Three Canadian Universities Join The MasterCard Foundation's $500 Million Education Initiative to Develop Next-Generation African Leaders

Apr 18, 2013, 10:31 ET from The MasterCard Foundation

10-year global Scholars Program includes $75 million for McGill University, University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto

TORONTO, April 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The MasterCard Foundation today announced McGill University, University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto as the newest partners in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program - a $500 million global education initiative. This Program will provide secondary and university education to an estimated 15,000 young people from developing countries, primarily in Africa.  The MasterCard Foundation will provide $75 million to the three Canadian universities to educate and develop 270 young Scholars from Africa, and prepare them to return to the continent and lead change in their communities. The first cohort of Scholars will arrive in Canada this fall.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars
"The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will develop next-generation leaders who will have a transformational impact in developing countries," said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. "McGill University, University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto bring tremendous expertise to our vision. The diversity and excellence of their institutions will offer Scholars an extraordinary opportunity for learning and exchange of knowledge."

The Program selects bright, motivated young people from economically disadvantaged communities, who despite facing challenges, have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. Of the 270 Scholars in Canada, 91 will study at McGill University (McGill), 112 will study at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and 67 at the University of Toronto (U of T).

A Global Network
McGill, UBC, and U of T now join 12 other university and secondary education partners from around the world. These partners were selected based on their academic excellence, nurturing environments, and programs relevant to economic growth sectors in Africa.

"We are absolutely delighted to participate in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, and thereby build powerful strengths for Africa and Canada, supporting the development of next-generation African leaders, side-by-side with our scholars from across Canada and around the world," said Heather Munroe-Blum, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University. "The Program will allow McGill to further express its strong and longstanding ties with Africa and its commitment to diversity, excellence, and international engagement, while enriching the learning and research that takes place in our own community."

University of British Columbia President Stephen Toope said, "Canada's social and economic links to Africa are perhaps our greatest source of long-term opportunity.  The University of British Columbia is building deep connections across the continent through research, transformative learning opportunities, and community engagement. The UBC community will be enriched by the talent, experience, and insights of UBC's new MasterCard Foundation Scholars who will open up new perspectives on the future of global security."

"We've all seen Asia blossom on the world stage.  Now, as the visionaries at The MasterCard Foundation have seen, it's Africa's turn," said University of Toronto President David Naylor.  "That's why I am so pleased that the University of Toronto will be participating in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.   The Program will help us recruit some of the best and brightest students from Africa.  They will join over 430 students from 31 countries in Africa currently studying at U of T.  And these young leaders will not only play a part in the ongoing rise of Africa, they will also be bridge-builders between that continent and Canada."

Program Design
The Program goes beyond traditional scholarships. It offers Scholars comprehensive support throughout their education, which includes:

  • Orientation processes for a smooth transition into Canada;
  • Comprehensive scholarships (school fees, living expenses, books, stipends, transportation);
  • Mentoring and counselling, including academic and social support;
  • Opportunities for community service, which reinforce ethical leadership; and
  • Career counselling and connections to jobs and networks in the Scholars' home countries.

The African Scholars in Canada will join a peer network of MasterCard Foundation Scholars around the world who share a commitment to giving back to their communities. Together, they will be unified by a common philosophy of change and ethical leadership, and will drive economic growth and social transformation.

The MasterCard Foundation has also engaged an evaluation firm to track and measure the impact of the Program over the next 10 years.

A Focus on Africa
A majority of Scholars in the Program are from Africa, which reflects The MasterCard Foundation's particular focus on the continent. Over the past decade, Africa has been the second-fastest growing region in the world. Sixty-two percent of the continent's population is under the age of 25, and millions of them will need to enter the workforce. However, the region still has the highest rates of poverty, and lags the world in secondary and higher education completion rates.  In order to sustain the continent's rapid growth, it will be essential that its young people have the skills needed to participate in the global knowledge economy.

To learn more about the Program, partners and the Scholars, please visit

About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with more than $6 billion in assets. Through collaboration with partner organizations in 49 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation's programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is separate and independent from the company. Its policies, operations, and funding decisions are determined by its own Foundation Board of Directors and President and CEO. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit

About McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill is a leading Canadian post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 11 professional schools, 300 programs of study and some 38,000 students, including 8,800 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, with more than 7,700 international students making up 20 per cent of the student body. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including more than 6,700 with French as their first language. For more information about McGill University:

About University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America's largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world's 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability, and research commercialization.  UBC offers more than 56,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations, and industry through over 8,000 projects and grants. 

About University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a vibrant and diverse academic community. It includes 80,000 students, 12,000 colleagues holding faculty appointments, 200 librarians, and 6,000 staff members across three distinctive campuses and at many partner sites, including world-renowned hospitals. The University is one of the most respected and influential institutions of higher education and advanced research in the world.  Just last month, the U of T was ranked 16th in the world in the prestigious Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings.  The University is also consistently rated one of Canada's Top 100 employers, and ranks with Harvard and Yale for the top university library resources in North America.

Editors Note: Upcoming Event

Roundtable Discussion: On April 22nd, 2013, the Presidents of The MasterCard Foundation, McGill University, University of British Columbia, and University of Toronto will be participating in a Roundtable discussion on Education Partnerships between Canada and Africa hosted by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa. For more information on this event, please visit:


Fact Sheet: The MasterCard Foundation

Fact Sheet: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

Reeta Roy Bio

SOURCE The MasterCard Foundation

Video with caption: "Video: Introducing The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation ". Video available at:

Image with caption: "Allen Kawanzaruwa, is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar from Zimbabwe currently studying at Arizona State University. (CNW Group/The MasterCard Foundation)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Students enrolled in Campaign for Female Education (Camfed) in Ghana (Credit: Camfed / Jonathan Birch). (CNW Group/The MasterCard Foundation)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "Currently enrolled at Michigan State University, MasterCard Foundation Scholar Program graduate students Rebecca Nassimbwa (left) from Uganda, studying rehabilitation counseling and Mavis Dome (right) from Ghana, studying public policy. (CNW Group/The MasterCard Foundation)". Image available at:

Audio with caption: "About the Scholars Program: Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation". Audio available at:

Audio with caption: "About education in Africa: Reeta Roy, President and CEO, The MasterCard Foundation". Audio available at:

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