From its inception in 2001, IFP saw itself as more than a fellowship. Rather, it saw itself as a social justice program that would function through higher education. To realize this vision, the Ford Foundation provided $420 million in funding resources for IFP, the single largest program commitment in its history.
IFP's underlying assumption was that, given the right tools, emerging leaders from disadvantaged communities could succeed in postgraduate studies and would work to improve conditions in their communities upon returning home.
Promoting Access and Equity
Despite expansion in the numbers of students attending universities, disadvantaged communities continue to be seriously under-represented in higher education throughout the world. By supporting members of groups that have traditionally suffered exclusion and discrimination within developing countries, IFP promoted greater access and equity in higher education. The program's 4,305 alumni represent a wide range of groups that have faced discrimination because of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, economic and educational background, physical disability, and a variety of other exclusionary factors.
Fostering Broader Social Change
Higher education is an essential long-term investment for addressing major social issues and promoting economic development. By supporting people who had demonstrated a leadership potential and a commitment to their home communities, IFP hypothesized that it had the potential to promote social change on a broad scale by investing in individuals.
IIE's 10-year Alumni Tracking Study shows that IFP alumni are not only experiencing personal and professional gains, they are driving tangible and sustainable change in their home communities, countries and wider global society.