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CIEE STATEMENT ON STATUS OF J-1 VISA PROGRAMS

As the United States prepares for a change in administration, we know that CIEE’s Exchange Visitors and their hosts in the U.S. may have questions about the future of J-1 visa programs. This statement serves to address those questions and frame expectations for the future.

First, all stakeholders should know that absolutely no changes have been made to J-1 visa programs. Any current or prospective J-1 Exchange Visitors should know that they continue to be welcomed in and to the United States. Current participants should expect to complete their exchange program according to a previously planned schedule and prospective participants should expect to pursue a future program according to standard timelines. 

Second, international exchange has a long history of deep bipartisan support in Congress – from both the Democratic and Republican parties. Outside of the U.S. government, international exchange has countless stakeholders around the world – from employers, to schools, to host families and host communities, to sending countries and governments. 

Third, CIEE has great confidence in the democratic process that would shape and deliver any policy changes that could come with a new administration. Policy changes require vigorous and thorough analysis and debate, and typically involve both the executive and legislative branches in a lengthy process. Additionally, the voice and will of the people – everyday Americans – are considered when governmental policy and programmatic change is developed or reviewed. As the largest U.S. State Department-designated sponsor of J-1 visas, CIEE has excellent working relationships with career civil service, professional, and political staff across the Executive Branch and Congress. You can be sure that we will have a seat at the table should any change to J-1 programs be considered.

Fourth, J-1 visa programs are tools for the advancement of U.S. national security and cultural exchange, not pathways for immigration or labor programs. J-1 visa programs are administered by the U.S. Department of State – a cabinet-level national security and foreign affairs agency of the federal government – and not the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Labor. By building mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and people of other nations, we are all stronger, safer, and more prosperous.

Fifth, and importantly, there is a great and longstanding tradition of tolerance across America. This is a country that celebrates diversity, freedom, multiculturalism, and plurality. CIEE has a long history of bringing together people from different backgrounds to support harmonious relations between all people from all nations.

International exchange is an enduring American institution and CIEE is committed to protecting and advancing its long and strong legacy. We look forward sharing the American experience with many future participants on our programs in the years to come. 

Reflections on the U.S. Presidential Election

On Wednesday, November 9, America awoke to a surprising outcome in our Presidential election as Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States.

Considered one of the most divisive campaigns in our nation’s history, and notwithstanding a popular vote that was nearly a dead heat, the outcome is clear – many Americans were seeking a change in the direction of their country and their voices were heard through the democratic process that we hold so dear.

The results of the election may have left a lot of folks with many questions, given the President-elect's platform on international engagement. Yet, at CIEE we have great confidence in the democratic process that will shape and deliver any policy changes that come with a new presidency. We also believe that post-election conversations and actions are often less severe than what took place during the contentious debates of the election cycle.

Since 1947, our mission has been to bring together people from different backgrounds, to support programs that facilitate harmonious relations between all people from all nations. I am most confident that our CIEE global family has many supporters and stakeholders in communities across the country who come from different backgrounds, who indeed are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Together, we draw on our differences and common values to do the good work we do every day.

While some may be dismayed by the outcome of the election, we should all embrace what makes America so strong – our wonderful democratic process that entitles us to speak our minds, select our leaders, and work together to achieve our dreams. In her concession speech, Secretary Hillary Clinton was gracious and hopeful of a better future, inviting all Americans to move forward together, and proclaiming that the American dream is big enough for everyone. In a similar tone of reconciliation and call for unity, President-elect Trump complimented Secretary Clinton for her campaign, shared his respect for her lifelong service to our country, and pledged to work hard for all Americans, regardless of background.

As the conversations begin in the new administration regarding international education and exchange, please know that CIEE and its partners will be at the table ensuring our voices are heard and that the important work of international exchange will continue its long and strong legacy of contributing to global harmony. Indeed, our mission to help people from all countries and cultures embrace differences and celebrate common ground has never been more important.

Peace,
Jim

James P. Pellow, Ed. D.
CIEE President and CEO

 

Announcing Our First 10 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship is a nationwide initiative designed to break down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to make study abroad accessible to students from minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Along with Project Passport, the fellowship is part of a strategic three-year partnership between CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) to increase study abroad at MSIs. We received many wonderful applications from students around the country and are proud to announce the first-ever Frederick Douglass Global Fellows:

These Frederick Douglass Global Fellows are meritorious individuals who demonstrate high academic achievement, possess exemplary communication skills, display the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibit characteristics of bold leadership, and have a history of service to others. In the spirit of Frederick Douglass, one of America’s most powerful intellectuals, communicators, and scholars, they have committed to sharing their experiences and intercultural growth with peers and classmates before, during, and after their summer abroad.

