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Celebrating 50 Years of Study Abroad in St. Petersburg

Fifty years ago, the world was an uncertain place. Cold War tensions were heating up, and U.S.-Russian relations were strained at best, with mistrust and misunderstandings on both sides. For many, it was a time to hunker down and cling to the people, places, and institutions they knew best. But it’s at times like these that it’s most important to reach across the divide – to learn about others’ beliefs, hopes, and challenges in an effort to better understand one another and, perhaps one day, build the trust needed to collaborate and cooperate on the world’s stage.

Strengthening U.S.-Russia Ties
This idea – that by bringing people together we can increase global harmony and nurture peace – is the foundation on which CIEE was built. That’s why in 1967 CIEE established the Cooperative Russian Language Program in St. Petersburg (then called Leningrad). Its purpose: to immerse U.S. students in Russian culture in the hopes that we could strengthen ties between the two nations and build back some of the trust that had been lost.

“Going to St. Petersburg made me critically think about how the western media portrays Russia. While I feel that I'm fairly open-minded, I know I can get caught in the stereotypical tropes that are often portrayed online and in the news. However living in Russia for 4 months and spending the majority of that time talking to locals, helped me realize that there is more to the story.”   - Ella B., 2014

By 1969, the program – the oldest and most comprehensive educational exchange program in Russia – had gained in popularity, leading to the opening of a CIEE Study Center in Leningrad and the offering of both summer and semester Russian Area Studies and Russian Language programs. Throughout the decades to come, as more Americans sought to explore Russian culture, politics, and people, CIEE added new options including Semester and Summer Business and International Relations programs. 

CIEE St. Petersburg study abroad students.

Today, more than 5,000 students from universities and colleges across the U.S. have taken part in a CIEE program in Russia. Regardless of the sometimes tumultuous relationship between the U.S. and Russia, the CIEE Study Center has remained open, inviting students to immerse themselves in the beauty and elegance of Russian culture and helping to build connections between the two, perhaps not so different, peoples.

“After a semester in St. Petersburg, I realized the many similarities between Russians and Americans – that we are more alike than different. I also came to understand the differences among Russians – that Russian people and culture are not singular or monolithic. I began to break down my own preconceived notions about Russia, and I left St. Petersburg knowing that I would return to learn and explore more.” - Annie H., 2014

CIEE St. Petersburg study abroad students.

50th Anniversary Celebration
To celebrate 50 years of opening the doors of connection, conversation, and understanding between the U.S. and Russia, CIEE welcomed alumni back to Petersburg on September 21-24 for four days of reminiscing, discussions (of the history of U.S.-Russian relations, politics, and more), and plenty of traditional food and drink.

Jim Pellow and Irina Makoveeva at CIEE St. Petersburg 50th anniversary celebration.
CIEE President & CEO Jim Pellow and Center Director Irina Makoveeva in front of 50 years of CIEE St. Petersburg history.

Highlights included activities showcasing the spirit of Russia’s cultural and arts’ scenes – including a Russian-themed Costume Ball (a CIEE St. Petersburg tradition) and a performance by Russian jazz virtuoso Dmitri Guyvoronski – as well as presentations from many notable CIEE alumni. 

Friday featured a keynote presentation by John R. Beyrle ’76, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, as well as panel presentations with Britta Bjornlund ’88, branch chief, U.S. Department of State; Jill Dougherty ’69 ’71, former CNN correspondent and Moscow Bureau Chief; Mark Teeter, columnist at “The Moscow Times”; among many others.

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Jim Pellow with featured speaker John R. Beryle '76, CIEE alum and former U.S. Ambassador to Russia.
Attendees of the 50th anniversary celebration.
CIEE alumni and guests enjoying the 50th anniversary celebration.
50th anniversary opening ceremony.
CIEE staff and attendees at the 50th anniversary opening reception.
CIEE Russian-themed costume ball.
A Russian-themed costume ball is a tradition at the CIEE Study Center in St. Petersburg.

Learn more about studying abroad with CIEE in Russia

And check out more CIEE St. Petersburg alumni stories


We were thrilled to have U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC) join us on Tuesday, August 29, to honor four students from Scott’s Branch Middle/High School in Summerton, S.C., who recently returned from studying abroad on scholarships created in his name.

CIEE introduced the Clyburn Scholar Awards to recognize Congressman Clyburn’s support of access to high-quality public education and the benefits of student exchanges, and are representative of CIEE’s efforts to increase access to study abroad by breaking down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture.

