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CIEE Celebrates 50 Years of Study Abroad Partnership with Japan Innovating Cultural and Educational Exchange

To commemorate 50 years of partnership with Japanese educators and students, on September 30 CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange announced the CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholarship: Summer Study Around the World before an assembly of international dignitaries that included heads of Japan’s top academic institutions, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy.

The newly created scholarships will be awarded to 50 promising young Japanese students to study abroad on CIEE summer programs in more than 40 different countries. CIEE will award 10 scholarships in 2016, followed by 20 more in 2017, and another 20 in 2018. Scholars from a range of disciplines – language, business, culture, marine science, public health, engineering, art, and more – will see their tuition waived for courses offered at CIEE Study Centers around the globe, including in Argentina, Bonaire, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, and the United States.

The scholarships were announced by James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of CIEE, who said, “We honor the first steps that Japan’s students took in 1965, which broke cultural and logistical barriers, and encouraged mutual understanding and friendship between our nations. They are the inspiration for the CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholarship, which seeks to help Japanese students overcome the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture. This scholarship program will allow Japanese students to join Americans and other international students in study programs around the world.”

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy (3rd from left), CIEE President & CEO James Pellow (6th from left), and CIEE Japan staff participate in a traditional Japanese sake barrel breaking during a celebration of CIEE’s 50 years of study abroad partnership with Japan.

Since CIEE opened its office in Tokyo in 1965, it has provided scores of educational exchange programs to more than 60,000 Japanese and international students and educators who have gone on to serve as leaders in business, education, the arts, and public service. The experience they’ve had on CIEE programs has opened the door for alumni to work across cultures as global citizens, helping to bridge cultural differences and encourage warm relationships between nations, businesses, and people.

“Over the past 50 years, more than 60,000 people have participated in CIEE’s international exchange programs. And each one of them has a story of how the CIEE experience was life changing. My former assistant, for example, participated in CIEE Japan’s study abroad program when she was an exchange student here in Tokyo. This is just one example of how CIEE programs have brought us closer together,” said Ambassador Kennedy. “I would like to extend my deep appreciation for your dedication to international education and friendship between our two countries. I would also like to thank CIEE for its support of the TeamUp campaign to increase the number of American and Japanese students studying in each other’s countries, and for its spectacular new scholarships for Japanese students to study around the world. You truly are cultivating a new generation of leaders for the United States and Japan.”

The variety of programs led by CIEE Japan has been diverse over the last five decades and includes initiatives which, at the time of their inception, were considered groundbreaking. Today they have become integral to Japanese culture and its education system. It all began in 1965 with a dramatic chartered flight that departed Haneda International Airport for America with 102 young and excited Japanese students aboard. Those pioneers broke a key societal barrier among citizens of both nations, paving the way for future generations to explore other nations.

“Knowing that we have had a hand in nurturing so many global citizens, especially between our two countries, is a point of pride that humbles and inspires me,” said Robert E. Fallon, chairman of the CIEE Board of Directors. “Our collaborative work has opened the hearts and minds of Japanese and American students who have studied abroad and experienced life in other cultures. Indeed we have made great progress toward the founding mission of CIEE: to foster world peace and greater understanding between nations. Thank you to the Japanese people and our institutional partners who have contributed to 50 years of CIEE’s success in Japan.”

Over the years, the programs managed by CIEE Japan have steadily expanded, with help and collaboration from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and partner universities. Programs include:

• Providing the first-ever in-service training for Japanese teachers of English;
• Administration/representative of the TOEFL® Test products;
• Management of International Volunteer Projects abroad;
• Study and work abroad opportunities for Japanese students;
• Japanese host programs for American educators and students;
• Hosting programs for international students and volunteers in Japan.

For more information about the experiences of CIEE Japan alumni and partners, and to read notes of congratulations on 50 years, visit http://ciee50.jp/.


CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced that it has awarded the first CIEE Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC). NTCC, based in Louisiana, will use the $20,000 grant to support an innovative faculty-led study abroad program in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The grant will open doors for NTCC students who have never traveled abroad before or who don’t have the resources to study abroad to participate in an international experience.

Over the semester, NTCC and CIEE’s Faculty-Led and Custom Programs team will work together to create the Northshore Technical Community College Global Maritime Abroad Collaboration (GMAC) program for freshmen and sophomores pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), including industrial maintenance technology, drafting and design, industrial electrician, and welding. The program will focus on providing workforce training and industry credentials that are relevant to NTCC students’ future employment, while also offering intercultural skills training that will help prepare them to enter the global economy following graduation.

“The Global Maritime Abroad Collaboration program is inspired by a progressive and transformative maritime collaboration between our college, our public school system, our regional university, and our maritime advisory consortium. The foundation of this proposal, by design, is centered on advancing global educational pathways that promote mentoring, service-learning, internship, and project-based experiments,” said William Wainwright, Ph.D., chancellor of Northshore Technical Community College. “Through this groundbreaking opportunity with CIEE, meaningful student engagement will lead to earned college credit through a scalable program that will impact our college, our community and technical college system, and our global economy.”

NTCC Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Daniel Roberts, Ph.D., who authored the Global Maritime Abroad Collaboration program proposal, added, “We are very thankful for CIEE and their commitment to funding a customized, faculty-led study abroad program centered on students in workforce pathways. Our students now have the opportunity to experience the global economy firsthand while obtaining their degrees.”

CIEE received nearly 50 proposals from schools across the United States for its inaugural grant. CIEE created the Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to recognize innovative programs that increase access to study abroad, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. The grant program is part of CIEE’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad™, a national challenge initiated by the Institute of International Education to double the number of students studying abroad to 600,000 by the year 2020.

“CIEE is excited to award the first-ever Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to the Northshore Technical Community College. Their program truly supports our goal to recognize innovative programs that increase access to study abroad on every level,” said Kellie Sullivan, director of Faculty-Led and Custom Programs at CIEE. “We know there are many barriers to study abroad, chief among them cost. In addition, community colleges have been traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. By offering Northshore Technical Community College students access to a valuable international educational experience, we’re helping empower a new generation of community college students to engage with diverse cultures, which will ultimately help them to become more effective leaders in today’s globalized world.”

For more information about CIEE’s commitment to Generation Study Abroad, visit: http://www.ciee.org/generation-study-abroad/.



CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange today announced Maritheresa Frain, Ph.D., as its new executive vice president of study abroad.

 Frain brings more than 20 years of experience in international education to her new position, including more than 15 years with CIEE. As executive vice president of study abroad, Frain will lead CIEE’s most comprehensive line of business, which includes 61 study centers in 43 countries around the world.


                                                    Maritheresa Frain - CIEE Executive VP Study Abroad


Frain will be responsible for all aspects of CIEE’s global network of study centers and academic programs, and support of 350 Academic Consortium member schools. 

 Since November 2013, Frain has held the position of vice president of academic affairs, overseeing the academic quality for all of CIEE’s international study abroad programs in 63 cities, research projects in language acquisition and intercultural skill development, and CIEE’s Center for Teaching and Learning. During this time, she has led the newly formed Academic Affairs team to develop Global Learning Objectives that define what students gain by studying abroad with CIEE; designed pre- and post-study abroad testing based on ACTFL standards to analyze student experiences; developed an intercultural communication and leadership class that teaches students how to engage effectively in different cultures; and has worked closely with CIEE’s Academic Consortium Board to build a portfolio of study abroad programs that meet the needs of CIEE member institutions and their students, including by developing a robust offering of new short-term options.

 “Maritheresa is an incredibly talented leader who will bring to CIEE’s consortium of colleges and universities the rare combination of two decades of international program operating experience, a deep knowledge of the academy,  and significant international experience in teaching and research,” stated James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of CIEE.