“These fellows exemplify the wonderful kinds of students that attend minority-serving institutions,” said Marybeth Gasman, professor and director of CMSI. “They’re determined and inspiring, and they represent the future leaders of our increasingly diverse nation.”

This year's cohort of 10 students will take part in a summer study abroad program designed to enhance their leadership and intercultural skills in London, England. Future Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will participate in study abroad programs in Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018), and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019).

“Frederick Douglass was an American icon. He escaped from slavery, wrote and spoke widely on issues of human rights and social justice in America and Europe, and became one of the most influential figures of the 19th century concerning the abolition and suffrage movements, as well as domestic and international relations,” stated CIEE's President and CEO Jim Pellow. “We’re honored to partner with Penn CMSI to enable a new generation of student leaders to build on their impressive credentials with an international experience in London, similar to Frederick Douglass’ international experience in 1845.”

Please join us in congratulating these inspiring students!

CIEE Reports on Increasing Diversity in Study Abroad Two Years into IIE Generation Study Abroad Pledge

CIEE reports it is making significant progress on its five-year leadership Generation Study Abroad pledge to increase access to study abroad opportunities for students of all ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and academic majors.

In November 2014, CIEE pledged a set of specific, action-oriented programs designed to break down the three main barriers to study abroad: cost, curriculum, and culture. Today, the organization is on track to meet its five-year goal to provide $20 million in student financial aid, sponsor passports for 10,000 students, provide training for college presidents and faculty, and create more flexible curriculum options to open study abroad opportunities to all students.

Highlights of CIEE’s progress to date include:

Breaking cost barriers

  • Student Scholarships: CIEE has awarded more than $14.4 million in scholarships and financial aid to high school students, college students, and institutions to support study abroad.
  • Faculty Grants: CIEE has awarded two $20,000 CIEE Generation Study Abroad Access Grants. Most recently, CIEE awarded its grant to Tennessee State University (TSU), an urban, land grant, historically black university based in Nashville. The grant will fund the development of a faculty-led program, “Intersecting Lives: Reading African-American Literature through a Black Feminist Lens,” that will enable first-generation and underserved minority students to study abroad. CIEE awarded its first Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Northshore Technical Community College in Louisiana to run a faculty-led program in the United Arab Emirates in January 2016 for freshmen and sophomores pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Breaking curriculum barriers 

  • Flexible Curriculum Model: CIEE reinvented the study abroad model with the launch of four Global Institutes in Berlin, Germany; London, England; Paris, France; and Rome, Italy. CIEE’s Global Institutes feature three, six-week blocks that provide students with affordable, flexible academic programming options that offer a range of academic disciplines and courses aligned with students’ graduation requirements. Students have the option of studying in one city or up to three cities in one semester for a comparative academic program.
  • Short-Term Curriculum Model: CIEE reached its goal of tripling short-term program offerings to enable students of all academic majors and with challenging schedules to study abroad. Today, CIEE offers 239 short-term options for students.
  • New STEM Programs: CIEE added new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs, as well as sustainability curriculum options to its portfolio. CIEE now offers 104 study abroad programs with STEM course options in 44 locations worldwide – providing students with the most study abroad options for STEM disciplines available today.
  • Expanded Faculty-Led and Custom Programs and International Faculty Development Seminars: CIEE expanded its Faculty-Led & Custom Programs division and its International Faculty Development Seminars to help train college and university faculty on how to develop and deliver high-quality faculty-led study abroad programs.

Breaking culture barriers

  • CIEE Passport Caravan: CIEE has provided new passports to 2,800 college students with 1,700 more scheduled for 2017, and a goal of 10,000 by 2020. Of those who have received passports, 55 percent are students of color and 48 percent are Pell Grant-eligible.
  • Scholarships for Students with Disabilities: To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, CIEE and Mobility International USA (MIUSA) awarded scholarships to 27 U.S. college students with disabilities.
  • Partnership with Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions: CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions have developed a three-year comprehensive strategy to increase study abroad at minority-serving institutions. The partnership includes workshops for presidents and faculty, scholarships for student leaders, and visits by the CIEE Passport Caravan.

Read CIEE’s pledge and follow its progress at http://www.ciee.org/generation-study-abroad/progress/.

