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CIEE Students Pitch Ideas to the Portland Sea Dogs

Forty high school students from the Baltics got a crash course in international entrepreneurship in Portland, Maine, this summer. As part CIEE’s Global Entrepreneurship program, these students pitched ideas to boost ticket sales for local Double-A affiliate baseball team, the Portland Sea Dogs. The winning concept: a social media plan with an ad campaign on Snapchat.

“About 77 percent of students said they use Snapchat daily. And, when we asked, about 70 percent said they would like to receive promotions on Snapchat from brands they like,” said Justas Jasevicius, a rising high school senior from Lithuania who was part of the winning team.

Other ideas were all-you-can-eat seats and deluxe ticket packages that might include exclusive events.

Read more in the Bangor Daily News.

The Power of Diplomacy and Engagement in Focus at CIEE Civic Leadership Summit

In an effort to increase public diplomacy between the United States and countries around the world, CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange gathered 64 international college and university students from 31 countries in Washington D.C. to learn how to become changemakers during its third annual Civic Leadership Summit, August 3-6.

2015 CIEE Civic Leadership Summit Participants
2015 Civic Leadership Summit Fellows in front of the White House during a tour of Washington D.C.

Held each year at American University’s School of International Service, the Civic Leadership Summit brings together passionate, young leaders from around the world for a dynamic exchange on leadership, social entrepreneurship, and cultural understanding. Summit fellows are all part of the U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program, which provides international students with the opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer vacations. CIEE is the largest sponsor of the program in the country, bringing nearly 20,000 international students to the United States annually.

Over three days, Summit fellows engaged with experts in the field and shared their unique perspectives on civic leadership, while exploring the nation’s capital. CIEE’s goal is to help these students gain a better understanding of themselves and the United States that they can take back to their home countries.

“CIEE is committed to fostering mutual understanding and peaceful relations between people of the United States and other nations, and the Civic Leadership Summit is an important part of this effort,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow. “This year, we have fellows from Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and many other countries, learning from one another and exploring ways to make their communities, countries, and regions better places. We’re proud to play a role in building these important relationships among the people of different nations.”

That certainly was the case for Ghadeer Abu-rass, a student from Jordan who worked this summer as a hostess near the Grand Canyon. “I have met people from all over the world, I have been introduced to cultures I never thought I would meet – especially at the Grand Canyon,” she said. “We’ve shared our stories and learned so much from each other. I was even invited to a Navajo rain dance ceremony. I will never forget it."

Civic Leadership Summit Fellows with Robin Lerner
Civic Leadership Summit Fellows Aly Metwaly, Mahmoud Sadek, Ghader Aburass, and Manuel Cedeno with Robin Lerner, deputy assistant secretary for private sector exchange at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

A highlight of the Summit was a daylong workshop, the Be a Changemaker Challenge, led by Ashoka’s Youth Venture, an organization that inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own community-benefiting initiatives, clubs, organizations, and businesses. During the Challenge, fellows identified their passions to create change for social issues, and then worked in groups to develop plans for launching their own social ventures in their home countries.

“My Ashoka training got me thinking about things I never thought about,” said Umar Asghar, a student from Pakistan who spent the summer working as a cashier at a Cape Cod supermarket. “Not just thinking about how things can be different. But to understand how to create change and make it happen.”

Other Summit highlights included:

  • A screening of “Girl Rising,” a film created as part of a global action campaign designed to educate and empower girls. The film takes audiences on a journey around the globe to spotlight the stories of unforgettable girls who, despite being born into unforgiving circumstances, follow their dreams, raise their voices, and lead remarkable lives.

  • A session with Street Law, Inc., an international initiative that creates engaging classroom and community programs that teach people about law, democracy, and human rights worldwide.

  • Discussions facilitated by The World Justice Project, an independent, multidisciplinary organization that engages citizens and leaders to advance the rule of law, reducing corruption, combating poverty and disease, and protecting people from injustice.

Civic Leadership Summit fellows are selected based on essays or videos that describe their achievements as a global citizen and what they hope to gain from living and working in the United States. CIEE provides each selected fellow with a fellowship grant to cover the cost of attending the Summit, including travel, accommodations, meals, and activities.

