On Wednesday, 26 September 2012, ALA was named one of ten institutional partners for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program.

The landmark initiative is a $500 million education partnership that addresses access to education and employment for talented yet economically disadvantaged students from developing countries — particularly in Africa.  This initiative will offer 15,000 students a comprehensive package for secondary and university education that includes financial, academic, and social support, as well as transitional assistance into the workforce. The Program is unique in its emphasis of selecting students who are committed to ‘giving back’ to their communities and their countries of origin, and African Leadership Academy will support this ‘giving back and going back’ by launching a pan-African careers network to support The MasterCard Foundation Scholars.

Chris Bradford, Founder and Dean of the Academy, said: “The MasterCard Foundation is one our most valued supporters and partners, and one of the most innovative foundations operating today. In supporting the education of talented students and empowering young people to lead change across Africa, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is closely aligned with the mission of African Leadership Academy.”

The world’s youngest continent demographically and home to seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing national economies, Africa is approaching a critical inflection point, with remarkable potential for innovation and economic growth. The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program will help leverage this significant opportunity by building Africa’s educational capacity, which is essential to the continent’s rapid growth.

The MasterCard Foundation’s partners in the Scholars Program are renowned global education institutions and non-profit organizations.

To date, the network consists of 10 partners: African Leadership Academy, American University of Beirut — Faculty of Health Sciences, Arizona State University, Ashesi University, Duke University, EARTH University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, and Wellesley College.

The Program’s partnership with African Leadership Academy focuses specifically on developing an African-based careers network for scholars to access internships and jobs across the continent. Ansi Harford, the Director of the flagship ALA Africa Careers Network, said: “The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a noteworthy initiative that will greatly support African Leadership Academy’s capacity to continue to create great postgraduate opportunities across Africa. It will also be instrumental in helping ALA create a much sought-after pipeline of valuable African talent.”

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program was announced Wednesday, September 26 2012 at a United Nations Special Session marking the kickoff of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s new initiative, Education First, which seeks to ensure all children have access to quality, relevant, and inclusive education.

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