Philip Cotton

Executive Director, Human Capital Development

Prof. Philip Cotton is Executive Director, Human Capital Development at the Mastercard Foundation.  He also heads the Foundation’s Scholars Program—an initiative dedicated to developing Africa’s next generation of transformation leaders and the largest of its kind. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program allows students whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources to complete their education, while investing in their leadership potential.  With a vision that education is a catalyst for social and economic change, the program focuses on developing leaders who are transformative, encouraging them to be active contributors to their communities.

Philip, who is a citizen of both the UK and Rwanda, previously provided leadership at the University of Rwanda, first as Principal of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences and then as Vice Chancellor. Prior to this, he practiced in family medicine and was a professor of teaching and learning with a responsibility for student welfare at Glasgow University. A graduate of St Andrews and Glasgow universities, he holds honorary professorships at St Andrews, Glasgow and in Rwanda, and is appointed as chair of the Board of Rwanda Biomedical Centre. He is a Methodist preacher, founded a fair-trade organisation in Scotland and is a trustee and advisor to several small charities working in development. In 2017 he was awarded the OBE for services to higher education in Rwanda, and in 2018 he received the Gold Medal from ASME for his outstanding contribution to medical education. He is a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is convinced of the power of compassion in the transformation of young people throughout the education system.