How fellowship programs can cultivate leadership to fight inequality

Susan Berresford, who served as president of the Ford Foundation from 1996-2007 and launched the International Fellowships Program (IFP) under her tenure, reflects on the program in an op-ed for University World News. She presents data that underscores IFP’s success, considers lessons learned, and asks why, in the face of such clear need for them, similar programs remain rare. “Those of us who wish to build a better future need to be creative and willing to break molds that constrain opportunity,” she writes. “We need to focus on all levels of the education system because talent is already out there at all age levels. And now more than ever, the world needs an expanded supply of social justice leaders, not just a trickle.”

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The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization with assets currently valued at $16 billion. For more than 85 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.