Engagement in Africa is nothing new to Michigan State University
, having more than 50 years of history working with students and organizations there. Now, MSU has announced it will deepen its ties with the continent as a partner with The MasterCard Foundation on its $500 million education initiative, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
“The MasterCard Foundation did a preliminary scan for universities that were actively involved in Africa,” says MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “They wanted to make sure the students could go back home and tap into existing networks. Because of MSU’s fifty-year history in Africa, we were selected to submit a proposal.”
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program’s goals are to provide talented, financially disadvantaged youth with access to high-quality education. MSU is the only institution in the Midwest to be a part of the program. The school will receive $45 million to support 185 scholars throughout the nine-year program, including 100 undergraduates and 85 master’s degree students. Six African students – four graduate and two undergraduates – have already begun their work.
President Simon says MSU’s participation in the program is not only beneficial to Africa, but also to the Greater Lansing region.
“We already have about 200 students form Africa,” says President Simon. “It’s also important to think about the connections we’ve made over the years to Africa and their emerging economies. There will be a number of business opportunities that can evolve through this network.”
MSU will host the more students than any other of the six U.S. partner institutions. The university will also organize an annual conference for scholars.