The Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation operates on a simple belief: ensuring children are healthy and educated today will prepare them to be the leaders of tomorrow. It’s a principle Dr. Djavad Mowafaghian, the renowned philanthropist who founded the Vancouver-based foundation in 2003, learned from his mother, who always modeled kindness and generosity during his childhood in Iran.
With this motivation in mind, the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation has given $500,000 to UBC’s Blue & Gold Campaign for Students—the largest campaign for students in UBC’s history, with a goal to raise $100 million in student support over three years. This gift was matched by the university to establish the first ever Presidential Scholar Award. The $1 million endowment will provide $20,000 renewable entrance awards to recognize students who have been exceptional, both academically and as leaders, during their high school careers.
The Presidential Scholar Awards are a priority for the Blue & Gold Campaign, as well as for UBC President Santa J. Ono. “With the Djavad Mowafaghian Presidential Scholar Award, UBC will recruit the best and brightest students with the skills, talent and vision to make the world a better place,” said Professor Ono. “UBC is honoured to carry out Dr. Mowafaghian’s vision to ensure that our youth have access to the education and resources that they need to make an impact on the world. Thank you for changing their world so they can change ours.”
“Receiving a scholarship is life-changing for a student. It was for me,” said Erica Mason, a 5th-year student studying civil engineering at UBC. “It let me focus on my studies, and immerse myself in student life. It was incredibly meaningful that people who’ve never met me believed in me. It motivated me to aim higher, to use my education in engineering to make a difference.”
It is stories like this that inspire the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation. “As a society, to get better and stronger in the future, we need to invest in children today,” says Hamid Eshghi, president of the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation and Dr. Mowafaghian’s nephew. “Many of these students will be very successful leaders of the future. This is an excellent program.”
The Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation’s most recent gift builds on their incredible support of UBC in the past decade. Notably, the foundation donated a $15 million gift help to build of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Opened in 2014, the centre unites research and clinical care in neuroscience, psychiatry and neurology. The foundation has also supported young scholars to carry out research into children’s health and education through the Human Early Learning Partnership and gave a gift to name the Djavad Mowafaghian Atrium in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, which does extensive public outreach work to get kids excited about science, conservation, and biodiversity.