El-Aggan Family Muslim Community Award supports journalism and communication students

It’s a perfect match—a generous local family partnering with Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication to create a bursary for Muslim students who are preparing for a media career.

In March, the El-Aggan family of Ottawa made a pledge of $50,000 to the El-Aggan Family Muslim Community Award. The bursary will be awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate student in the School of Journalism and Communication who is a member of the Muslim community and who demonstrates interest in the area of Muslim human rights in Canada. The family’s gift has been matched by the Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS) and the award will be worth approximately $4,500 annually.

According to Mrs. Fatma El-Mehelmy, the family’s donation is in recognition of the significant contribution that Muslim-Canadians make to society and of the need to enable a broader representation of all Canadians in the media. “We hope that this award to one of the best schools of journalism and communication will attract young Muslim Canadians to fairly represent their communities in the media, especially in the area of human rights.”

The El-Aggan family immigrated from Egypt in 1990 and settled in Ottawa. Setting up shop in the basement of their home, Mr. El-Aggan, his wife Fatma El-Mehelmy and their children slowly built their own software business ViaSafe. The company flourished and, in 2006, the family sold ViaSafe to a public company.

“We are very pleased that the El Aggan family has chosen to support students in our journalism and communication programs with generous bursaries,” says Professor Karim Karim, the school’s director. “Human rights are a key part of the study of our two disciplines.”

The first recipient will likely be selected for the 2007-2008 school year.

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