Mastercard Foundation’s Philip Cotton Selected as a Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh

March 31, 2021 – Philip Cotton, Head of Mastercard Foundation’s Scholar’s Program was recently elected as a fellow by the prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh. Philip is among the 2021 cohort of new fellows revealed, on March 30, 2021, by the Royal Society of Edinburgh to celebrate the positive impact these individuals have made during the global Covid-19 pandemic. The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland’s national academy that identifies and recognizes leading thinkers and practitioners from Scotland and beyond.

Philip’s recognition is anchored on his vital work in addressing some of the most important challenges facing society, such as supporting access to quality education for young Africans.

“I am driven by fairness, justice, love and compassion, and by the need to question why we do things the way we do. Having lived and worked as a citizen of two countries and within multicultural contexts, I have seen that the compassion and curiosity needed to improve our world know no geographic or cultural bounds. So, for me, this recognition is about connectedness and a commitment to dig deeply within ourselves and our institutions, for good,” said Cotton.

As the head of one of the Foundation’s flagship programs, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, Philip’s work ensures that African students whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources have access to the needed financial, social, and academic support to complete their education. In this role, Philip focuses on expanding the Scholars Program footprint in Africa, bringing in new institutional partnerships, and strengthening linkages between the Program and Young Africa Works.

Before joining The Foundation in 2020, Philip served as the Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of Rwanda. In this capacity, he played a transformational role in establishing the National University of Rwanda which brought together many previously autonomous higher education institutions into one national university. Before his work in the education sector, Philip started his career in medicine, as a family doctor.

The Foundation is privileged to have Philip as part of the team and benefit from his wealth of experience. “Wonderful to see Philip Cotton recognized as a Royal Society of Edinburgh fellow. Grateful that the Foundation and the young people in our Scholars Program get to benefit from his extensive knowledge, wisdom, and compassion as he leads this program,” said Reeta Roy, President, and CEO, Mastercard Foundation.

About The Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is an educational charity, registered in Scotland, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland.

The organization was established in 1783 and since then have drawn upon the considerable strengths and varied expertise of our Fellows, of which there are currently around 1600, who are based in Scotland, the rest of the UK and beyond.



Subscribe to Our Newsletter

To stay up to date with the Mastercard Foundation, sign up for our monthly newsletter. Get youth voices, impact stories and news and announcements all direct to your inbox.

*By signing up for the Mastercard Foundation’s newsletter, you accept our privacy policy.