ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management receives historic $25 million donation

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Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU announced a new global initiative to educate and empower 100 million learners by 2030. The initiative will be funded by a historic $25 million donation from the Francis and Dionne Najafi Global Initiative.

Of the 100 million learners the program will reach worldwide, it is estimated that 70% will be women and young women. It will consist of five courses in 40 different languages, helping people in undereducated parts of the world.

The certificate will be covered by full scholarships and thus no cost to students because of the philanthropic support undergirding the initiative.

Francis Najafi said that he has always dreamt about helping provide basic business skills at a world-wide scale. “As an immigrant, I saw what education did for me in terms of not only teaching me basic leadership skills, but also business skills,” Najafi said.

These leadership and business courses will be offered at three different levels, designed for people with different degrees of education. Najafi said that at the most basic level, if someone as a reading and writing ability in their language they could potentially take the courses.

Dean Sanjeev Khagram of ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management said that he is extremely grateful, not only for the donation but for Najafi’s intellectual leadership in crafting the Initiative.

“With ASU, with Thunderbird… we can reach 100 million learners with three levels of courses for the graduate level, the undergraduate level and the global majority- those who don’t have access to a formal education. Digital education translated into forty different languages at no cost to the learner. And that vision is possible because of the combination of Thunderbird and ASU and the incredible leadership and generosity of Francis and Dionne,” Khagram said.

Francis Najafi, Donor; Dean Sanjeev Khagram, ASU's Thunderbird School of Global Management

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