QS World Merit Social Responsibility Scholarship: 2022 winner | Top Universities

QS World Merit Social Responsibility Scholarship: 2022 winner

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Aisha Khan

Updated Sep 05, 2022




We’re pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 QS Social Responsibility Scholarship is Illustrious Amaewhule Ewhorlu. This scholarship, valued at $10,000, is designed to identify applicants who demonstrate a strong level of environmental awareness and a sense of social responsibility.  

We caught up with Illustrious to learn more about his study plans and his experience at the United Nations Day in 2018.  

What do you plan to do with the scholarship in terms of further study? 

First and foremost, I would like to thank the entire QS team for this scholarship. Honestly, I feel greatly honoured to have been selected as the recipient of this prestigious scholarship award. 

In August 2022, I was accepted into Tufts University to study an M.S. in Sustainability. So, I intend to use this scholarship to fund my graduate degree. This scholarship award covers a proportion of my programme’s fees, and without it, I would be unable to attend. 

What valuable insights did you learn from attending the United Nations Day in 2018? 

I will begin by saying that hard work works hard, and when combined with a strong passion, it can lead to life-changing opportunities as well as tremendous positive societal change. I say this because I was out at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, organising seminars and workshops on sustainability when my work on the environment reached Anastasia Novikova, the 2018 United Nations Youth Envoy in Russia for Sustainable Development Goals.  

I was then invited to the United Nations Day in 2018. There, I met and rubbed minds with various eco-activists and gave a comprehensive speech on how tree planting can be used to tackle climate change. 

Among the valuable insights I learned from attending the United Nations Day event was the need for collaboration in the fight against climate change. Climate change, sustainable development and clean energy all need expertise and collaboration from every single sector of the economy from every country on the planet. This is a global fight and not one reserved for a select few because we all live on the same planet. 

Most importantly, I learned that fighting climate change and transitioning to a clean energy economy requires more action than talking or attending yearly high-profile international conferences. Bhutan is one of only three countries in the world that is carbon negative, which means it produces more oxygen than it consumes. It generates about 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 each year, yet its forests absorb three times this amount, which eventually creates a carbon sink. Suriname and Panama are also carbon negative.  

These three countries, dubbed "the holy trinity of negative carbon" by many, have already successfully done what many countries plan and aspire to do in the future. However, you’ll rarely hear about them. How did they achieve this? They did this by actually doing the work that is required instead of hosting multinational conferences on sustainability every year. Sustainability needs to be a lifestyle and be ingrained into the constitutions of countries. 

What challenges have you faced when trying to raise awareness for sustainable energy, particularly in an oil rich state? 

The challenges I have faced are numerous. However, the major challenge I have faced is that since Nigeria is an oil and gas-producing country, it is heavily dependent on oil revenues, relying on it to deliver public goods and the use of oil dollars to service debt and bolster the national currency.  

Due to this situation, many people in government are reluctant to look at sustainable energy as they believe it will harm the economy since oil and gas are the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. 

I have also faced issues of people not believing that a transition to sustainable energy is possible due to a lack of infrastructure, high levels of corruption and political instability.  

Furthermore, some people over here are of the opinion that sustainable energy and renewable energy resources are too variable and prefer oil and gas as they are stable and constant as well as readily available. 

What advice would you give to other students who are looking to make a difference in their local communities but are unsure of where to start? 

I would tell them to do a deep personal introspection and discover what they truly love and to use that for societal good. It could be photography. They could use it to raise pollution awareness in their communities. It could be blogging or YouTube vlogging. They may also use it to discuss and demonstrate to the world the ecological challenges that their various communities face. 

What advice do you have for other prospective students who want to apply for the scholarship? 

I would advise them to not give up. Last year, in 2021, I was a finalist for the QS World Merit Academic Excellence Scholarship but eventually did not win the award. In addition, due to visa issues, I was unable to begin my programme. However, I reapplied this year (2022), made it to the finalist round, and eventually won the Social Responsibility Scholarship. 

I would also advise them to thoroughly read and comprehend the scholarship selection criteria very well and try as much as possible to tailor their application to the criteria while adhering to the given instructions. 

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