About the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

A world-class education at Duke University, supported by $13.5 million in funding from The Mastercard Foundation, fosters growth and development in a select group of students from Sub-Saharan Africa.

At Duke, scholars work with professors who have decades of experience leading projects in Africa. Through challenging classes, research opportunities, and programs designed especially for these students, The Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Duke are provided with the educational tools needed to become leaders. Duke recognizes education is a catalyst for social and economic betterment. This visionary program creates a pipeline of leaders for a global society. Duke is proud to be among a select group of institutions that has been participating in the program since its inaugural year in 2012.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a $500 million education initiative 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 on selecting students who are committed to “giving back” to their communities and their countries of origin.

The program was announced in September 2012 at a United Nations Special Session marking the launch of Education First. Led by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown, Education First is a new initiative seeking to ensure all children have access to quality education. The U.N. Special Session highlighted The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program as an innovative model for educating young people and encouraging citizenship. To learn more, visit mastercardfdn.org/all/scholars/.

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 mastercardfdn.org.

The Mastercard Foundation / Duke University Partnership

Duke University and The Mastercard Foundation share a common history of forming and utilizing partnerships to maximize opportunities for education. Like The Mastercard Foundation, Duke thinks and acts globally. Duke leaders believe education is the key to improving the lives of people on all continents. Duke and The Mastercard Foundation share a common strategy of creating change agents. We show our students how to apply knowledge to real world issues. 

For Duke, The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is not only a natural fit, but also the type of collaboration the university actively seeks as a progressive institution, providing liberal education in the context of a world-class research university. Duke will provide interdisciplinary ways of thinking, encouraging young people from Africa to discover creative and collaborative ways to address education, health, employment, and economic issues.

Participating Universities and Institutions

Duke and many other organizations share in The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The model is unique in that it leverages education as a powerful driver of social and economic progress in Africa. 

The future of Africa will be shaped by its young people. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program selected world-class universities and non-profit institutions to provide them with skills to develop leadership and critical thinking skills, analyze problems, and solve them through collaboration. To learn more about these partner institutions, visit the Mastercard Foundation Scholars page.