CIEE Offers Most Study Abroad Options for STEM Students

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange has committed to offering the most study abroad program options for students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in response to growing popularity among U.S. undergraduates.

STEM – and STEM education – is more globally relevant today than ever before and vital to our future. Students studying STEM disciplines are on the front lines of solving critical world issues, working to find solutions for global warming, cancer, hunger, disappearing habitats, clean water, and more. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 30 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the U.S. in 2012-2013 were for STEM disciplines. That same year, study abroad participation by STEM students rose to 23 percent, a nearly two percent increase over the previous year.

To meet this growing demand, CIEE offers 104 study abroad programs with STEM course options in 47 locations worldwide. Thirty-six are designed specifically for STEM students, allowing them to fulfill academic requirements while gaining critical global perspective. Programs include Sustainability and the Environment in Monteverde, Cost Rica; Community Public Health in Gaborone, Botswana; Engineering, Technology, and Society in Dublin, Ireland; and Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation in Kralendijk, Bonaire. Beginning in spring 2016, CIEE will also offer a new Global Sustainability and Environment program in three global centers for innovation in sustainability – Berlin, Cape Town, and Shanghai – which will allow environmental studies students to earn credits toward their degree and enhance their global knowledge.

“STEM is most effective when it draws from all relevant sources, and these sources span the globe. To be cutting edge or even competitive, STEM students need an international understanding of different cultures and communities and how to apply technologies and ideas within a cultural framework,” said Maritheresa Frain, CIEE’s interim executive vice president, Study Abroad, and vice president for academic affairs. “On CIEE programs, STEM students gain this critical framework while taking part in fieldwork and research and by learning from leaders and innovators. They return home with a stronger, deeper knowledge of their chosen curriculum and the world around them.”

CIEE offers program options for every student, regardless of their major. From immersive semester-long programs to intensive, short-term summer, January, and May sessions, CIEE’s STEM portfolio accommodates students’ demanding schedules and rigorous academic requirements.

“By offering programs at different times of year and for various lengths, we hope to help more students gain access to life-changing international experiences,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow, Ed.D. “For many students – especially those in the STEM fields – studying abroad during the semester isn’t possible due to rigorous curricula and schedules. With CIEE, students can choose the timing and duration of the program that best meets their needs and academic requirements, ensuring they stay on track for graduation while gaining important personal and professional skills in a real-world setting.”

Through its commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a five-year initiative developed by the Institute of International Education, CIEE has pledged to break down the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – with concrete solutions, helping to double the number of American students who study abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020.

Learn more about all of CIEE's STEM programs at ciee.org/STEM

CIEE’s Matt Redman Shares Ideas for Integrating Study Abroad into High School Curriculum with Education Week

“Transformative academic and cultural experiences from studying abroad are happening every day around the world. These student experiences provide rich, authentic resources for not just the student who takes part, but also for their peers.”

A student on CIEE's High School Summer Abroad program in Seville, Spain, tags a sanctioned graffiti wall.

In a guest post on the Education Week Global Learning blog, CIEE High School and Teach Abroad Director Matt Redman shares ideas for incorporating students’ international experiences into high school curricula so all students benefit.

Read the full article.



CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange is expanding short-term study abroad offerings to increase access to international education opportunities for U.S. undergraduates of all academic disciplines and majors. Beginning in 2016, the leading nonprofit international education and exchange organization will offer 36 new study abroad sessions in January and May to help ensure every student has the chance to study abroad.

Each three-and-a-half week session will offer students international experience and academic credit without impacting on-campus schedules or summer plans. January programs will be held during universities’ winter breaks, and May programs will be offered following the end of the academic year but prior to the start of traditional summer programs.

Each session is priced affordably at under $3,000. Eligible students will have access to scholarships and grants to further help defray the costs of studying abroad.

“Every student should have the chance to study abroad. Research shows that studying abroad helps to increase academic success, graduation rates, and post-graduate placements in jobs and graduate schools. By offering more sessions in more intervals, we help students of all academic majors and challenging schedules to participate,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow, Ed.D. “If a pre-med student has a rigorous academic schedule or a student athlete has a schedule that doesn’t allow them to be away from campus for a semester, they can instead take short-term programs in January during winter break, in May after the traditional year ends, or during the summer. They’ll gain critical international experience and stay on track for graduation – a win-win for both the students and their institutions.”

