When Azizjon Azimi graduated from New York University in 2016, he knew he was lucky. Most students in his home country of Tajikistan do not have the educational opportunities that he has had after coming to the United States as a teenager.

“What kind of use would they have made of those opportunities had they been in my place?” Azimi wondered.

The following year, Azimi launched TajRupt, a nonprofit venture pioneering development of critical thinking skills and civic engagement among the youth in Tajikistan. But to improve the organization and make it sustainable in a developing country, he needed guidance. In 2017, he enrolled in a dual MBA/MPA program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. At Stanford, Azimi is a member of the inaugural cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS), a community of future global leaders working to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation.

“Be ready to challenge yourself and in the process gain an insight that might improve you as a person and as a leader.”

–Azizjon Azimi

MBA Candidate

Launched in 2016 by Nike founder and GSB alum Phil Knight and former Stanford president John Hennessy, the program is the largest fully endowed international scholarship program in the world. It offers students three years of funding for graduate study at Stanford in any field, as well as a host of programs and support for scholars to expand their knowledge, gain leadership skills and build relationships that will aid them in their lives and careers.

The first class of 51 scholars arrived in autumn 2018. They were joined by 68 scholars a year later. These two cohorts represent 32 countries and 73 undergraduate institutions. Scholars currently study in 53 degree programs across Stanford’s seven schools. KHS recently offered admission to its third cohort, which will enroll this autumn. The program will announce the final cohort in May after responses are due to the graduate programs.

In June, Azimi and some of his fellows scholars in the KHS program will graduate from Stanford, prepared to lead in everything from community health and government to business and computer science.