“Today, more than ever, our local communities and our world need strong leaders of sound character who understand history and the lessons it teaches. These young, talented global scholars from rural South Carolina now have a sense of our world that they would have never had without the opportunity to study language and culture this summer in Europe and Latin America,” said Congressman Clyburn. “One day, they may be the Congresswomen or Senators or military leaders that help keep us safe because they have a perspective of other people, of other cultures, and of the lessons that history teaches.”

Clyburn Scholars 2017
Congressman James Clyburn (back row, third from left) celebrates with the 2017 Clyburn Scholars, board members from Scott’s Branch Middle/High School, and CIEE’s Matthew Redman (far left) and James Pellow (far right).

The exceptional Scott’s Branch students who each received a Clyburn Scholar Award covering the full cost of attending a CIEE Global Navigator high school abroad program earlier this summer are:

  • Adrianna Dingle, senior – Language and Culture, Santiago, Dominican Republic
  • Devin Brown, junior – Language and Culture, Toulouse, France
  • Sky Harvin, senior – Language and Culture, Santiago, Dominican Republic
  • Skylar Harvin, senior – Language and Culture, Santiago, Dominican Republic

“For 70 years, CIEE has worked with visionary leaders in education and government to promote programs that advance intercultural exchange and peaceful interchange among people from different cultures. CIEE’s collaboration with Congressman Clyburn and Scott’s Branch Principal Collar enabled these four exemplary young leaders from Clarendon County to see the world in a different way. As their parents shared this afternoon, they returned from abroad more confident, self-assured, and motivated to make the world a better place,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and CEO of CIEE.

“We hope that these local students, and their peers from the broader Global Navigator High School Programs who live in scores of communities across our country, will use the lessons learned in their study abroad experience to build a better future for themselves, their communities, our nation, and our world. If they do, they will be following in the footsteps of the role model for this program, Congressman Clyburn, who has impacted countless lives through his work as a teacher, historian, and exceptional Congressional leader. We look forward to building on this year’s successful experience in the years ahead,” said Matthew Redman, vice president of high school study abroad programs, CIEE.

“Clarendon School District One and Scott's Branch Middle/High School is extremely pleased to be able to honor these current students and alumni that had the fantastic opportunity to travel aboard to expand their learning experiences,” said Robert N. Collar, principal, Scott's Branch Middle/High School.

Facts and Resources: Potential Elimination of J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs

The Trump administration is seeking to end the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor programs. These privately funded cultural exchange programs are an important U.S. foreign policy tool that helps to build greater understanding of the American people and culture around the world. They are not pathways for immigration or labor programs.

At CIEE we believe that by building mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and people of other nations, we are all stronger, safer, and more prosperous.

According to a new report focused on the J-1 Summer Work Travel (SWT) program:

  • Three-fourths (76.1%) of SWT participants reported a positive change in their views of the U.S., American culture, and the American people after having participated in the program.

  • Nearly all (90.9%) of participants agreed they had a better understanding of American culture following the program.

In addition to harming U.S. public diplomacy efforts, eliminating J-1 programs would cause significant harm to the American economy. According to the same report:

  • SWT exchange visitor participants contributed an estimated $509 million to the U.S. economy in 2016. 

  • Half (50.8%) of surveyed employers stated that the absence of SWT participants would have a big negative impact on their revenues.

  • Roughly half (44.8%) of employers said it was likely or very likely they would have to reduce hours of operation and one-quarter (27.6%) reported it was likely or very likely they would not be able to stay open during the season without the SWT program.

Read the full report. Then, take action!


  • Call your representatives in Washington, D.C., and urge them to contact the White House to stop the elimination of these programs. Find phone numbers for your Members of Congress and use these talking points to make these incredibly important calls. Please encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same.

  • Ask your CEO or senior leaders at your workplace to call their personal contacts at the White House, Department of State, and Congress, or the general contacts below:

            White House, Office of Public Liaison: (202) 456-6493
            Department of State, Office of Secretary Tillerson: (202) 647-7234

  • Join Americans for Cultural Exchange – a broad coalition in support of international exchange programs – and urge your representatives to take action.


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At a time when even our closest allies view the U.S. in an overwhelmingly negative light, it is deeply troubling that an entire category of public diplomacy programs is facing elimination.