CIEE Selects Tennessee State University to Receive Second Annual $20,000 Generation Study Abroad Access Grant

CIEE today announced it has awarded its CIEE Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Tennessee State University (TSU), an urban, land grant, historically black university based in Nashville. TSU will use the $20,000 grant to support an innovative faculty-led study abroad program led by professors Rebecca Dixon, Ph.D., and Jennifer L. Hayes, Ph.D., in Paris, France, in June 2017. The grant will open doors for TSU students who have never traveled abroad or who don’t have the resources to study abroad.

TSU and CIEE’s Faculty-Led & Custom Programs team will work together to create and execute a program titled, “Intersecting Lives: Reading African-American Literature through a Black Feminist Lens.” Students in this program will learn and apply a black feminist critical framework to examine the historical contexts that have led African-American men and women to travel abroad to resist various levels of oppression in the United States. The program is designed to enhance students’ appreciation for global exchange and to begin to change their perspectives in ways that allow them to see themselves as a part of a global community.

“Many of our students are first-generation students and are from underserved minority groups who have not traveled outside of the United States. They are highly motivated and seek to improve their life chances through education,” said Dr. Hayes, an assistant professor of English and women’s studies at TSU. “We believe this experience will provide our students with a unique opportunity to see the connections between their experiences at TSU and the global community.”

Applications increased significantly for CIEE´s second annual grant, with more than 200 proposals submitted by colleges and universities across the United States, including 17 community colleges and 90 minority-serving institutions. CIEE created the Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to recognize innovative programs that increase access to international educational opportunities for students in groups that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. The grant program is part of CIEE’s Generation Study Abroad pledge to break through the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to double the number of students from all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and majors who study abroad by 2020.

“CIEE is excited to award the second annual Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Tennessee State University. TSU has an illustrious history of enriching the lives of underserved minority groups who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. We’re proud to work with Drs. Hayes and Dixon and the university to continue in this tradition by making it possible for more TSU students to gain the knowledge, intercultural skills, and global perspectives needed for success in today’s world,” said Maritheresa Frain, executive vice president of study abroad at CIEE.

CIEE awarded the first Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Northshore Technical Community College (NTCC). NTCC, based in Louisiana, used the grant to develop a faculty-led program in Sharjah and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for freshmen and sophomores pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math. The program, which ran in January 2016, focused on providing workforce training and industry credentials relevant to NTCC students’ future employment, while also offering intercultural skills training to help prepare them to enter the global economy following graduation.

For more information about CIEE’s Faculty-Led & Custom Programs, visit: https://www.ciee.org/faculty-led-study-abroad/.

 

CIEE and CMSI Announce “Project Passport,” A Comprehensive Initiative to Develop Study Abroad Programs at Minority Serving Institutions

CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) announced today full details of their strategic three-year partnership to increase study abroad at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Titled “Project Passport,” the expanded partnership will be a series of opportunities geared towards college presidents, faculty, and students who are dedicated to expanding international exchange on their college campuses.

Through Project Passport, CIEE and CMSI will work with 10-12 MSIs each year to provide them with a complete package to expand their study abroad programs, including a Presidential Leadership Workshop on international education, faculty training and development programs on international education, as well as study abroad fellowships and free passports for students.

“Students of color and other MSI students are the least likely to experience study abroad opportunities,” explained Paola Esmieu, associate director for programs at CMSI. “The world is a big place, but through Project Passport, we’re hoping we can make it accessible for more and more students, especially those at places like Minority Serving Institutions.”

Project Passport has five major components. The first involves a one-day president-level workshop designed for university presidents from MSIs across the United States. This workshop not only discusses the importance of an international education for MSI students but also provides guidance on overcoming the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture for university presidents looking to expand study abroad opportunities at their respective institutions.

MSIs whose presidents attend this workshop will be able to nominate early career faculty from their institutions to receive professional development training at CMSI’s annual ELEVATE workshop. ELEVATE supports the ongoing learning, training, and networking of early career MSI faculty by providing them with professional development workshops, opportunities to create a close-knit network of peers, and a platform for collaboration.

Thirdly, following ELEVATE, faculty fellows will be invited to join a unique CIEE International Faculty Development Seminar. CIEE and CMSI designed this seminar to introduce key faculty leaders to the critical components of faculty-led study abroad programs including how to structure intercultural learning, integrate global learning experiences in academic curricula and student life on campus, and identify strategies for student recruitment for study abroad.

