Wellesley College Part of Innovative Program to Empower Youth to Lead Change in Africa, Announced at United Nations Special Session

September 26, 2012

WELLESLEY, Mass.—Wellesley College is one of ten higher education institutions to partner with The MasterCard Foundation as it launches a $500 million education initiative that will provide talented, economically-disadvantaged students from developing countries – particularly from Africa – with comprehensive support for quality and relevant secondary and university education. 

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program was announced Wednesday, September 26 at a United Nations Special Session marking the kickoff of U.N. Secretary General Ban Informational graphic, click to open PDFKi-moon’s new initiative, Education First, which seeks to ensure all children have access to quality, relevant, and inclusive education. The U.N. recognized the Scholars Program as an innovative model for educating young people and encouraging citizenship.

According to Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly, the goals of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program align well with the mission of the College, which is renowned for educating many of the world’s women leaders. 

“Wellesley brings a special expertise to this program—we educate women to make a difference in the world. As women are poised to take even greater roles as leaders in Africa, we want to offer them the transformative education, mentorship, and support that have empowered Wellesley women for more than 135 years,” said President Bottomly. “We are thrilled to welcome the scholars to join our network of alumnae—36,000 women around the world who are devoted to the College, and who are also helpful and supportive of each other.”

As part of the Scholars Program, Wellesley will provide nine African women with comprehensive support that includes scholarships, mentoring, counseling, and internship opportunities. Scholars at Wellesley will build experiences, values, and competencies that are critical to success in the global economy, and that enable them to give back to their communities and home countries. The students will arrive in groups of three students each year beginning Fall 2013. Wellesley’s Office of Admission is currently undertaking recruitment efforts to identify qualified students.

In addition to Wellesley College, the network includes: American University of Beirut – Faculty of Health Sciences, Arizona State University, Ashesi University, Duke University, EARTH University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, and University of California – Berkeley. The program also includes a partnership with African Leadership Academy to develop an African-based careers network for scholars to access internships and jobs across the continent. 

About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 49 countries, the Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, it was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, visit www.mastercardfdn.org.

About Wellesley College
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,400 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries. For more information, visit www.wellesley.edu.