Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University Announces Global Initiative to Educate 100 Million Learners by 2030

US – News Direct – 20 January 2022 – Thunderbird School of Global Management, home of the world’s No. 1 ranked Master’s in Management
at Arizona State University (ASU), ranked No.1 for innovation in the
U.S., announced today a transformative new global
initiative to educate and empower 100 million learners by 2030. The
announcement coincides with the World Economic Forum’s State of the World sessions.

Thanks to a historic $25 million donation from the Francis
and Dionne Najafi Global Initiative, Thunderbird will offer an accredited online Global Management and Entrepreneurship
Certificate, consisting of five world-class courses in 40 different languages.
Of the 100 million learners the program will reach worldwide, it is estimated
that 70% will be women and young women. Never before has such an ambitious
global higher education program been launched. The certificate will be covered
by full scholarships and thus no cost to students because of the philanthropic
support undergirding the initiative.

The Francis and Dionne Najafi Global Initiative has been
made possible through a generous initial gift of $25 million from prominent
Phoenix businessman and Thunderbird alumni F. Francis Najafi ’77 and his wife
Dionne Najafi ’06. “Our lives were transformed by access to quality education
at Thunderbird and we wanted to extend that same transformative experience to
people around the world who lack access to quality education,” said the
Najafis. “We are excited and deeply humbled to be part of such a bold

The United Nations estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic
has erased 20 years’ worth of educational gains and digital online education
has accelerated and expanded dramatically to fill the gap. In addition, the
uncertainty and disruption that has come to characterize this era of rapid
technological change has displaced many workers and professionals all over the
world, increasing the need for upskilling and reskilling in order to seize the
immense opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Thunderbird is the most global and digital leadership and
management academy in the world and has touched over two million learners in
its renowned 75-year history. Over the last four years, we have engineered the
greatest turnaround in higher education history.  At Thunderbird, our vision is a world of
sustainable and equitable prosperity, and as part of Arizona State University –
the #1 school for innovation seven years running – we measure success not by whom
we exclude, but rather by whom we include,” said Thunderbird Director
General and Dean, Dr. Sanjeev Khagram. “As a refugee of Idi Amin’s Uganda, my
life was transformed by having access to world-class education, so this is
deeply personal for me. The Najafi Thunderbird Global Initiative is educational
inclusion, innovation, and impact at a worldwide scale!”

The learners in the Francis and Dionne Najafi Global
Initiative will receive a badge for each course they complete and a 15-unit
accredited certificate upon successful completion of all five courses. They
will gain 21st century skill sets to catapult their professional careers. They
will also have an almost limitless number of lifelong learning options and
alternative educational pathways through Thunderbird and ASU, or will be able
to transfer the credits to other universities worldwide. Providing these opportunities
over the long-term ensures that the Global Initiative will continue to pay
dividends well into the future, breaking down barriers and opening new
educational opportunities for individuals across generations worldwide.

“Access to higher education and the need for equity and
inclusion is one of a global scale. One of the reasons Arizona State University
is so pleased to have Thunderbird as part of our enterprise is because it is a
school that has been focused on sustained prosperity worldwide for decades,”
said ASU President Michael Crow. “The commitment made to the school by Francis
and Dionne Najafi will impact communities around the world and be a force that
brings all of us closer together. We are grateful for their commitment to a
borderless expansion of the opportunities that come with higher education.”

100 million learners by 2030 will require a strategic, phased approach. In year
one, the Global Initiative aims to reach learners in Iran, Kenya, Mexico,
Indonesia, Egypt, India, Senegal, Brazil, and Vietnam in their native
languages. By year two, the program will be expanded across Africa, the Middle
East, Asia and Latin America to at least 25 languages. By year four or earlier,
the Global Initiative will have expanded to Europe and Central Asia and 40
total languages – thus available for learners worldwide. Eventually, the
initiative will be available for learners worldwide, reaching our goal of 100
million learners.

Francis and Dionne Najafi Global Initiative will provide millions of people
with the global management and entrepreneurship skill sets that are not only
imperative to accelerate personal success and economic prosperity but also to
address persistent poverty and increase inequality worldwide. Interested individuals
can request additional information and pre-register at:



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