The fourth component of Project Passport will allow participating MSIs to nominate two student leaders to participate in a four-week, 3-credit study abroad experience for each year of the initiative. Students will be named Project Passport Global Fellows and have all housing and program costs covered by the program for a study abroad program in London, England, or Berlin, Germany.

Finally, as part of their commitment to tackle the major barriers that keep students from studying abroad, CIEE has committed to sponsor student passports for each Project Passport partner. Each participating MSI will receive a visit from CIEE’s Passport Caravan, which will spend a day at each institution to provide passports for 50 students, free of cost.

Also included in CIEE and CMSI’s partnership, but not housed under Project Passport, is the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, a scholarship program that provides full funding for 10 MSI students each year to take part in a summer study abroad program designed to enhance their leadership and intercultural skills in one of three locations: London, England (summer 2017); Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018); and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019).

“Expanding opportunities for global education is an imperative for university leaders across the country,” said James P. Pellow, president and chief executive officer of CIEE and a Penn Graduate School of Education alumnus. On working with CMSI, Pellow added, “The opportunity to work with the nation’s leader in promoting best practices for education at MSIs is both a privilege and a powerful way to affect change.”

 

Meet the First CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholars

This summer, CIEE’s Study Centers in Prague, Czech Republic; Paris, France; and Barcelona, Spain, hosted students from the International Christian University in Mitaka, Japan, alongside students from colleges across the U.S.

As the first CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholarship: Summer Study Around the World recipients, Mao Minami, Mikiko Saigo, and Marina Tanabe received full scholarships to take part in CIEE summer study abroad programs. Mao selected the Summer Communications, New Media, and Journalism program in Prague; Mikiko chose to immerse herself in the French language as part of the Summer Language and Culture program in Paris; and Marina advanced her business studies in the Summer Business and Culture program in Barcelona.

To start their journeys, the students were honored by CIEE staff at a special ceremony at the CIEE Study Center in Tokyo, Japan, on June 27, 2016.

2016 Japan 50-Year Scholarship Recipients
Left to right: Tomoko Nakano, CIEE; Marina Tanabe; Mao Minami; Mikiko Saigo; Kazutaka Otake, CIEE

Mao, Mikiko, and Marina are the first of 50 promising young Japanese university students who will receive CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholarships to study abroad on CIEE summer programs in more than 40 countries around the world.  Through the scholarship, CIEE seeks to overcome the main barriers to study abroad – cost, curriculum, and culture – to allow more Japanese students to take part in important international education experiences. 

Mikiko Saigo
Mikiko Saigo received a CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholarship to study abroad in Paris, France, this summer.

CIEE created the scholarships in September 2015 to commemorate 50 years of partnership with Japanese educators and students. Since our office in Tokyo opened in 1965, CIEE 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 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.

Learn more about the CIEE Japan 50-Year Anniversary Scholarships.

CIEE AND MIUSA AWARD $116,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS TO 27 U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES TO STUDY ABROAD

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, CIEE and Mobility International USA (MIUSA) have provided 27 scholarships to U.S. college students with disabilities to study abroad.

Representing 24 colleges and universities across the country, the students who received CIEE/MIUSA Access to the World Scholarships had the opportunity to further their academic studies while immersing themselves in another country and culture including France, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Spain, and other locations.

The scholarships are part of CIEE’s five-year leadership pledge to increase access to study abroad for all students from all backgrounds. “International education is a powerful tool in the development of all students, providing necessary skills to succeed in a globally interconnected world,” said CIEE President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Pellow.

Virginia Commonwealth University student Antoine Craig thought studying abroad was beyond his reach. A strong advocate for people with disabilities in his home community of Richmond, Virginia, Antoine believed his visual impairment would preclude him from traveling and learning abroad. “I never thought I would be able to leave the U.S. and experience another culture. As a visually impaired person, there are a host of challenges – some I could expect and some I could not even fathom,” he said.

Antoine Craig
Virginia Commonwealth University student Antoine Craig studying abroad in Alicante, Spain.

Antoine received a scholarship to take part in CIEE’s Summer Language and Culture program in Alicante, Spain, in 2015. With this experience, he became the first person in his family to study abroad – with or without a disability. “The scholarship has allowed me to overcome my fears of traveling alone. Jumping in headfirst through this experience allowed me to see what I’m really capable of. Without the CIEE/MIUSA Access to the World Scholarship, I don’t know that I would ever have had the chance to learn that lesson,” said Craig.