According to news reports, the Trump administration is currently working to end the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs – including Summer Work Travel, Camp Counselor, Intern/Trainee, and Au Pair programs – which bring university students and others from abroad to the U.S. to study, work, and travel. While in America, these young people have the opportunity to improve their English skills, learn about American ways of life, share their culture with host communities, and supplement the American workforce during peak business seasons.

These privately funded cultural exchange programs are a key tool of U.S. foreign policy that serve to build greater understanding of the American people, culture, and values around the world. They are not pathways for immigration or labor programs, and the notion that they undermine the interests of U.S. workers is woefully misguided.

Simply stated, eliminating J-1 programs would cause significant harm to our nation’s public diplomacy efforts as well as to the American economy. In Maine alone, where CIEE is headquartered and employs more than 200 people to facilitate these programs, local communities host 4,000 J-1 Exchange Visitors annually, mostly staffing our seasonal tourist businesses and our summer camps. Many of these businesses would be devastated by the loss of these programs, and just as was the case this year with the drop in H2B workers, they would not be able to fill those jobs with local Mainers. Summer camps in Maine would likely see revenues drop by 20%, and many hotels and restaurants would reduce working hours significantly.

The Trump administration’s intent to bypass the democratic process in eliminating the J-1 program is disturbing. Any changes to programs whose fundamental goals are to improve U.S. diplomacy and support the American economy deserve a thoughtful process involving all branches of government. Additionally, the voice of the American people must be considered when changes to policy – especially of this magnitude – are on the table.

As a non-profit organization that for 70 years has been committed to nurturing peace through international exchange, we at CIEE believe that building mutual understanding between Americans and people of other nations makes us all stronger, safer, and more prosperous.

Over the past several months, we have been actively working with members of the international exchange community to engage with Congress and the Trump administration in support of J-1 programs. CIEE will continue to work relentlessly to protect cross-cultural exchange and support our participants in the U.S. – and we need your help.

Here’s how you can make a difference and save these valuable J-1 programs:

  • Call your representatives in Washington, D.C., and urge them to contact the White House to stop the elimination of these programs. Find phone numbers for your Members of Congress and use these talking points to make these incredibly important calls. Please encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to do the same.

  • Ask your CEO or senior leaders at your workplace to call their personal contacts at the White House, Department of State, and Congress, or the general contacts below:

    White House, Office of Public Liaison: (202) 456-6493
    Department of State, Office of Secretary Tillerson: (202) 647-7234

  • Join Americans for Cultural Exchange – a broad coalition in support of international exchange programs – and urge your representatives to take action.

Together, we can save these critical public diplomacy tools from a profoundly irresponsible approach to America’s foreign policy. Thank you for your support.

Increasing MSI Study Abroad Participation: Celebrating Our Frederick Douglass Global Fellows

On August 1, CIEE honored the legacy of Frederick Douglass and the accomplishments of the first Frederick Douglass Global Fellows during a special event at the Global Institute – London. The celebration marked the halfway point of the Fellow’s special four-week session at the Global Institute dedicated to developing their leadership and intercultural communications skills.

The event featured keynote speaker Nettie Washington Douglass, chair and co-founder of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and descendant of Frederick Douglass. During her address to an audience of CIEE staff and study abroad students, Douglass shared her thoughts on the qualities that made Douglass a great leader and how his time living, lecturing, and studying in London in 1845 positively impacted his development into one of the U.S.’s great social reformers.

NettiePresentsFrederickDouglass autobiography at FDGF Inaugural Celebration London 2017
Nettie Douglass presents Jim Pellow, CIEE president and CEO, with Frederick Douglass's autobiography during the celebration at CIEE's Global Institute - London.

Nettie’s message – of the powerful impact global experience can have on one’s journey, often through adversity, to becoming a leader – is so critical today when fewer than 10,000 students out of the nearly 300,000 U.S. college students who take part in study abroad each year are from minority serving institutions (MSIs). Far too many MSI students miss out on the benefits of an international experience that can propel them to even greater heights, such as increased independence and self-confidence; a more global perspective; and real-world experience.

That’s why CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions created the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program in 2016 – to help more students from MSIs take part in life-changing international experiences. Each year, CIEE is covering 100 percent of program fees and travel costs for 10 students from 10 MSIs to participate in a four-week summer study abroad program. The first group of Fellows traveled to London in July. Subsequent groups will travel to Cape Town, South Africa (2018) and Seoul, South Korea (2019).

Frederick Douglass Global Fellows Event
The 2017 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows with Nettie Douglass and Jim Pellow.

