Louis Dreyfus Weidenfeld and Hoffmann Scholarship Program

19 April 2022
Louis Dreyfus Foundation’s decade-long partnership with the Weidenfeld and Hoffmann Trust (WHT) has led to the support of more than 90 leaders from 40 emerging countries in their studies at the University of Oxford.

The partnership, which began in 2012, offers these young leaders a fully funded scholarship to study at this prestigious university. Scholars have pursued various educational programs including Master programs in environmental management, water sciences, biodiversity conservation, public policy, and global health. The scholarship is complemented by a comprehensive Leadership Program that equips scholars with the necessary knowledge, skills and networks to become leaders in their respective fields.

The Scholarship and Leadership Program has allowed our scholars to pursue impactful careers, both in their home countries and around the world. Most scholars are currently active in the environment and sustainability sector, with an outstanding number of them working on climate change and water management. Other have succeeded in the policy and governance sector, being appointed to senior positions within international organisations or holding key roles in their home countries’ public administrations or governments. Our scholars are also fostering change in the heath sector, for instance contributing to improving diseases’ surveillance thanks to innovative technologies and tools. Lastly, some former students are having an impact in the enterprise sector, for example by developing new software for the recruitment and job markets.

Looking back at 10 years of involvement, it is rewarding to look back and behold their journey.

Olatunji Yusuf, Nigeria, MSc Environmental Change and Management, 2014

Olatunji Yusuf

Olatunji is a Senior Change Specialist within the Global Practice Directorate of the Islamic Development Bank Group. He is responsible for implementing the Bank's climate change strategy in the context of the financed operations and investment portfolios. In this role, he supports the Bank's 57 member countries in the implementation of their low carbon strategy and their climate resilient development plans as well as in their transition to a green economy. He leads the Bank´s engagement in the Joint Multilateral Development Banks (jMDB) climate change working groups on mitigation, climate finance reporting and alignment with the Paris Agreement.

“I have always wanted to be at the forefront of international development practice as impact at scale is very much needed in emerging economies. The WHT-LDF scholarship made this dream come true. WHT and LDF entirely changed my way of thinking about giving back. I am forever thankful to them for their generous contribution and helping me dream and support others.”

Rahul Nayar, India, Master of Public Policy, 2013-2014

Rahul Nayar

Rahul currently leads the Government of India’s AGNIi (Accelerating Growth of New India’s Innovations, Mission, an emerging technologies programme under the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council. Previously he advised on national digital strategy, designed antifragile governance innovation platforms and worked on social innovation financing, rural digital empowerment, and media innovation strategy. In the private sector, Rahul has worked in emerging technology consulting and venture capital; and on start-up and government collaboration in the non-profit sector.

"LDF has equipped me with the tools - and the awesome responsibility - to make a definitive difference. As Head of the AGNIi Mission, I am restructuring a government emerging technologies programme to focus more aggressively on India's battle against climate change, and for ecological sustainability. In giving me the opportunity to study public policy at Oxford, LDF has helped me access an arsenal of ideas, thinking, and strategies to advance this. To LDF, I owe a debt of gratitude, and a lifetime's commitment to making that difference."

Carolina Torres Uribe, Colombia, MSc Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, 2017

Carolina Torres Uribe

Carolina is an Industrial Engineer with a strong interest in the conservation of wildlife and biodiversity, and the use of new technologies for conservation purposes. After graduating from Oxford, she now works with the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia coordinating community-based research for human and wildlife conflict mitigation to prevent farmers from losing livestock to predators and help them build capacity for livestock management. She previously worked with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Colombia, focusing on policy for green growth and climate change within companies and cities. 

“The scholarship is one of the best things that happened in my life, and years spent in Oxford are certainly the most rewarding experience ever, both professionally and personally. Thanks to the knowledge and skills that I acquired, I am now working for a leading international NGO in Namibia dedicated to saving cheetahs in the wild, and working on my own conservation project through the creation of Thera, an NGO. Thanks to LDF for empowering and supporting people from developing countries to help them achieve their dreams and life goals!”

On top of providing scholars with fully funded scholarships allowing them to pursue their studies at Oxford, this partnership creates a space for bringing together scholars and alumni and discussing current topics connected with the Louis Dreyfus Foundation’s mission and priorities, such as hunger and poverty alleviation, food security and resilience to climate change. In 2020, the webinar A Glimpse into the Future of Food Security featured alumni and their work aimed at improving the livelihoods of small farmers or contributing to environmental preservation, among others. In 2021, another webinar was organised by WHT and our scholars and alumni to discuss the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) that took place in Glasgow, Scotland from 31 October to13 November 2021. As many of LDF-WHT scholars and alumni were directly involved in the COP26 discussions, this event gave an opportunity to get their insights on climate policies and actions.