MasterCard Foundation Scholars 2016 (Credit: Jake Naughton for The MasterCard Foundation) Ethiopia's University of Gondar and Canada's Queen's University today announced a 10-year, USD$24.2 million partnership to advance inclusive higher education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa as part of The MasterCard Foundation's Scholars Program. The partnership will provide 450 next-generation African leaders with a high-quality university education at the University of Gondar, while also providing 60 of the university's faculty members with the opportunity to study at Queen's University, where they will enhance their skills in innovative pedagogy and in leading collaborative research between African and North American universities. The University of Gondar and Queen's University will also collaborate to develop Ethiopia's first occupational therapy program. "We are excited to welcome the University of Gondar and Queen's University to the Scholars Program," says Peter Materu, Director, Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, The MasterCard Foundation. "Through their collaboration, these exceptional institutions will not only forge a new path for inclusive education in Africa, but will also bring much-needed perspectives that will enable us to better understand the needs of talented young people living with disabilities. This partnership represents a new innovation in the Scholars Program that demonstrates how one can leverage the capacity of one partner to establish and strengthen programs in priority areas of need in another institution." As part of the partnership, the University of Gondar will provide 290 undergraduate and 160 master's level degrees in multidisciplinary fields that will encompass health sciences, law, education, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences, taking special care to recruit young people with disabilities, as well as young people from conflict-affected countries. The University of Gondar will deliver an annual Summer Leadership Camp for Scholars across the Program, as well as a robust, practicum-based experiential program focused on giving back to community, through service and leadership skill development in the field of community-based rehabilitation. The University of Gondar will also pilot new models of Scholar support services, by integrating accessibility tools such as wheelchairs and learning materials such as braille books and rehabilitation lab access, into each Scholar's package of wraparound support. "The University of Gondar embraces this partnership with great enthusiasm, for it comes with an opportunity to boost its vision of becoming a Centre of Excellence in rehabilitation and inclusive education, research and community engagement," says Dr. Desalegn Mengesha, University of Gondar President. "This partnership will develop the capacity of both universities to plan and effectively undertake large-scale, people-centred interventions with multi-faceted benefits to the institutions and their respective stakeholders." Queen's University will provide 44 University of Gondar faculty members with PhD training to develop skills and capabilities needed to supervise Scholars' research and practicums. Queen's University will also support the University of Gondar as it develops and implements the first undergraduate occupational therapy curriculum and program in Ethiopia. This work will involve providing master's level training in occupational therapy to 16 University of Gondar faculty members, who will then work with Queen's occupational therapy faculty members to develop a curriculum and teach in the first occupational therapy program at the University of Gondar. "We are delighted to work on this tremendous, multi-faceted project with the University of Gondar and The MasterCard Foundation," says Dr. Daniel Woolf, Queen's Principal and Vice-Chancellor. "Without a doubt, this collaboration will change lives and create new pathways for education in Africa. It will also provide Queen's researchers and students new avenues for growth, as they join with University of Gondar faculty members on research projects and support Gondar faculty through training programs and the development of the first undergraduate occupational therapy program in Ethiopia." Together, Scholars and faculty members at the University of Gondar and Queen's University will undertake joint research, paving the way for inclusive education that places the needs of young people living with disabilities at the heart of scholarship. They will work together to strengthen the range and type of supports offered to Scholars with disabilities and all students attending the University of Gondar by focusing on accessibility measures that enable student excellence and barrier-free learning. The University of Gondar and Queen's University join a global network of 27 Scholars Programs committed to ensuring that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, have an equal chance to obtain a quality education and pursue their aspirations. The Program provides education and leadership development for nearly 35,000 bright, young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them. These young people will create change that matters within their communities and will usher in a new era of inclusive prosperity in Africa and beyond. The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.Established in 1954 as the Public Health training Institute, and known as the Gondar College of Medical Sciences until 2003. The University of Gondar is the oldest medical school in Ethiopia and established with the philosophy of team approach and community-based teaching of health professionals. With 25,000 students, University of Gondar offers 70 undergraduate and 90 post-graduate programs. In addition, extension, distance and summer degree programs are offered by most of the schools, faculties and the college with the mission to deliver education tailored to societal needs in order to contribute to the sustainable socio-economic development of the nation. University of Gondar has recorded as one of the top three Universities in the country since the last five years and achieves both the National quality award and the Minister Universities first generation performance award with the first rank in 2016. The University of Gondar has partnerships with more than 20 Universities and hundreds of projects are being managed in partnership with different organizations around the world and it continues to forge new connections to help faculty and students share their learning and strengthen teaching, research and community services. The University has the only University based CBR program that works for equalization of opportunities and access to rehabilitation services to people with disabilities in North Gondar Zone, through the support of different international partners. Queen's is one of Canada's leading universities, celebrating its 175th anniversary in 2016-17. With a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs, the University offers a comprehensive research-intensive environment, and at the same time, an exceptional student learning experience. Queen's researchers lead the way in numerous fields, with notable advances made recently in particle astrophysics, cancer research, ecological history and environmental change, and clean energy technology. Queen's is also home to a Nobel Laureate, Dr. Arthur McDonald, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015. Through various partnerships, including its membership in the Matariki Network of Universities and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, Queen's offers students and faculty members rich opportunities in international learning and research collaboration.