Opportunity Beyond Price: The MasterCard Scholars
Backed by a $25-million donation from The MasterCard Foundation, in September 2013 the first five international scholars were welcomed to the UBC Vancouver campus. They are the first cohort of 112 full scholarships (77 undergrads, 35 master’s degrees) to be brought in over the next 10 years.
The foresight and generosity of a big foundation, the proud involvement of a big university and the drive of more than a hundred talented and very motivated young people determined to study and learn; when the MasterCard Foundation scholars return to their home countries and communities, they carry with them the potential to improve the lives of thousands.
Patrick Munyurangabo is working to be part of that change. Since arriving on the Vancouver campus from Rwanda, the first-year UBC Land and Food Systems student has volunteered in Vancouver schools “being with the kids and seeing how they’re educated and how they see their futures and comparing it to my primary school and kindergarten.”
Here, those futures are open. Back home in Rwanda, Munyurangabo says basic education is different: “It’s like you just study one thing for your whole life, you never really explore your potentials in different areas of life.”
UBC is one of 3 Canadian universities to join The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program and as one of only 19 institutions worldwide, UBC is now part of the US$500-million global initiative to educate and develop next-generation leaders who will contribute to social and economic progress. The Program enables young people from economically disadvantaged communities to complete quality secondary and tertiary education, and make successful transitions to further education, or to the workforce in their home countries. Through comprehensive support, Scholars receive learning opportunities that equip them with knowledge, skills, and values needed to succeed in the economy, and make positive impacts in their communities.
The Program will educate an estimated 15,000 young people from economically disadvantaged communities. This network of next-generation leaders – unified by a common philosophy of change and ethical leadership – will drive social and economic transformation in their communities.
The MasterCard Foundation grant is the largest contribution to student support of UBC’s start an evolution Campaign and what is the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian university history.
While at UBC, the focus for the new scholars will be on education relevant to growth sectors in Africa; mentoring; opportunities for community engagement and to help transform education into a long-term reality; and internships and jobs accessed through a network of employers in Africa.
Including Munyurangabo: “My plans are to go back to Rwanda, my country and try to start something like an organization, a non-profit organization and see how I can help to coordinate agriculture and education for young kids, because I’ve been inspired.
“So far it has been like a wonderful program for me, in terms of the way I see my future, a good future. MasterCard Foundation is really going to be wonderful, it already is wonderful for me and for others who are here on campus on a MasterCard Foundation scholarship and those who will be coming this year or other years to come.”
UBC President Stephen Toope has called The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program “transformative”. He believes it will help support a new generation of African leaders, and enhance UBC and Canada’s connections with Africa, now and in the future: “The UBC community will be enriched by these students’ talent, experience and insights.”