The University of Oxford will be retaining its Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Graduate Scholarship after new allegations have been made against the ruler. The Sheikh was initially accused of kidnapping and detaining his daughter, Princess Latifa, in 2018 when she tried to leave Dubai. New footage obtained by the BBC shows Princess Latifa claiming that she has been held hostage since her failed escape in 2018. The UN has since requested proof from the UAE that Princess Latifa is alive.
The Oxford-Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Graduate Scholarships are available to applicants that are nationals of a range of countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and the UAE, amongst others. They are available to applicants for all full-time Master’s and DPhil courses, excluding MBAs, and the highest preference for the scholarship is given to nationals of the UAE applying to Master’s and DPhil courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences divisions. The scholarship was founded in 2016.
The scholarships are jointly funded by the University of Oxford and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2007, and aims “to empower future generations and enable them to devise sustainable solutions to facilitate the process of knowledge and research in the Arab World.”
David Haigh of the #FreeLatifa campaign told Cherwell: “In Latifa’s particular case, one of the things that she wanted to do was study. […] That was denied to her, essentially, by her family. How do you explain to Latifa, watching this, that she, having spent 2 decades of her life trying to get basic things like freedom, being able to go to university, [she] isn’t allowed that?”
“Is it right to take money from someone that has been found to have consistently broken laws around the world, the very worst type of laws, and as we speak holding his daughter hostage such that […] people have had to speak up?”
Marcus Essabri, cousin of Princess Latifa, told Cherwell: “I think what’s important is highlighting that his own daughters want to have an education. It doesn’t make sense.”
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said: “The agreement between the University and MBRF was signed in 2016 and we have no plans to review or change the scholarship at this time.’’
The Media Office for the Government of Dubai has been contacted for comment.