The 2017 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows represent some of the best and brightest students from minority serving institutions, including Howard University, Paul Quinn College, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and more. (Meet the 2017 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows.) Each student has demonstrated high academic achievement, possesses exemplary communication skills, displays the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibits characteristics of bold leadership, and has a history of service to others.

In the spirit of Frederick Douglass, during their time in London the Fellows are exploring contemporary British culture through the lens of intercultural studies, reflecting on the impact of international experience through study of Douglass’ intellectual development and leadership roles, examining race relations in the 20th and 21st centuries, and more.

2017 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows in front of an original Banksy in London's East End.

(Check out more photos from the Fellow’s explorations of London, including a street art tour of Shoreditch.)

Applications are being accepted for the 2018 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship through September 15, 2017. Learn more and apply.

CIEE and Penn CMSI to Inaugurate Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship in London

On August 1, 2017, CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) will host the inaugural celebration for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program in London, England. The event will celebrate 10 high-achieving student fellows from minority serving institutions (MSIs) who are participating in a summer study abroad program in London focusing on leadership and intercultural communication. The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows (FDGFs) were nominated by their college presidents and selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants in a national competition.

The four-week program highlights the attributes and significance of global leadership with a special focus on developing techniques to apply these skills in their respective communities when they return to the United States. In addition, FDGFs will use their experiences to motivate other underrepresented students to pursue similar opportunities. The program draws on the legacy of Frederick Douglass – the African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and international statesman who lived, lectured and studied in London in 1845 – and encourages students to use his life as a model to becoming bold, globally conscious, and service-oriented leaders.

Marybeth Gasman, director of CMSI, shared, “The event will highlight the magnitude of this monumental collaboration between CIEE and Penn CMSI. It is one of several steps we are taking to increase study abroad opportunities for students at minority serving institutions.”

The inaugural celebration will include a roundtable discussion that will feature guest speakers Dr. Mildred García, president of California State University-Fullerton; Dr. David Wilson, president of Morgan State University; and Ms. Nettie Washington Douglass, co-founder and chairwoman of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. The topic of the roundtable will be “What is possible for me is possible for you.” Speakers will share their experiences on the impact of a global perspective and how it has propelled them to endure through adversity to become leaders and influential figures within higher education. Ms. Washington Douglass will deliver the keynote address.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program is designed to strengthen the leadership and intercultural communication skills of each participant using a pedagogical approach that centers on experiential education and a global perspective. “This FDGF program is unique in that it enables exemplary student leaders, nominated by their college president, who come from the most financially challenged backgrounds, to develop critically important leadership skills in an international setting,” says Paola “Lola” Esmieu, associate director of programs at CMSI. “Our partnership with CIEE allows us to break down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to make study abroad accessible to students from MSIs, a demographic that is often disproportionately left out of national study abroad conversations.”

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship covers all program fees and travel costs for 10 students each year who are nominated by their college presidents and selected from a diverse group of MSIs. The Fellowship is awarded based on a combination of personal leadership attributes, academic achievement, and financial need. Future cohorts of FDGFs will study in Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018) and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019).

As Dr. Keshia Abraham, director of strategic initiatives at CIEE, explains, “By anchoring this transformative program in the legacy of global citizenship exemplified by Frederick Douglass, we are intentionally fostering leadership development while emphasizing intercultural skills, enabling students to self-author their experiences abroad into lasting, encouraging examples for other students at minority serving institutions and beyond.”

Learn more about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship


We’re thrilled to announce technology and digital leadership expert and best-selling author Erik Qualman, and Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, Kimberly Bryant as the featured speakers for the 2017 CIEE Annual Conference, November 8-11, in Austin, Texas.

At the JW Marriott Hotel, Qualman and Bryant will present to an audience of more than 500 scholars, leaders, and influencers in international education their perspectives and experience on this year’s theme, Born Digital: Embracing Technology to Enhance International Education.

Erik Qualman (Speaker 1)
Technology and digital leadership expert and best-selling author Erik Qualman

During the conference’s Opening Plenary on November 8, "Socialnomics” author Qualman will bring his expertise in digital leadership to the world of international education and explore how educators can harness the power of technology to reach the digital-native generation and increase experiential learning. Qualman educates audiences around the world with his talks on digital leadership and reputation.

