December 2018

This month we have been visiting Palestinian universities from Bethlehem and Hebron to Tulkarem speaking to university leaders, faculty and students about HESPAL – the Higher Education Scholarships for Palestinians programme, how to apply and how we can develop it further.

The British Council started HESPAL in 2010 with 10 scholarships funded by a range of donors and UK universities who commit to waive fees. With many senior academics retiring, HESPAL aims to create the next generation of UK qualified academics, promote UK-Palestinian links and foster institutional change in Palestinian universities.

Since 2010, 139 HESPAL scholars have completed master’s and PhD degrees in the UK. This academic year 39 scholars are studying for PhD degrees and 24 for master’s degrees in over 30 participating UK universities in subjects ranging from agriculture to engineering and English to pharmacy.

All Palestinian universities in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem participate in the programme and nominate up to 10 candidates each from their junior academic staff in subjects in line with their strategic priorities. Participating UK universities are responsible for the final selection of the scholars.

In 2019/20 we plan to grow HESPAL further thanks also to our funding partners who cover the scholars’ living and other expenses including the Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development, Pears Foundation, Qatar Foundation/Education Above All, Consolidated Contractors International (UK) Ltd and the UK Department for Education. In 2019 we also want to work with HESPAL alumni to focus more on improving teaching practice in Palestine and start a HESPAL alumni network.

The HESPAL application deadline is 23 January 2019 and for more information about HESPAL please visit our website:

UK higher education institutions interested in taking part in the programme in 2019–20 can send an email to Martin Daltry, British Council Director of Occupied Palestinian Territories:

September 2018, London, 2018/2019 HESPAL Scholars
September 2018, London, 2018–19 HESPAL Scholars

In September we held an orientation weekend in London for 42 new Palestinian HESPAL scholars before starting their higher education journey in universities across the UK. The long weekend prepared scholars for the year ahead, on what to expect in their studies and life in the UK. It also enabled them to meet each other, developing a mutual support network, and discuss HESPAL with our main donor represented by Dr Samir Jarrad from the Arab Fund.