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Ashoka University Student Becomes the Sole South Asian to Receive McCall MacBain Scholarship

She is among the 10 global recipients. It will enable her to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree at McGill University, Canada

Ashoka University’s alum Kiran Sahani has become the only South Asian recipient of the McCall MacBain Global Scholarship awarded by McGill University in Montréal, Canada this year. She is one of the 10 global recipients of the scholarship. This marks the second consecutive year that a graduate from Ashoka University has secured the highly competitive and prestigious scholarship.

The McCall MacBain Scholarships are Canada’s largest leadership-based scholarships for master’s and professional studies. They are the result of a landmark $200 million gift (about Rs 1,240 crore) in 2019 by John and Marcy McCall MacBain, the then-largest single donation in the country’s history. Designed to encourage purposeful leadership, the scholarships enable students to pursue a fully funded master’s or professional degree while participating in mentorship, coaching, and a leadership development programme.

Expressing her gratitude, Kiran Sahani stated, “Receiving this prestigious scholarship is an incredible honour that fills me with gratitude and joy. I am deeply committed to leveraging this opportunity to further my mission of advocating for equity, empowerment, and access to education, particularly for marginalised communities.” Driven by her firsthand experiences of witnessing health disparities within marginalised communities, she will pursue a master’s degree in public health at McGill.

“My favourite aspects of the final interviews included meeting the distinguished professors of McGill University, forging strong bonds with fellow finalists, and engaging in insightful conversations with the interviewers, who helped me recognise my true potential by reflecting on my journey,” she further mentioned.

“These students inspire us with their compassion and drive,” said Dr. Marcy McCall MacBain, Chair of the McCall MacBain Scholarships at McGill. “Our shared mission is to provide them with an unparalleled graduate education, leadership development opportunities, mentors, and lifelong connections. We hope to accelerate their ability to make an impact in communities across Quebec, Canada, and around the world.”

Born and raised in Kolkata, Kiran holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sociology and Anthropology from Ashoka University. She has served as a mentor to resident assistants and co-founded Jagran, a community-based club, ten years ago with support from World Vision India. Through Jagran, she has organised over 100 street plays, puppet shows, and campaigns addressing social issues. She volunteered with World Vision for eight years, spearheaded outreach initiatives to aid marginalised students in accessing Indian universities, and conducted educational sessions for students aged 5 to 18 as a Play for Peace volunteer. She has also served as an outdoor activity leader in Vietnam.

Somak Raychaudhury, Vice Chancellor, Ashoka University, congratulated Sahani and her parents. “Kiran’s commitment to community empowerment and social justice is truly inspiring. At Ashoka, we aim to instil a profound sense of purpose and a global perspective in our students. Kiran’s journey exemplifies the realisation of this commitment. She embodies the spirit of leadership, empathy, and social impact that defines our educational philosophy.”

Each McCall MacBain scholar was selected based on their character, community engagement, leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, academic prowess, and intellectual curiosity, undergoing a rigorous seven-month selection process, including a final round of interviews in Montréal.

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