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International Fellowships Program

The Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) provides higher education fellowships for emerging leaders from underrepresented communities outside the United States.

Below, IFP participants from Kenya share their stories about overcoming adversity and how the knowledge gained from their experience with the program will benefit their communities.

  • Kulamo Bullo Kulamo Bullo Kulamo Bullo is an editor of children's books and school texts at the Kenya Literature Bureau in Nairobi. Born into a nomadic community where education was a luxury and marriage was the norm for teenage girls, Kulamo defied the odds. She attended Kenyatta University and later earned a scholarship to the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
  • Mohamed Hussein Shally Mohamed Hussein Shally Mohamed Hussein Shally grew up in a strict Muslim family in a remote Kenyan village on the border with Somalia. City life proved a culture shock, but Mohamed went on to study in London at the Institute of Education at London University. Now he's contemplating whether to enter a doctoral program.
  • Dennitah Ghati Dennitah Ghati Dennitah Ghati runs the Education Centre for the Advancement of Women, a community-based women’s rights organization in Kenya. When they were teenagers, Dennitah and her older sister were removed from the family home by her mother to protect them from ritual circumcision and early marriage.
  • Christine Pekeshe Christine Pekeshe Christine Pekeshe walked barefoot to school every day, in a village that had no clean tap water, electricity or paved roads. The daughter of a school teacher, she excelled academically and earned a scholarship to study at Florida State University. Today she travels through malaria endemic areas, organizing events and encouraging young people to challenge their leaders to do more to prevent the spread of the disease.

About IFP

The Ford Foundation has committed $340 million to the International Fellowships Program since it was established in 2001. IFP builds on a half century of foundation support for higher education and underscores our belief that education enables people to improve their own lives and assist others in the common pursuit of more equitable and just societies.

Facts About Fellows

  • Nearly 4,350 selected from 22 countries since 2001
  • 50 percent are women
  • Represent historically disadvantaged groups, including racial, ethnic and religious minorities, and people with disabilities
  • Two-thirds are from outside major cities
  • More than 80 percent are the first in their communities to earn advanced degrees
  • 91 percent of alumni earned their masters and doctoral degrees
  • 80 percent of alumni have returned home to serve their community or country

Learn More

Intended as a decade-long program, IFP is now entering its concluding phase. The final cohort has been selected. In the remaining years of the program—from 2011 through 2013—IFP will strengthen its alumni networks and organizations, evaluate program results, build a permanent archive, and will seek to disseminate and replicate the IFP model for social justice in international higher education.

Visit IFP to learn more about the fellowships and the organizations that administer the program in your country.

Listen to IFP Executive Director Joan Dassin on Voice of America.


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