EBRD announces winners of first Olivier Descamps Award

By Axel  Reiserer

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UWC scholarship winner, Naina Beishembieva, EBRD President Suma Chkrabarti, UWC scholarship winner, Nurzhan Amanov and his mum, Asel Amanova, EBRD Bishkek Office Manager.


President Chakrabarti meets beneficiaries of two scholarships in Bishkek 

Naina Beishembieva and Nurzhan Amanov have been awarded the first Olivier Descamps scholarships to attend the United World College Maastricht in the Netherlands.

The two students from the Kyrgyz Republic were met by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti during his visit to the capital Bishkek today. The EBRD together with the family of the Bank’s late Managing Director Olivier Descamps is funding the scholarships.

“It was a pleasure to meet these two very impressive young people,” Sir Suma said. “I am sure Olivier would have been equally struck by their energy and enthusiasm. We wish them all the best in their studies and are very grateful to United World Colleges for helping make this possible.”

Of the two winners, Naina’s dream is to become a teacher of maths or science or to work in bio-engineering to research cures for serious diseases.

“Besides endless happiness and huge gratitude, I feel great responsibility that I have been given this chance,” she said. “I have to study as much as possible to show all the other girls in my country what’s possible, if you follow your dreams.”

Her fellow winner Nurzhan is interested in science and sports. He considers climate change to be one of the biggest future challenges.

“As well as excitement about the upcoming journey, I feel increased responsibility to fulfil the expectations placed on me,” he said. “I want to use the chance for personal development and increase my knowledge. It is a tough challenge, but I'll do my best to succeed.”

The two scholarships of up to £40,000 each reflect the lifelong interest of the Bank’s late EBRD Managing Director in the institution’s countries of operations and its people. The award is designed to help young people from underprivileged backgrounds and to support families of local EBRD staff members.

While the scholarships are funded by the EBRD, the selection process was managed by UWC. Naina Beishembieva from Bishkek is EBRD non-dependant, while Nurzhan Amanov is the son of an EBRD-dependant.


The programme was open to applicants aged 15-18 years from all the EBRD’s countries of operations. The scholarship was designed to support one EBRD staff member’s dependant and one other child from the region who does not need to be dependent of an EBRD staff member.

The selection panel was formed of individuals from UWC national committees in the region (Greece, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Latvia and Armenia). UWC received applications from Lebanon, Moldova, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Georgia, Latvia, Mongolia, Egypt, Belarus, Croatia, Hungary and Romania.

Selection panel members did not interview candidates from their own country.

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