The idea, an outgrowth of the partner universities’ participation in the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, “had to do with the foundation’s goals, and its theory of change,” Robin Marsh, the campus’s lead researcher for the project, told Berkeley News last year. “They’re essentially saying, ‘We are willing to invest in these young people — large investments, international tuition — because we believe they will be agents of change, transformative leaders. They will take their knowledge and skills and contacts from Berkeley, go home to their countries of origin and spread that knowledge and transform society in positive ways.'
“The foundation called it ‘Go back, give back,’” Marsh explained. “And we thought it would be worthwhile to know whether past African scholars at UC Berkeley did, in fact, go back and give back.”
Among the researchers’ findings — as laid out in a newly released report, “Beyond ‘Brain Drain’: Career Choices, Return Paths and Social Contributions of African Alumni — was that “overwhelmingly, the alumni who participated in the study indicated a deep commitment to Africa and to African development,” though students who go abroad for graduate study are “significantly more likely to return to Africa” than those enrolling as undergraduates. The report also found that a greater proportion of women than men settle in the diaspora.
The full report is available online here, and an abridged version of the report is available here.