The Baobab Summit is a gathering of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, where our Scholars, Alumni and partners come together to connect, co-create, share, learn and reflect.
The 2023 Virtual Baobab Summit has been thoughtfully designed based on the desires and aspirations of our Scholars and Alumni. This year’s theme, “Here. Now. Using Our Voices, Shaping the World,” was co-created by the Scholars themselves. It celebrates the power of individual and collective action in making a positive impact. This Summit aims to provide a platform that resonates with their unique journeys, offering them the chance to engage with topics and sessions of profound importance to them.
This year’s virtual summit is by invite only but we encourage you to join the ongoing conversation on social media with #Boabab2023. In addition, we will be posting highlights of the conversations here. Watch this space!
The 2023 Baobab Summit kicked-off with Here. Now: The Art of Courage. Hosted by Rosine Mukabagorora, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program Alumna, the virtual session opened with the awe-inspiring poem “The World Through My Imperfectly Perfect Vision” written and performed by Roza Abrham Abate, the brilliant winner of the “Speak Your Mind” competition. Roza’s words were not merely poetry; they were a resounding call to action. Roza painted a vivid picture of a world brimming with love, justice, and equality. She reminded us that we hold the power to create positive change, and to be the architects of the world we envision.
Next, Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation, delivered a moving keynote address. With eloquence and wisdom, she illuminated the profound significance of courage. Reeta acknowledged the turbulent world we inhabit today, marked by stark disparities, imbalances of power, climate challenges, and conflicts. In the face of such daunting issues, she asked the fundamental question: Where does courage originate, and how can we summon it? Reeta’s perspective was enlightening, emphasizing that courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s the acknowledgement of its presence. Drawing from American Professor and Author Brené Brown’s wisdom, she traced courage’s roots to its Latin origins, meaning “core” or “heart.” In essence, courage is about telling the story of your heart, of who you indeed are.
Following Reeta’s keynote was the exciting Ask-Me-Anything session with Reeta Roy. We opened up the conversation to our Scholars and Alumni to ask Reeta about her journey. She delved into the essence of purpose, kindness, and courage, offering impactful insights:
|· Discovering Your Purpose: Reeta emphasized the importance of discovering one’s purpose, an odyssey often commencing with self-discovery. “Your purpose,” she explained, “is the essence of your being, distilled into a simple yet profound calling.” It’s about having the courage to embrace your dreams, regardless of how audacious they may seem.
· The Gift of Service: Reeta highlighted that everyone possesses a unique gift. As good human beings, our responsibility is to share that gift and be of service to others. “Being kind,” she noted, “is the mark of greatness, transcending status or position.” Acts of kindness, big or small, are instrumental in making the world a better place.
· Overcoming Fear and Taking the First Step: Reeta shared her personal experiences and urged us not to be afraid. She encouraged us to have faith in ourselves and our abilities, to focus on what we love and what we are good at, rather than dwelling on limitations or potential obstacles. The key, she said, is to take the first step, breaking down overwhelming challenges into manageable tasks.
· Courage vs. Confidence: Exploring the difference between courage and confidence, Reeta delved into the heart of the matter. She explained that courage often involves acknowledging fear and addressing its root causes. It’s about understanding why you lack confidence in a particular situation and taking steps to build that confidence by seeking help, resources, and solutions.
· Leadership and Diversity: Reeta celebrated the diversity of thought within organizations, emphasizing the importance of listening. Diverse perspectives are invaluable for expanding ideas and making informed decisions. Listening, debate, and discussion are essential in reaching collective goals aligned with an organization’s mission. Trust, she noted, is the foundation of leadership—a prerequisite for effective collaboration.
· The Joy of Impact: Lastly, Reeta expressed profound joy and gratitude, knowing that her work and her team’s efforts have helped young Africans get one step closer to their dreams. She emphasized that true heroes are those actively pursuing their dreams and making them a reality. The Mastercard Foundation stands as a friend, partner, and supporter on their journeys.
By embracing kindness, service, and the courage to pursue dreams, attendees left inspired and empowered to make a positive impact on the world.
Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information about the Scholars Program.
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.