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Mohamed Elhag is smiling to the left of the camera wearing a crisp blue suit. ;

Meet Mohamed, a Student of the Sanctuary Appeal

The Sanctuary Programme is a King’s scholarship programme that aims to support students who have been forcibly displaced through factors like persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. Over the last eight years, the Sanctuary Programme has provided full tuition fee and living cost support to over 50 scholars, including 13 from Ukraine since 2022. In a new piece Students of the Sanctuary Appeal, we meet Mohamed Elhag, who has just started his second year at King’s as a Politics BSc student. He received a Jesus the Light Sanctuary Scholarship. When Mohamed was seven years old, his parents were forced to leave their much-loved home. Here, Mohamed tells us about his journey to King’s and the impact of student support.

Mohamed Elhag is sat at a bench dressed in a blue suit talking to someone wearing a splotchy blue and white dress who has their back turned to the camera.

Can you tell us a little about your family’s journey to the UK?

My family was forced to relocate from Egypt to the UK prior to the 2011 Revolution, due to declining political and socioeconomic conditions. My ignorance of the situation meant that I did not initially understand why we, in my view at the time, were ‘choosing’ to leave our home, family, friends and many other things behind.

That must have been difficult. When did you start to think about the reasons behind your parents’ decision to move?

At first, all my memories of Egypt started fading away as I assimilated more into my academic and social life in the UK. That is, until my A-levels. I was shocked to find that 40 per cent of my A-level History course consisted of the period between the 1908 fall of the Ottoman Empire and the 2011 Arab Spring Revolution. I gradually became more aware of the dire situation which forced my parents to make the difficult decision to relocate.

Mohamed Elhag stands and rests his arms on a white marble plinth with the London skyline behind him. He is dressed in a blue navy suit.

Did that impact on your decision to study at King’s?

Yes, it influenced me to pursue an academic career with the aim of finding out more about the driving factors behind political instability and dissolution. In this respect, my decision to study Politics at King’s was a step in this direction.

How are you enjoying the course and King’s so far?

I thoroughly enjoy the mixture of theoretical and empirical content. My professors always push me to think beyond the conventional arguments and concepts in the literature. Being part of the King’s community is inspiring. All the staff members and alumni are always willing to help.

We’re so glad you’ve enjoyed your first year at King’s. What are your hopes for after your time here?

Once I have completed my degree and graduated from King’s, I hope to pursue further studies in the political economy field before going on to pursue a career in diplomacy.

Mohamed Elhag sits on a bench with his shoes resting on the seat.

We know that Student Finance was not an option for you as those with forced migrant status are not typically eligible to apply for it. What difference did your Sanctuary Scholarship make?

I would not have been able to attend any university at all if I had not been awarded the scholarship.

How important is it for donors to support the Sanctuary Scholarship Programme?

Donor support is very important; it enables students to pursue their aims without the stress of financial constraints. Individuals awarded these scholarships are likely to go on to contribute to our society in some positive form. In this respect, any investment in these individuals is an investment not merely in their own future, but in all our futures.

What message do you have for those thinking of supporting the Sanctuary Programme?

Please keep supporting this scholarship programme. Without your funding, capable students like myself would be precluded from achieving their ambitions and making a difference.

The ambitious scale of the Sanctuary Programme’s work builds on King’s longstanding strengths in creating opportunities for forcefully displaced people, and is made possible by generous philanthropic donors. If you are interested in finding out more or supporting this work, please visit or contact Sarah Cook Find out more about how you can have a transformational impact on society by donating to King’s.

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