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The 2016 Global Convening of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

Published: Friday, 11 Nov 2016
Author: The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program
Department: Office of the Dean

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program held The Global Partners Convening at Michigan State University on Tuesday, October 25th through Thursday, October 27th where over 25 partners gathered; including new partners Carnegie Mellon University – Rwanda, Edinburgh University, SciencesPo, and Queen's University.

Michigan State University as host of The Global Convening was particularly notable as it was the site of the inaugural meeting in 2012. The aim of the annual meetings are to bring together all of the partner organizations and schools to discuss challenges and successes as well as best practices and how to collaborate with one another to the maximum benefit of the Scholars they serve.

The MasterCard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy began The Global Partners Convening by reminding attendees that "we are educating young people and preparing them for a life of leadership and a life of service" and "we have a collective responsibility for the Scholars, the awesome responsibility, to prepare future African leaders".

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and staff at Michigan State University were fortunate to participate directly in The Global Convening.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Gumboot Troupe (comprised of Michigan State University Scholars) and first-year master's Scholar Hazel Moyo welcomed the campus visitors during the first official evening of events. Of her participation, Hazel said "my involvement in The Global Convening showed me that my fellow Scholars and I, regardless of our former hardships, have been given a platform where we can be seen and our voices heard." She was impacted by presenting to the MasterCard Foundation partners because for them to choose to "pause and listen to me - it made me realize that I am now in a position of privilege and I ... can use it to help others who are in my former situation. I am no longer a singular person; I am now a part of a global community of change makers."

Chinwe Effiong, Assistant Dean for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and Youth Empowerment Programs at Michigan State University, along with Violet Acumo (first-year master's student in Public Policy), were participants in the University World News Debate on Women Transformative Leaders.

The theme of the conference this year was "Learning in Action". Three key subthemes emerged; scholar welfare, gender, and transitions. Scholar welfare issues focused on health and wellness and partners shared how they mitigate challenges and find support on their campuses.

Sheba Onchiri, Academic Advisor and Student Support Specialist for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University, noticed a strong emphasis on "the need to empower female Scholars. "Partners are being challenged to think of designing specialized workshops or projects focusing on addressing girls' unique needs that may include inviting role models to share gender specific stories. Some partners showed great interest in working with Michigan State University's new initiative - the African Female Students Empowerment Project (AFSEP)".

On the topic of transitions, it was a complex issue as conversations covered assisting scholars moving from secondary to tertiary education but especially the transition between graduation and employment. There was emphasis on strengthening Scholars' professional networking skills. 

Arhin Acheampong (junior, Criminal Justice) participated in the discussion on Baobab, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Community platform and was impacted by his attendance. "The MasterCard Foundation continues to show commitment to involve Scholars at all levels of decision-making and this was exactly what we saw in the Global Scholars Convening. I am proud to be a part an institution that places great value on scholars and their contributions."

Isaac Kalumbu, Program Manager for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program was equally impacted. "Spending time with colleagues from the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program network to reflect on the first five years of this amazing journey was invaluable. We learned so much from one another in discussions about recruitment, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and about transitions. I can truly say we all came out with a greater grasp of the strengths, complexities and needs related to our work than we did going in."

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