Scholarship remembers murdered international student
Murdered Israeli overseas student Aiia Maasarwe will be remembered with a scholarship designed to support students encountering financial hardship.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the establishment of the ‘Aiia Maasarwe Memorial Scholarship’ for local or international students experiencing financial hardship in a move backed by Aiia’s family.
The scholarship will cover course fees, provide an annual stipend and will be open to students undertaking an undergraduate degree or PhD students undertaking research to address the safety of women and girls.
The annual scholarship will be funded through a $700,000 one-off contribution from the Victorian Government and La Trobe University covering course fees, equivalent of up to $660,000.
Aiia Maasarwe, a Palestinian woman with Israeli citizenship, died in January after being attacked on her way to her home. Aiia was studying at La Trobe University.
There was a public outpouring of grief for Aiia and support for the Maasarwe family including students and staff at the university holding a vigil to honour Aiia, with community vigils also held at Parliament House and on the number 86 tram route.
Members of the Maasarwe family have met with representatives from La Trobe University and Premier Daniel Andrews to finalise arrangements for the scholarship.
The Premier also met with members of Project Rozana including Dr Khadra Salami, senior paediatrician in haematology oncology, the inaugural recipient of the Aiia Maasarwe Memorial Medical Fellowship Program.
Premier Andrews said Aiie’s death had touched all Victorians.
“Victorians were united in sadness at Aiia’s death. This scholarship is a small way that we can remember Aiia, the promise she had and the inspiration she has provided to improve our world,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor of La Trobe University Professor John Dewar said the scholarship would be a perpetual memorial top Aiie
“The life-changing power of education was very important to Aiia and to her family. This scholarship will create new opportunities and leave long-lasting benefits for generations of young people,” Prof Dewar said.
“The La Trobe community will always remember Aiia as an intelligent, warm and generous student. We are honoured to partner with the State Government to deliver the Aiia Maasarwe Memorial Scholarship in perpetuity and thank Premier Andrews for supporting this initiative,” he said.
Codey Hermann, 20, has appeared in court charged with Aiie’s murder.
A murder conviction carries a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment and rape carries a potential maximum of 25 years.
Mr Herrmann, 20, was an aspiring rap artist and regularly posted lyrics from his songs on a Facebook page under the rap name McCodez.