American University of Beirut

Mastercard Foundation new partnership agreement

Dear members of the AUB community,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Mastercard Foundation have signed a new partnership agreement to expand the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at AUB to provide an additional 540 fully-funded opportunities for talented young people from Africa and Lebanon. These include mostly master's level degrees, 60 undergraduate scholarships, 20 doctoral scholarships, and several scholarships for graduate-level professional diplomas, to support the education of a new cohort of transformative leaders, innovators, and changemakers.

This new phase builds on AUB's and the Mastercard Foundation's shared values and the learnings from a decade of the Scholars Program at AUB to:

  • Extend outreach to youth on the African continent by leveraging AUB's online offerings, with a focus on programs that respond to market needs.
  • Create a catalytic talent base through robust training in management in contexts of uncertainty and crisis, complemented by expanded civic engagement and service learning opportunities.
  • Enable seamless transitions of all Scholars, especially refugee Scholars through their educational journey towards graduation and beyond.
  • Deepen the work in areas that contribute to student success and wellbeing, including mental health, accessible education, career services, and entrepreneurship development. 

Since 2012, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at AUB has supported the education and leadership development of young Scholars from 27 countries. More than 200 alumni of the program hold key positions in local, governmental, and international agencies in African countries and Lebanon, while many (20 percent) are pursuing higher education opportunities in universities across the globe. Over the past decade, we have observed first-hand the impact of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program on the Scholars themselves, the communities they interact with, and on our university. We witnessed Scholars as engaged citizens raising their voices against inequity and injustice, and in interdisciplinary teams thinking creatively to design new solutions that help improve lives.

This new phase of the Scholars Program will accelerate the work we are doing at AUB on rethinking student experience and success, transforming our processes, scaling opportunities for service learning and civic engagement, cultivating innovation mindsets, connecting with employers, and establishing meaningful and synergistic collaborations. All this is being done with a view to broadening access to education, fostering diversity and inclusion, and strengthening institutional resilience.  This program, along with planned linkages to peer African institutions and mission-aligned partners globally, will enable the realization of VITAL, our institutional vision for 2030, and reaffirm our position among thought leaders in higher education in the Global South.

Please join me in thanking all those at AUB who have worked so diligently to make the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program such a success, and who have helped shepherd this new agreement to fruition. Special thanks go to the Program Director Maha Haidar-Makki, Deputy Provost Lina Choueiri, and the entire Scholars Program team at AUB for their extraordinary stewardship of this process to this outstanding outcome. I would also like to thank the Mastercard Foundation for their abiding trust in AUB and for a partnership that is making a real, positive impact in our world.

We are pleased that our ever deepening partnership with the Mastercard Foundation will continue to provide even greater opportunities for outstanding Scholars to better understand and empower themselves. Together, we are convinced that these emerging, educated leaders will go on to transform their societies into fairer, more inclusive, and more abundant ones.​


Office of the President

American University of Beirut​
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