Globe, the Geneva Graduate Institute Review
27 November 2023

Introducing the Maria Rosario Lazzati Niada Scholarship for Afghan Women

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In order to support the education of Afghan women at a time when access to higher education is highly restricted for women, the Geneva Graduate Institute has partnered with the association Arghosha Faraway Schools to establish a postgraduate scholarship to help talented Afghan women develop their studies in international relations and development. These scholarships are awarded without distinction of ethnic origin or religion to Afghan women who already have undergraduate university degrees.


The scholarship is named in memory of Maria Rosario Lazzati Niada. Lazzati Niada was a high school history and literature teacher. She graduated magna cum laude from the State University of Milan with a degree in the History of Christianity. Her research focused on the woman’s condition, in particular the persecutions and mass murders of tens of thousands of women in Europe accused of witchcraft between the 13th and 17th centuries.

In 2005, Lazzati Niada was a driving force in establishing a charity in Afghanistan focusing on women’s education: the Comitato Arghosha Faraway Schools. Since then, the organisation has funded the construction of 15 schools for 8,000 for primary and secondary students, mostly girls. Until 2019, when Covid paralysed international mobility, Lazzati Niada visited Afghanistan every year to assess the project’s implementation around the country and plan future initiatives.

Lazzati Niada passed away in 2022, and the establishment of the scholarship in her name will allow her dedication to furthering Afghan women’s education to live on in a world that needs it now more than ever. Following the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, women were progressively barred from classrooms. Banned from continuing education beyond puberty, girls and women formally lost access to secondary education and universities, while also discouraging younger girls from feeling secure in their schools. According to UNESCO, 80% of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are now out of school.

The master programmes at the Geneva Graduate Institute aim to broaden the reach of Afghan women’s university education abroad, giving them a competitive advantage in the global community. The scholarship aims to provide its students with access to an academic or diplomatic career, a job in international and non-governmental organisations or in international corporate companies. Successful scholarship applicants will have the opportunity to enrol in a two-year master programme at the Institute. 

Learn more about the Maria Rosario Lazzati Niada Scholarship for Afghan Women and how to apply


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