This event has ended.
The Baobab Summit is an annual signature event that brings together Mastercard Foundation Scholars for three days of fellowship, learning, and mentorship. Since the global pandemic upended plans to host the Summit in Rwanda, Mastercard Foundation held the first ever virtual Baobab Summit, an interactive experience that Scholars could enjoy from the comfort of their own computer screens.
The Summit kicked off on Friday, August 21, 2020 with a Facebook Live session with Mastercard Foundation President and CEO, Reeta Roy and three-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge — Resilience: A Marathon Not a Sprint.
Mastercard Foundation Scholars have a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them and improving the lives of their families, communities, and countries. It is fitting then, that the theme in 2020 was resilience. Defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress”, resilience involves both “bouncing back from these difficult experiences…[and] profound personal growth”. Resilience is imperative, more than ever as Scholars began to navigate an uncertain landscape radically different from the they knew.
Grounded in the values of transformative leadership and inspired by the Scholars Program’s new targets to engage more young people with disabilities, refugees, and those who have been displaced, resilience offers participants an opportunity to explore the intersection between personal growth, inclusion and social transformation. As we discussed resilience and its building blocks: connection, adaption, compassion, innovation and purpose, Baobab 2020 was an opportunity to learn from each other and build the critical thinking, grit and entrepreneurial skills needed to re-think challenges and forge new solutions.
Two Scholars, Sandra Kalua and Mahmoud Kanso, reported from the Summit, sharing their thoughts and experiences on our Facebook and Instagram channels. Follow them for updates from the event.
Eliud Kipchoge is a Kenyan long-distance runner who made history in November 2019 by running a marathon under two hours. He is a three-time Olympian, having won a bronze medal in Athens in 2004, a silver medal in Beijing in 2008, and a gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Described as “the greatest marathoner of the modern era” and with his eyes set on Tokyo 2021, Eliud believes that a strong mindset is key to his success: “Anytime I face a challenge, I take it as a lesson. I don’t lose; I always learn.” He is an advocate for sport, believing it has the power to unite the world.
Christine Kirungi is a disability and gender activist. She is the Executive Director of the Uganda National Association of Cerebral Palsy (UNAC) and a Disability Inclusion Facilitator with Light for the World in Uganda. As a young woman living with cerebral palsy, she brings years of life experience to the conversation on disability inclusion.
Valerie Labi is a Ghana-based social innovator who is committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She currently serves as the Country Director of International Development Enterprise, which supports innovative and sustainable initiatives such as SolarTaxi. She is also the Founder of Sama Sama, a social enterprise that offers affordable and sustainable sanitation and hygiene solutions to communities in Northern Ghana. Valerie previously worked for Vodafone PLC and Ernst & Young LLP in both Africa and Europe. Her accomplishments were recognized by President Obama in 2014 when she was awarded the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.
Ambrose Murangira is a leading disability advocate and Disability Inclusion Advisor with Light for the World. Before joining Light for the World, he was the Executive Director of the Uganda Association for the Deaf. Ambrose has a wide network in the disability community and is a highly experienced trainer on disability awareness and disability-inclusive programming.
Due to COVID-19, 2020’s summit was virtual:
Every year, Mastercard Foundation Scholars have a chance to enter the Speak Your Mind content, where they share personal insights around the theme of the Baobab Summit. 2020’s resilience theme was one that resonated strongly with Scholars for obvious reasons, and garnered more than 200 submissions. From spoken word to speeches, from dance to videos, each piece was poignant, compelling and deeply personal. Here are some of the winners.
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