New Scholarship Aids Sub-Saharan African Students

African students enroll at Duke through the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

The first Duke MasterCard Foundation Scholars. From left, Sbusisiwe Sibeko, Allan Kipkogei, Tian Chan Dong, Clive Mudanda and Olaotan Oyinkansola Awoyomi.
The first Duke MasterCard Foundation Scholars. From left, Sbusisiwe Sibeko, Allan Kipkogei, Tian Chan Dong, Clive Mudanda and Olaotan Oyinkansola Awoyomi.

Five students from sub-Saharan Africa with outstanding academic records have enrolled without cost at Duke University this semester through a new scholarship program supported by The MasterCard Foundation.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program provides academically talented, yet economically disadvantaged young people who are committed to giving back to their communities and countries access to quality and relevant education.

The program offers students a comprehensive package that includes financial, academic and social support, as well as access to networks to make successful transitions to additional education or to the work force in Africa. The program seeks to provide participants with experiences, skills and values to help them succeed in a global economy and give back to their home communities and countries.

With a financial commitment of $13.5 million from The MasterCard Foundation over the next nine years, Duke will educate seven classes of five students -- a total of 35 students. This year's scholars include: Olaotan Oyinkansola Awoyomi (Nigeria); Tian Chan Dong (South Africa); Allan Kipkogei Kiplagat (Kenya); Clive Mudanda (Zimbabwe) and Sbusisiwe Sibeko (South Africa).

"Duke University is proud to have been selected by The MasterCard Foundation as a partner in this visionary program to educate Africa's future leaders," said Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead. "Our campus community welcomes the inaugural class of The MasterCard Foundation Program Scholars, and we look forward to seeing how their education at Duke will foster their intellectual and personal growth and lead them to become change agents for Africa and the world."

Through the program, the Duke students will complete a civic engagement summer internship in sub-Saharan Africa. Duke's Office of Undergraduate Scholars and Fellows, which oversees the program, is working with the students to promote a smooth transition to American life. The new program's faculty advisor is Charles Piot, a Duke professor of cultural anthropology, African & African American studies and women's studies who has extensive experience in Africa.

The program was announced at a United Nations special session marking the launch of the Education First Initiative led by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown. The foundation said it selected Duke as one of its initial partner institutions because of Duke's ability to support international students and its commitment to global outreach and change through education.

Duke joins The MasterCard Foundation's global network of education institutions and non-profit organizations that will work collaboratively on the initiative. The other organizations currently involved include: American University of Beirut -- Faculty of Health Sciences; Arizona State University; Ashesi University in Ghana; EARTH University in Costa Rica; Michigan State University; Stanford University; University of California-Berkeley; and Wellesley College. The program also includes a partnership with the African Leadership Academy to develop an African-based careers network for scholars to access internships and jobs across the continent.

Additional information about The MasterCard Foundation and the new scholars program is available at