ashoka University graduate in the running for global McCall MacBain Scholarships

For the second year in a row, an Ashoka University graduate is a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarships, Canada’s largest leadership-based scholarships for master’s and professional studies.

Office of PR & Communications

7 February, 2024 | 4m read

Kiran Sahani, an Ashoka University Alumni, is among 37 international finalists from around the world. She is the only finalist from an Indian university this year. Students and graduates of more than 2,250 universities applied for the scholarships, and 277 participated in a first round of regional interviews in October and November.

The scholarships are the result of a landmark C$200 million gift in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, then the largest single donation in Canadian history.

Designed to encourage purposeful leadership, the scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development program. McGill is ranked 30th best university in the world by QS World University Rankings 2024.

She will travel to Canada for the first time to attend final interviews in March, with travel expenses covered by the scholarship program. “Montréal, the city of students, mountains, and snow, the city of aspirants and passion. I am most excited to meet new people, explore the food, culture, ice skating, and old buildings of Montréal.”

Each finalist was chosen based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic strength, and intellectual curiosity. 

Kiran has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a postgraduate diploma from Ashoka University, and worked as a mentor to resident assistants. Through Jagran, a community-based club that she co-founded 10 years ago with support from World Vision India, she has helped organize more than 100 street plays, puppet shows, and campaigns to address social issues. Kiran volunteered for eight years with World Vision, led outreach for an organization helping marginalized students get into Indian universities, and now facilitates educational sessions for students aged 5 to 18 as a Play for Peace volunteer. Having witnessed health challenges faced by the Dalit community, Kiran intends to pursue a master’s degree in public health or education.

“Being named a finalist for the McCall MacBain Scholarship is a humbling affirmation of my dedication to education and community impact,” said Kiran. “I am excited about the prospect of contributing to positive change on a broader scale. I am grateful for this opportunity to make a lasting impact on my academic journey and beyond.”

“Integrity, kindness, curiosity, and courage are the characteristics we want to see in the next generation of leaders,” said Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, Chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “By connecting emerging talent to an outstanding graduate education and a community of peers and mentors, we hope to encourage positive leadership for Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and the world.”

“More than 300 senior volunteer leaders were involved in selecting this year’s finalists,” said Natasha Sawh, Chief Executive Officer of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “Our team is very much looking forward to welcoming the finalists – who have already distinguished themselves as the top candidates globally – to Montreal in March. We extend our warmest thanks to the universities that nominated them for this opportunity.”

A cohort of up to 30 McCall MacBain Scholars will be selected after final interviews. International finalists who are not selected for the cohort will be eligible to receive a $20,000 Finalist Award.
Applications will open in June 2024 for the 2025 cohort. In addition to the 30 fully funded McCall MacBain Scholarships each year, up to 100 additional awards, valued at $5,000 to $20,000, are offered to candidates. More information about the McCall MacBain Scholarships can be found at mccallmacbainscholars.org.

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