Maged Atiya Scholarship

About the Maged Atiya Scholarship

Maged Atiya (1953-2020), was a physicist, an entrepreneur, and intellectual and a leading light for the Coptic Diaspora. Born in Cairo, Egypt, he emigrated to the United States with his family in 1969, joining his great uncle, the Coptic historian Aziz Suryal Atiya. Receiving a Masters and a Ph.D. in Physics from Columbia University, he worked for many years as an experimental particle physicist, before starting his own company ScholarChip, an industry leader in smart-card technology.

Following the Arab Spring, Maged started writing about Coptic identity and Middle Eastern history using his blogging and twitter pseudonym salamamoussa. A brilliant intellectual with an encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the Copts, he nurtured a new generation of Coptic activists and thinkers through his writings, advice and financial support.

In 2019, Maged Atiya started the Pope Cyril IV scholarship program with Coptic Orphans to support young Copts studying politics, international relations, and journalism at prestigious U.S. universities.

It is our honor today to rename the scholarship after him. The Maged Atiya Scholarship program carries on Maged Atiya’s legacy of advocacy for his people. Maged believed that education was key to advancement and worked tirelessly to both educate non-Copts about the Coptic predicament as well as helping Copts rediscover their identity in the Diaspora.

In memory of Maged, Coptic Orphans launched the Maged Atiya scholarship in 2020 as a merit-based scholarship program serving the organization’s mission to engage Coptic Diaspora in the issues that are deemed important to the welfare and status of Copts in the homeland. Through this scholarship, Coptic Orphans is committed to support a generation of promising Coptic American youth as they embark on their higher education journey in prestigious US universities in the fields of Journalism, Political Science, Public Policy, and International Relations.

This program is an unprecedented initiative by a Coptic nonprofit organization supporting higher education. The aim of this initiative is to facilitate exceptional intellectual development and character building of young Coptic Americans who are passionate about their heritage and faith, as well as the future and welfare of their fellow Copts in Egypt.

It is anticipated that the awardee would pursue a career that influences policy, advocate for the Coptic cause, and spearhead positive change in the political, economic and social spheres for Copts in Egypt and around the world.

The scholarship is awarded annually to one young Coptic American applying to an undergraduate program at a prestigious school in the US. The amount of the scholarship is paid directly to the awardee and set at $20,000 ($5,000 a year for four years).

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for the scholarship, applicant:

  • Must be a Coptic Orthodox American residing in the US.
  • Has already applied to a university undergrad program and has been accepted. Fields of Study are limited to: Journalism, Political Science, Public Policy, and International Relations.
  • Has been or is currently actively involved in volunteering, church service or other extracurricular activities.
  • Is able to demonstrate awareness of and commitment to the Coptic cause and the promotion of Copts’ issues in the homeland. This includes but is not limited to past trips to Egypt and serving the Coptic Community there.

Awardee Commitments

Once awarded the scholarship, the awardee will be provided with a list of mentors who are available to help put together a plan to ensure the awardee fulfills the scholarship objectives while maintaining an excellent academic standing. The awardee is expected to submit quarterly progress reports after consulting with their mentor(s).

Under the supervision of the assigned mentor, the awardee is also expected to accomplish one or more of the following requirements in the time leading to graduation from the designated university:

  • Volunteer for Coptic Orphans for one month or more during a summer session
  • Complete one internship at any of the following: think tanks, government agencies, Congress, top newspapers, international organizations, major corporations, or other relevant organizations, or publishing advocacy pieces on Copts in official outlets.

Finally, the awardee is expected to pursue a career where (s)he can influence policy and/ or advocate for the Coptic cause.

Scholarship Renewal

The scholarship will be renewed every year (for up to three times) provided that the awardee:

  • submits proof of good academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.0)
  • has successfully submitted quarterly progress reports for the previous academic year pertaining to the plans they have put together with their mentor(s).

Application Package

An applicant should complete and submit an application form and provide the following documentation as part of the application process:

  • A Personal Statement explaining the applicant’s suitability for the scholarship (800 words max).
  • An essay responding to this question: “What does being Coptic Orthodox mean to you?” (800 words max.)
  • Copy of SAT or ACT scores.
  • Copy of Essays submitted to the University.
  • Two recommendation letters from credible people who have a close relationship with the applicant and are aware of their character traits and personal development (e.g. priest/ father of confession, high school counselor/ teacher, church ministry or volunteering supervisor, or any other type of mentor). Letters of recommendation should be emailed directly to:

Application and Decision Timeline

Applications Open: January 1st
Applications Deadline: April 15th
Interviews with candidates: First half of May
Final Decision communicated with awardee: June 1st
Award Ceremony in Washington DC: Mid-June

Contact Us:

For general questions about the scholarship, please email us at:

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