President Peter Salovey hosted a visit by Zimbabwean entrepreneurs and philanthropists Strive and Tstitsi Masiyiwa on campus last week, where they were honored for their generous support to the Yale Young African Scholars Program (YYAS), a week-long academic enrichment program that aims to connect Africa’s most talented high school students to academic opportunities in the United States and beyond.
Their gift to YYAS through the Higherlife Foundation will serve 900 students over the next three years, and will support programs in three different African countries each summer.
The university hosted a reception where over 50 students, faculty, and staff thanked the Masiyiwas for their visionary leadership in supporting education across Africa. In praising YYAS, Salovey noted, “It is especially rewarding to know that this program was first conceived by African undergraduate and graduate students at Yale, who desired to create a forum for talented high school students on the African continent that combined academic programming with preparatory workshops focused on higher education.”
The Masiyiwas spoke to many of the Yale undergraduate and graduate students from Africa who are affiliated with YYAS. Roy Randen ’18 gave a toast to the couple on behalf of all the students touched by their generosity. Randen is a YYAS student instructor for 2015 and 2016, as well as a benefactor of the Joshua Nkomo Scholarship, another initiative that the. Masiyiwas support through the Higherlife Foundation that funds academically gifted Zimbabwean students at the secondary and tertiary level in Zimbabwe and abroad. “It’s difficult to imagine where I would be without your support,” said Randen in his remarks to the couple.
While on campus, the Masiyiwas also had the opportunity to meet with many of the key administrators and faculty who oversee and participate in the YYAS Program, including Michael Cappello, co-director of the Yale Africa Initiative and chair of the Council on African Studies; Christopher Udry, professor of economics and a member of the Council on African Studies, who has lectured in the YYAS program for the past two summer; Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions; Ted Wittenstein, executive director of Yale Young Global Scholars Progam; and Rebekah Westphal, director of international admissions for Yale College.
YYAS is administered by the Office of International Affairs and the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, in collaboration with the Macmillan Center for Area and International Studies and Yale Undergraduate Admissions.