 Previously, Frain served as center director of the CIEE Study Center in Seville, Spain, where she led a team of 23 study abroad professionals and introduced multiple study, international service, and research programs. She developed a portfolio of more than 500 homestay families, and established international gap year, teach abroad, and high school abroad programs. Prior to joining CIEE, she served as consular agent for the U.S. Department of State in Seville, worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C., and was a visiting professor at Georgetown University. She holds a doctorate and master’s degree in government and international relations from Georgetown University, and a bachelor’s degree in foreign service and international politics from Penn State University.







Today CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange welcomed 111 students from more than 80 U.S. colleges and universities to its new Global Institute in Berlin, Germany.

GIBerlin Building Outside
A 100-year-old former manufacturing factory was converted into CIEE's modern, international Global Institute in Berlin.

With an affordable tuition, a flexible Open Campus curriculum that meets the requirements of most U.S. colleges and universities, and 38 classes taught in English, CIEE’s Global Institute in Berlin makes study abroad more accessible than ever before. The launch comes as the United States continues to lag behind other nations in international academic exchange. According to Open Doors data, 886,000 foreign students came to the United States to study in 2012-2013, three times the 289,000 U.S. students studying abroad during the same time period.

“CIEE’s Global Institute academic model is designed to overcome the primary barriers that prevent too many American students from studying abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – as it’s financially affordable, academically flexible, and provides students from all backgrounds a supportive learning community,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D, president and chief executive officer of CIEE. “Berlin is known as the city of reinvention, so it’s the perfect location to introduce flexible, high-quality academic programs that will open doors for students from all socio-economic backgrounds and countless academic majors.”

GIBerlin Gate
The new Global Institute - Berlin is located at 27 Gneisenaustrasse in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin's most diverse neighborhoods.

Students enrolled in the inaugural semester have selected a diverse array of subjects to study that reflect the unique experiences one can have while living in Germany. Nearly one-third are studying German language, literature, and culture. More than one-quarter are taking advantage of studying in Europe’s critical global economy by enrolling in business classes. Still others are pursuing courses in communications, health sciences, and international relations. “The Open Campus program at the Global Institute – Berlin provides students with an unmatched opportunity to intensively study their favorite topics, while also engaging with German society and culture. Instructors work to make each classroom a dynamic learning environment, integrating course content with the full range of study tours, excursions, and cultural activities offered throughout the program,” said John Roper, Ph.D., academic coordinator and core faculty at the Global Institute – Berlin.

Academic credit will transfer to more than 80 different American schools including Arizona State University, Colorado College, Elon University, Gettysburg College, Howard University, Indiana University, Trinity College, University of Kentucky, University of Kansas, and Villanova University.

At the Global Institute, students live and learn in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s most culturally diverse and authentic neighborhoods, in an architecturally dynamic facility. CIEE partnered with the renowned New York City design and development group Macro Sea, who identified a former manufacturing factory to convert into CIEE’s first Global Institute. The complex was selected from a pool of 50 different options because of the neighborhood’s rich history in culture, art, and politics. The 100-year-old, five-story factory building was transformed into a modern, international campus with U.S.-style residences, administrative offices, faculty apartments, and a centerpiece courtyard that encourages community building. In fact, the Global Institute will house multiple programs that welcome local Berliners to intermingle with U.S. students. 

GIBerlin Dorms
The Global Institute features U.S.-style residences for American and international students.

“There is a German colloquialism ‘aus der Reihe tanzen,' which literally translates to ‘dance outside the lines.’ There could be no more apt description for this Global Institute concept as we engage new generations of American students who may have dreamed about studying abroad but didn’t know how they could make it a reality,” said Maritheresa Frain, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs and interim executive vice president, Study Abroad.

Applications for the spring 2016 semester are available online now through November 1. The Global Institute – Berlin is the first of many and will be linked to other CIEE Global Institutes in London and Rome (2016).

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.