Elizabeth Roscoe, VP/Executive Director, Western Union Foundation
Education is essential to overcoming the barriers to financial inclusion around the world. At the Western Union Foundation, our mission is to connect people to the global economy through education that can equip people with the resources and tools they need to better their lives through improved job opportunities and increased earning potential.
That was the goal when the Foundation launched our WU Scholars Program last year. The power of education gives people worldwide the potential to transform their lives. Our focus through this global scholarship program is to support students as they pursue a post-secondary undergraduate education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), business and entrepreneurship – the building blocks for in-demand careers in the 21st century economy.
Our WU Scholars class of 2017 honored 174 scholars, from 65 countries, studying in 153 colleges and universities around the world. Sixty-eight percent of the recipients were women. Sixty-three percent are attending university outside of their birth country. The Institute of International Education (IIE), the non-profit organization that administers the program, has found that studying abroad opens up a “broader understanding of career possibilities, and the confidence to pursue these career paths.”
In IIE’s research, students say they’re developing a broad range of cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal skills through study abroad. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in a 2016 study, “skills have become the global currency of the 21st century.” Many kinds of skills are important for the workforce, including technical or “hard” skills as well as “soft” skills.
Last year’s WU Scholar applicants were stellar, and we were truly inspired by their dreams:
“My dream is to rid the world of heavy metal pollution.”--Chantel, studying environmental science, Jamaica
“My dream is to create affordable health care services.”--Divine, studying biomedical science, Nigeria
“My dream is to design a business model that helps farmers.”--Jasper, studying business accounting, Philippines
Building on last year’s success, we’re excited to be accepting WU Scholar applications for the class of 2018 now through April 30. Winners will receive USD $2,500 (or the local currency equivalent) to contribute to tuition or school fees at the accredited post-secondary institution where they are enrolled. You can learn more about the program at www.WUScholars.org.
Along with their academic record and accomplishments, our WU Scholars are selected on their goals related to the program’s three pillars: perseverance, aspiration, and community. At the Western Union Foundation, we believe these pillars will help take our WU Scholars to the next level. Their relentless pursuit for education will create economic opportunities for individuals and a better world for all.