Session themes will include business, liberal arts, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) topics, such as culture and reproductive health in Ghana and sustainable development in the tropics in Costa Rica. Students complete one course tied to the session theme, go on excursions to sites of cultural or historical significance related to the theme, and take part in activities focused on immersion in the local culture.

“For example, students on CIEE’s January Communications, New Media, and Journalism session in Prague, Czech Republic, take a course on the power of social media, visit local media like Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, and meet with Charles University students,” continued Pellow. “Every component of the new sessions is designed to work together to provide students with maximum learning and cultural immersion in a short timeframe.”

By expanding short-term sessions, CIEE is taking the next step in its commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a five-year initiative developed by the Institute of International Education. CIEE has pledged to break down the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – to help double the number of American students who study abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020.

CIEE Names Meghann Curtis Executive Vice President of International Exchange Programs

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced Meghann Curtis as its new executive vice president of International Exchange Programs.

Ms. Curtis comes to CIEE from the U.S. Department of State, where she served as deputy assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs, overseeing all academic programs operating across 170 countries, including the Fulbright Program, EducationUSA, and all English-language programs. Previously, she was senior advisor on international development policy and strategy to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In this position, she built on several other advisory and program management positions at the Department of State.

CIEE has named U.S. Department of State veteran Meghann Curtis as new executive vice president of international exchange programs.

In her new position, Ms. Curtis will be responsible for leading CIEE’s inbound international exchange programs, including the J-1 visa exchange visitor programs, F-1 visa high school programs, CIEE’s international operations in Tokyo and Taipei, and CIEE’s participant services unit, located in Portland, Maine. Ms. Curtis will also open CIEE’s first Washington, D.C. office, where she will serve as CIEE’s primary liaison to its partners at the U.S. Department of State, with Congress, and at the White House.

“Meghann’s breadth of global program management experience coupled with her passion for the work make her well suited to support CIEE’s 70-year-old mission: to build the skills, knowledge, and competencies for participants to contribute in meaningful ways to today’s biggest international economic, social, and diplomatic challenges,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of CIEE. “We are delighted she will bring those skills and experiences to CIEE.”

Each year, CIEE’s international exchange programs help more than 30,000 international students visit the United States and support thousands of other students who participate in programs around the world.

Ms. Curtis has deep direct experience in global development and education beyond her tenure at the U.S. Department of State, having held positions as a rural economic development specialist in Malawi for the William J. Clinton Foundation and as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship for public policy leaders in federal government, among many other awards and scholarships earned during her career. Ms. Curtis has led scores of delegations to dozens of countries to advance public diplomacy and mutual understanding. She also is an alumna of CIEE, having participated in an international service program in the Czech Republic while in college.

Ms. Curtis holds a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and son.

World Trade Center Redevelopment Master Planner Daniel Libeskind and Google Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap to Headline 2015 CIEE Annual Conference

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange is excited to announce visionary architect Daniel Libeskind and Google Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap as the featured speakers for its 2015 CIEE Annual Conference, November 4-7, in Berlin.

Respected innovators in their fields, Libeskind and Casap will offer inspiration to an audience of more than 500 scholars, thinkers, and leaders in international education who are working to reimagine, rebuild, and reinvent study abroad to give all students the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century.

During the conference’s opening presentation on November 4, Libeskind will share his architectural vision and use his own work as an example of how developing and shaping big ideas can lead to transformation. Casap will share his thoughts on the powerful role of technology in revolutionizing education and transforming today’s students into tomorrow’s global citizens during the conference’s Annual Luncheon on November 6.

This year’s conference theme, The Reinvention of Study Abroad: Setting the Course for 2020, is part of CIEE’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, an initiative started by the Institute of International Education to double the number of students studying abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020. In support of this initiative, CIEE has pledged to provide $20 million in scholarships and grants to American students, to sponsor passports for 10,000 students, and to offer an annual $20,000 grant to college faculty to support innovative approaches to custom study abroad programs.

To learn more about the CIEE Annual Conference, visit www.ciee.org/conference.

