MPOWER Global Citizen Scholarship Winners Include Young Leaders from India, Venezuela, Nepal

by MPOWER Financing | In In The News, Pick of the month | 7 April 2022 | Updated on: April 8th, 2022

Spring is here, and we’re happy to announce the winners for the first rounds of our 2022 Global Citizen Scholarship! We read a diverse group of essays submitted by over 2,500 students from 141 different countries during this scholarship round. These inspiring stories came from students seeking degrees from the undergraduate to doctorate level in degree programs spanning from political science to business administration to healthcare ethics and urban planning. 

With so many amazing candidates, it was difficult to select only three winners! Our committee was impressed with our applicants’ academic achievements, storytelling, and determination. However, after much debate, the scholarship committee selected our three winners for the Global Citizen Scholarship. 

Read about our selections below to learn how these international students empower themselves and others to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.


MPOWER’s Global Citizen Scholarship winners are:

Grand Prize Winner: Daniel Justus Appadurai, MBA Student Creating Sustainable Infrastructure
India, Carnegie Mellon University

Daniel Appadurai wants to create sustainable infrastructure in rural areas to improve people’s lives in rural communities in India and worldwide. His dream was born from his experience cycling 12 miles to elementary school each day as a child.

He worked with India’s largest infrastructure development firm to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for construction projects. In 2019, Appadurai designed a solution for a $1.5 billion bridge in Mumbai to save an important habitat for migratory birds without harming the project. He writes, “When I see the flamingos still visit the mudflats for breeding, I am reminded of the broader impact on sustainable development.”

After earning his MBA, Daniel wants to consult public- and private-sector leaders on how infrastructure can “drive changes so that every child will access infrastructure, be it housing, roads, [or] communications, and thus, opportunities.”


Runner-Up: Wilmer Gonzalez, International Law Student and Human Rights Activist
Venezuela, Fordham Univeristy

Wilmer Gonzalez has dedicated his life to freeing people suffering from legal persecution. In Venezuela, he represented victims of human rights violations by acting as a legal advocate for unfairly detained students, sexual assault survivors, and those who were wrongfully convicted.

Wilmer is a member of the indigenous Wayuu people and the LGTBQ+ community. He hopes that by representing these groups, his accomplishments will inspire a more diverse and fair legal system. For Wilmer, his activism goes beyond career-building — it’s “a way of resistance, self-empowerment, and fulfillment.” 

In 2019, Wilmer had to flee his country because of attempts on his life by criminals. Despite this, he continues to fight for human rights. After earning his law degree, he hopes to continue his work in advocating for vulnerable communities’ rights before international jurisdiction. 


Honorable Mention: Priyanka Shrestha, Researcher and Healthcare System Designer
Nepal, University of Washington, Seattle

Priyanka Shrestha’s goal is to help communities worldwide by helping develop robust community healthcare systems. She saw firsthand how social inequality hurts health outcomes when patients lack access to treatments and care after witnessing her cousin’s fight against malaria. 

She’s worked with the World Health Organization and coordinated with over a dozen global partners to design community healthcare approaches in Colombia, Nigeria, and her home country of Nepal. 

After earning her Ph.D., Priyanka wants to “transform the female community health workers model… build local research capacity… confidently lead and implement sustainable interventions, and become an example for many small-town young women like [herself].”


The next round of our Global Citizen Scholarship is live. We’re once again awarding US$14,000 for academic and educational expenses to three winners — apply before July 15, 2022 for a chance to be selected. For more scholarship opportunities, explore our MBA, Women in STEM, and Monthly Special Series scholarships. Finally, if you’re facing a funding shortfall, consider applying for an MPOWER loan. We offer student loans for up to US$100,000, check to see if you’re eligible to apply

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