MIUSA CEO and co-founder Susan Sygall applauded the long-standing partnership with CIEE. “I am so excited that MIUSA and CIEE are working in partnership to increase the number of people with disabilities who participate in all types of international exchange,” she said. “The scholarships have created a powerful catalyst for current awardees to serve as mentors and examples to demonstrate to people with disabilities ‘what is possible’.”

Joseph Underwood, a student at the University of Missouri – Columbia who received a scholarship to further his Spanish language skills during CIEE’s Summer Language and Culture program in Seville, Spain, this past June, agrees, saying, “If I were to speak to another student with a disability who was considering studying abroad, I’d tell them there’s no reason to think they can’t. It’s worth it. Studying abroad was the best experience of my life.”

Joseph Underwood
University of Missouri – Columbia student Joseph Underwood with fellow study abroad students in Seville, Spain.

CIEE and MIUSA launched the scholarship program in March 2015 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has helped to expand opportunities for people with disabilities since 1990. The scholarships are part of CIEE’s Generation Study Abroad pledge to break through the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to double the number of students from all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and majors who study abroad by 2020. In support of this initiative, CIEE has committed to providing $20 million in scholarships and grants to American students, to sponsoring passports for 10,000 students, and to offering an annual $20,000 grant to college faculty to support innovative approaches to custom study abroad programs.

Read more about CIEE’s Generation Study Abroad pledge.

CIEE and CMSI Take 15 Minority Serving Institution Faculty on Study Abroad Tour to Expand International Education

This week, CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) are hosting 15 faculty members from minority serving institutions across the nation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic at an International Faculty Development Seminar (IFDS). Faculty members will gain expertise in facilitating faculty-led study abroad experiences for their students.

The Dominican Republic was chosen purposefully as the location for the seminar for several reasons. The history of race relations in the Dominican Republic provides an interesting backdrop to explore issues of identity. The country has a rich cultural heritage that can be seen through the Congos of Villa Mella, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which faculty members will be visiting. And finally, the Dominican Republic allows for an in-depth exploration of the African Diaspora.

Throughout the seminar, faculty members will model activities for intercultural development that can be used with their students. In addition, they will learn hands-on program planning aimed at understanding how to overcome the barriers and challenges they may face throughout the process of planning a study abroad program.

Participants were each nominated by their campus president based on their exemplary leadership, research, and teaching. They include William Arce and Jes Therkelson of California State University, Fresno; Samuel Roberson of Claflin University; Novell Tani and Evelyn Tyler of Florida A&M University; Nicole Yarling of Florida Memorial University; Melvenia Martin of Grambling State University; Bahiyyah Muhammad and GiShawn Mance of Howard University; Ervin James III and Mariola Rosario of Paul Quinn College; Erin Barnes and Joseph Rodriguez of the University of Texas, El Paso; and James Pope of Winston-Salem State University.

Facilitators for IFDS include Quinton Redcliffe, CIEE in Cape Town, South Africa; Erin Santana, CIEE in Portland, ME; Julio González-Ruiz, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA; and Marybeth Gasman and Paola ‘Lola’ Esmieu, Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, Philadelphia, PA.

According to Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, “IFDS is important to diversify study abroad opportunities for students at minority serving institutions as faculty members need the tools in order to plan successful study abroad experiences.”

James Pellow, President of CIEE, added, “IFDS complements the other components of the CIEE/CMSI partnership, which includes engaging presidential leadership in advocating for study abroad; the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program, which supports MSI students to travel to London, Cape Town, or Seoul; and our Passport Caravan, which is focused on giving free passports to students throughout the nation.”

Brent Bruggeman Joins CIEE as Chief Information Officer

CIEE is excited to welcome Brent Bruggeman as our new chief information officer. As CIO, Brent will oversee CIEE’s information technology organization, applications, and infrastructure. He will be responsible for partnering with internal business units to align business and information technology strategies to achieve business goals and maximize the value of technology investments.

Brent Bruggeman
Brent Bruggeman, CIEE Chief Information Officer

Brent has spent the majority of his career consulting for Fortune 100 and 500 organizations, most recently serving as a director with Deloitte Consulting, LLP in their Cincinnati, Ohio, office. During his 23 years at Deloitte, he built a reputation for driving programs to on time and on or under budget completion and delivering significant benefit realization. Previously, Brent also worked at Computer Sciences Corporation and Andersen Consulting, now Accenture. He holds a Master of Business Administration from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering from Northwestern University.

He and his family are in the process of relocating to Portland, Maine, from Cincinnati.