Daniel Libeskind, Architect, Artist, and Professor
An international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is renowned for his ability to evoke cultural memory in buildings of equilibrium-defying contemporaneity. Informed by a deep commitment to music, philosophy, and literature, Libeskind aims to create architecture that is resonant, original, and sustainable. Born in Lód’z, Poland, in 1946, Libeskind immigrated to the United States as a teenager.

Daniel Libeskind
Daniel Libeskind, World Trade Center Redevelopment Master Planner

Libeskind established his architectural studio in Berlin, Germany, in 1989 after winning the competition to build the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In February 2003, Studio Libeskind moved its headquarters from Berlin to New York City when Daniel Libeskind was selected as the master planner for the World Trade Center redevelopment. Daniel Libeskind’s practice is involved in designing and realizing a diverse array of urban, cultural, and commercial projects internationally.

Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google, Inc.
Jaime Casap is chief education evangelist at Google, Inc., where he works with educational organizations around the world to help them find ways to continuously improve the quality of education by utilizing and enabling technology capabilities. Born and raised as a first-generation American to a single mother on welfare in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, Casap understands and appreciates the power education has on changing the destiny of a family in just one generation.

Jaime Casap Headshot
Jaime Casap, Google Chief Education Evangelist

In addition to his role at Google, Casap serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Science Foundation, New Global Citizens, Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, and serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on education and access, including South by Southwest EDU (SXSWedu,) the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and is on the GSV Advisors Advisory Board. He is also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches classes and guest lectures.

CIEE Awards Nearly 400 Scholarships to Help High School Students Study Abroad in Global Navigator Program’s First Year

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced it has awarded 391 Global Navigator scholarships totaling more than $1.6 million to high school students to study abroad in summer 2015, the program’s pilot year.

Forty-one high schools in six states were selected as Global Navigator schools, qualifying them for scholarships that enable their students to participate in summer study abroad programs. Schools were selected through a competitive assessment of their commitment to foreign-language acquisition and global education. Global Navigator schools provide rigorous, integrated, and globally focused academic programs, while serving students from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. In fact, 48 percent of 2015 Global Navigator scholarship recipients are students from diverse backgrounds.

“Leaders of the country’s most globally minded secondary schools are striving to combine rigorous academic programs with experiential learning, which can happen only when students have the opportunity to study abroad,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of CIEE. “The Global Navigator Scholarship program recognizes exemplary schools, then enables them to enhance student learning by providing real-world experiences for students who would not otherwise be able to study abroad. It levels the playing field for students from all backgrounds.”

The student scholarship recipients, known as Global Navigators, will each take part in one of 30 four-week language, culture, and leadership programs this summer in one of 16 locations around the world. Students were selected using criteria spanning merit, financial need, and passion for meaningful cross-cultural exchange. In total, 70 percent of students in the pilot enrolled in language programs, 15 percent in service programs, and 15 percent in content area studies.

CIEE Global Navigator scholarships are made possible by a generous endowment from donor Sheron Long, former CEO of Hampton-Brown, a pre-K through grade 12 education publisher of language and literacy materials. The intent of the awards is to increase the number of high school students who study abroad by making the experience more financially accessible.

“The goal of the CIEE Global Navigator program is to prepare students to navigate across languages, connect with cultures, and develop global competencies for thriving in today’s interconnected world,” said Ms. Long.

Based on the success of the pilot, CIEE is expanding the program to create opportunities for more high school students to study abroad and become Global Navigators.

CIEE Partners with Spelman College and Northeastern University to Launch Custom Study Abroad Programs for Undergrads in STEM Disciplines

 CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange has partnered with Spelman College, a global leader in the education of women of African descent, and Northeastern University, a global, experiential, research university in Boston, to offer custom study abroad programs this spring with the goal to increase international education opportunities for students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

For a second year, CIEE has partnered with Spelman College to support their Going Global initiative, which seeks to provide every student with an international travel experience before graduation. For two weeks, May 10-24, 161 Spelman students are taking part in an immersive program with a customized intercultural engagement curriculum to enhance intercultural competencies and leadership skills in one of six locations: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Barcelona, Spain; Seoul, South Korea; Lima, Peru; Lisbon, Portugal; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Forty-five of the students participating in the program are STEM majors, a 137 percent increase in participation from the previous year.

