The foundation aims to select the most promising students and young professionals from underdeveloped and isolated areas of the world to take a university degree at one of the best business schools of the European Union. These students, called ‘Kofi Annan Fellows’ will receive their education free of charge, but they must promise to return to their native areas. They will be selected from local schools, voluntary organisations, NGOs and chambers of commerce.
The selected students receive an excellent entrepreneurial education and the chance to build an international network. In addition, the ‘Kofi Annan Fellows’ will also get practical experience by carrying out a project in their country of origin. The EU Universities will liaise with colleagues from local academic organisations to help them with the theoretical background for these projects.
The Kofi Annan Business School Foundation aims to stimulate local entrepreneurship. The start and growth of small and medium sized enterprises is of crucial importance both for economic and democratic development in the target countries. It is an implementation of the UN Millennium Goals project that stresses the importance of knowledge exchange between ‘Southern’ and ‘Western’ universities.
Local universities in the developing world will assist the Kofi Annan Business School Foundation in the selection of the Fellows. It is the intention to start the pilot project with a maximum of 40 students at both academic institutions in September 2007 over a three-year period. Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and Hogeschool Utrecht will waive tuition fees of nearly 100 student years. Companies and other institutions will be requested to sponsor additional tuition fees as well as travel and cost of living expenses. On the basis of a successful pilot project, the programme will be extended with more top business schools in the EU and possibly in the US.
This decision to create the foundation follows several months of preparations culminating in a meeting hosted by the Secretary General in Geneva on 21st November 2006. The Dean of Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Roland Van Dierdonck, Hogeschool Utrecht President of the Board Geri Bonhof, PA International Secretary General Rio D. Praaning Prawira Adiningrat and PA International Director Hans Nijhoff presented their plan together. The initiative is an implementation of the recommendations by the UN Millennium Development Goals project team, headed by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (US, Columbia University).
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