Beginning with the inception of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, the Leadership Academy for African Development (LAAD) has been an essential part of the leadership training and development of a distinct MasterCard Foundation Scholar identity for Scholars at Michigan State University. The carefully designed LAAD curriculum and leadership training helps produce Scholars who, through the application of acquired effective leadership, professional and personal skills, are capable of achieving demonstrably transformative results in their respective communities, nations, and regions in Africa.
The curriculum is a two-year program designed for juniors, seniors, and first and second year graduate Scholars. Year One of the program is attended by juniors and first year graduate Scholars. The curriculum for this group focuses on the acquisition of overall knowledge of Africa's main geographical and economic regions, the challenges and strengths of each region; further development of critical thinking skills in addressing social, economic, and other development challenges. Year Two is attended by seniors and second-year graduates and concentrates on the professional development of Scholars, including grant writing, program management, social and business entrepreneurship, effective community engagement, speech writing and public speaking, as well as business/social etiquette.
Additionally, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU is keen on integrating gender in its programming. As a result of this interest, two collaborative gender specific programs were designed and implemented in the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 respectively. The African Female Student Empowerment Program (AFSEP) seek to empower female students from Africa and equip them with pertinent knowledge and skills that would hone their professional and leadership skills. In the program the students learn information including professional networking, mentorship, leadership, etc
AMSEP is a support group for African male students at MSU that provides a forum for the discussion and exploration of issues pertinent to the lives and experiences of African students. Like its sister organization, AMSEP seeks to equip its members with skills that enhance the quality of success their personal lives and careers.