“Our deliberate efforts to address the major barriers to international travel experience – cost, culture, curriculum, and champions – have yielded much fruition by providing global travel opportunities for a group that is traditionally underrepresented in study abroad,” said Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D., associate provost for global education at Spelman College. “This program has become the most effective strategy for us to achieve both Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and strategic planning goals of yearly increase in student and faculty international travel experiences.”

CIEE is also supporting a customized program for 23 Northeastern University students in Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 12-June 11. Designed specifically for students in STEM majors and those with an interest in sustainability, the Northeastern program will help students build an understanding of how energy resources are being utilized in the U.S. and Brazil, current alternative energy systems and technologies, and how these alternatives can impact the environment through fieldwork activities and meetings with industry leaders.

“There is a huge need for students to understand the necessity of sustainable development, especially in developing countries that are ahead of the U.S. in this effort,” said Courtney Pfluger, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor of engineering at Northeastern who will lead the students on the four-week program. “Students who become globally competent will be the leaders in shaping our world and realizing the potential in bettering our environment and society.”

A growing segment in study abroad, STEM students today make up nearly 23 percent of U.S. students studying abroad, representing a significant increase over the past 10 years according to Open Doors Data. “CIEE has seen increased interest in STEM programs from both students and faculty and administrators at institutions across the country,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow. “Colleges and universities like Spelman College and Northeastern University are recognizing the importance of providing access to international experiences for all students. Spelman and Northeastern have both seen the positive impact of creating custom programs built to professors’ curricula and students’ academic requirements and schedules.”

CIEE offers 29 semester, summer, and winter study abroad programs focused on STEM disciplines, including tropical marine ecology and conservation, and engineering. The organization recently introduced a new Global Sustainability and Environment program on three continents: Shanghai, China; Berlin, Germany; and Cape Town, South Africa.


CIEE Launches Global Institute in Rome; Unveils 15 New Study Abroad Programs and Three New Internship Locations

In an effort to expand access to study abroad opportunities for U.S. undergraduates, CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced it will open a Global Institute in Rome next fall and offer 15 new global study abroad programs starting in spring 2016. The new programs were approved by CIEE’s Academic Consortium Board (ACB) during its annual meeting in Portland, Maine, April 27-28.

Designed to break down the main barriers students face to international education – cost, curriculum, and culture – CIEE Global Institutes feature an innovative Open Campus program model that allows students pursuing all majors to customize the study abroad experience to their academic requirements, interests, and schedule. The new Global Institute – Rome will follow the openings of CIEE Global Institutes in Berlin and London this fall, and represents the first time CIEE, the leader in international education and exchange, will offer programs in Italy’s capital city. CIEE currently offers programs in Ferrara in northern Italy.

“CIEE is committed to breaking through the barriers that keep too many students from studying abroad. That’s why we’re developing flexible, high-quality, and affordable international academic programs that will provide more access for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds and academic majors,” said James P. Pellow, CIEE president and chief executive officer. “We’re pleased to able to extend our affordable and flexible Open Campus model into Rome to give our students access to one of the world’s most historic and culturally relevant cities.”

Expanding on the flexibility of its Open Campus program, CIEE will introduce a pilot program next spring allowing students in CIEE’s Open Campus programs in Berlin and London to study in both international cities by pairing a six-week academic block in one location with a second six-week block in the other.

During its annual meeting, the ACB also approved 14 new study abroad programs in 10 cities, including Buenos Aires, Moscow, Taipei, and Rabat, bringing the organization’s total number of undergraduate study abroad programs to more than 220. CIEE operates 61 Study Centers in 43 countries worldwide.

To meet students’ growing need to gain real-world work experience in global economic centers and hubs for business innovation, CIEE also announced today that the Academic Internship Council (AIC) will offer internships in three new locations: Berlin, Germany; Cape Town, South Africa; and Santiago, Chile. AIC, which merged with CIEE in September 2014, works with academic institutions, students, and employers to offer customized academic internship programs that help students achieve personal and professional growth and competitive advantage in the global workforce. The new locations bring AIC’s total internship locations to 10 international cities.

“We’re dedicated to providing diverse options for students across the United States to gain practical work experience that will help them be competitive in today’s job market. Our new internship locations represent some of the world’s leading economic centers on three continents, offering students more choice of where they can gain the skills needed to become globally competent workers,” said AIC President Tony Johnson.