University of Toronto

Office of the Chancellor

MasterCard Foundation Scholars Dinner

February 8, 2016

The Hon. Michael Wilson, P.C., C.C., B.Com., LL.D.
Chancellor of the University of Toronto

Good evening, everyone. It is a pleasure to be here and a privilege to welcome the University’s third group of MasterCard Foundation Scholars.

I extend a special welcome to Ms Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation, Mr. Don Morrison, who is member of the Foundation’s board, and colleagues from the Foundation who have joined us tonight.

And I am pleased to acknowledge the U of T faculty and staff involved in the program, including: Mr. David Palmer, Vice President, Advancement; Professor David Cameron, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science; Professor Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provost, Students; Professor Yves Roberge, Principal of New College; Professor Carol Chin, Acting Principal of Woodsworth College; and Professor Micah Stickel, the Dean’s Designate from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

I would also like to thank Hannah Barstow, a student in our Faculty of Music, who is providing the wonderful music we’re enjoying this evening.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight’s gathering is a celebration of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program and the transformational vision behind it. I say transformational not only because of the scale of the program – a 10-year, $500-million global initiative. It is transformational because of its purpose: to realize the vast potential of Africa and its brilliant, emerging young leaders.

Africa is the world’s youngest continent, in terms of demographics; but at present, only a relatively small number of its people have access to higher education. The MasterCard Foundation is helping to change this, by providing an estimated 15,000 talented young women and men the opportunity to complete their education and become the next generation of leaders in their communities.

For our part, over the next five years, we will welcome a total of 67 MasterCard Foundation Scholars to study at the University of Toronto. This academic year, we welcomed our third cohort of Scholars at U of T. It gives me great pleasure to see them here tonight.

We are so grateful for what you, and all of our MasterCard Scholars, bring to our academic community. Your talent, experiences, and perspectives enrich the education of all our students. And you help make make U of T a truly global university. You are a tremendous source of pride and strength for the entire University.

In turn, we hope that the opportunity to study at one of the world’s top universities will be a life-changing experience for each of you. And we hope that your time here will not only prepare you for rewarding professional careers, but also give you the tools to serve as role models, mentors, and problem solvers in your home communities.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause to our newest U of T MasterCard Foundation Scholars!

The University of Toronto is delighted to be included in this magnificent initiative. We are one of three universities in Canada involved in this great bridge-building partnership with Africa, along with UBC and McGill.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking the MasterCard Foundation for their vision, leadership, and generosity!

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Ms Reeta Roy, President and Chief Executive Officer of the MasterCard Foundation, and a true champion of education as a pathway to prosperity in developing countries.

Ms Roy holds a master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University. She is a member of the Aspen Philanthropy Group and the World Economic Forum on Social Innovation. She has participated in the UN General Assembly, the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Innovation Summit for Education, and the UNESCO Youth Forum.

Please welcome Reeta Roy.