That is a driving force of the MasterCard Foundation’s philosophy. I was fortunate to have dinner this week with Robin McLay, the former Director of Research, Strategy and Learning for the MasterCard Foundation, based in Toronto.

Robin has returned to Vancouver Island after a glittering career, which also included being a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and being the first Executive Director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. His university studies were at McGill, the LSE and Harvard.

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In their words, the MasterCard Foundation seeks “a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper.” One of their programs provides large grants annually to deserving and talented students from around the world - with a focus on Africa - to enable them to study at leading North American universities. Robin’s role was to advance thought leadership within the fields of higher education, financial inclusion and employment programs and to ensure that the Foundation’s programs and initiatives were informed by good evidence.

I was introduced to Robin by my good friend Bill Myles - another McGill graduate - who is Robin’s brother-in-law. We were able to toast Bill’s fine career in Victoria public schools, with just 30 days to go before his retirement.

We discussed education in general and collaborative approaches to help kids on a global level. Robin continues to support many causes through his volunteerism and board appointments with the Fulbright Foundation, The Walrus Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public health, to name a few. He is now working with the BC Government where he is leading their efforts to advance social innovation. We are going to continue our dialog.

J&A endeavors to help its student clients reach their potential. We go far, and go together with students and parents to make dreams happen!

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