Kimberly Bryant Headshot
Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE Kimberly Bryant

On November 10, during the Annual Luncheon, Bryant will share the inspiring story of her journey pursuing math and science as a young minority woman to creating Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the face of technology by introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to technology and computer science. Black Girls CODE is now an international organization with 10 chapters across the U.S. and in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This year’s conference theme, Born Digital: Embracing Technology to Enhance International Education, furthers the goal of breaking the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to increase access to study abroad by all students. Through its Generation Study Abroad pledge, CIEE is 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.

Erik Qualman, Technology and Digital Leadership Expert, Best-Selling Author
Qualman is the author of six books, including “Socialnomics,” “What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube,” “How to Sell on LinkedIn,” “Digital Leader,” and “What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube.” “Socialnomics” made Amazon's #1 Best Selling List for the U.S., Japan, U.K., Canada, Portugal, Italy, China, Korea, and Germany. “What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube” has been adopted by top universities and global brands and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Qualman has given innovative lectures in 47 countries to over 25 million people including employees at Coach, Chase, Sony Playstation, IBM, Facebook, ADP, Starbucks, Raytheon, Chrysler, TEDx, Nokia, Google, and others. He was an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School and for the past 18 years has helped grow the digital capabilities of companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education First, Yahoo, Travelzoo, and AT&T. He is the founder and owner of socialnomics.com, which PC Magazine ranks as a Top 10 Social Media Blog and sits on the Boards of Manumatix, Bazaarvoice Inc., and WannaBeeSocial. Qualman holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas. In 2011 Qualman was honored as the Michigan State Alum of the Year. He was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University.

Qualman is best known for writing and producing the world's most watched social media video. His work has been highlighted on “60 Minutes,” The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, “ABC News,” Financial Times, Forbes, and The Huffington Post. He has been named a Top 100 Digital Influencer by Fast Company and put on Forbes’ Top 50 Power Influencer list.

Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO, Black Girls CODE
At a young age, Bryant developed a passion for math and science, which led her to study engineering at Vanderbilt University. In both her academic and professional life, she often found herself the only minority. Despite her vastly underrepresented status, Bryant went on to enjoy a successful 25+ year professional career as a leader in both pharmaceutical and biotech industries for various Fortune 100 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.

When her daughter Kai began to pursue an education in math and science, Bryant discovered little had changed since her days as a student. African-American women were still sparsely represented in the field of technology and opportunities were limited. Determined to “change the face of technology,” Bryant created Black Girls CODE, a nonprofit dedicated to introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. As Oprah Winfrey describes it, Black Girls CODE is “the first organization of its kind.” Black Girls CODE is now an international organization with 10 chapters across the U.S. and in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Bryant serves on the National Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Board of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance. She has been nationally recognized as a social innovator for her work on increasing opportunities for women and girls in the tech industry. For her work supporting communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, she was honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service. She has also been recognized by Business Insider as one of the “25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology” and was named to The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists. Bryant is also an Apple STEM Partner, Aspen Institute Fellow, recipient of Smithsonian’s American Ingenuity Award in Social Progress, White House Champion of Change, and Toyota Standing O-Vation.

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

Thank You for 70 Years of Transforming Lives

Dear CIEE Community,

American luminary Senator J. William Fulbright perfectly captured the essence of our commitment to international exchange when he said: “Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations. To this purpose I believe the Council on International Educational Exchange is dedicated.”

Seventy years ago this very day, CIEE was founded on this idea by men and women who understood the importance of bringing together people to increase global harmony and nurture peace. They had the vision to recognize that one small group of intrepid student travelers on a C-4 Troop ship could help to reestablish American connections with Germans, Japanese, and Italians, slowly building back some of the trust that was lost during World War II.

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On that day, May 8, 1947, the nonprofit Council on Student Travel (later to be renamed CIEE) was formed with a defining mission: to provide exchange opportunities that would create conversation and unity between people of all nations. What began seven decades ago as a commitment to international exchange has now become an enduring legacy – one built upon strong partnerships with forward-thinking organizations, institutions, and individuals. Together, we’ve built programs that broaden perspectives, unite cultures, share traditions, and enhance dialogue around the globe. Our goal: to truly transform the lives of the students, educators, host families, employers, and so many others who choose to see the world, not in black and white, but in a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors, perspectives, and languages.

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Since that time:

• More than 600,000 Americans have experienced another culture through CIEE study, teach, and internship programs in more than 50 countries outside the U.S.

• More than 950,000 people from 135 countries have experienced the U.S. – many for the first time – through our inbound study, work, internship, and trainee programs.

• And more than 48,000 U.S. families and employers have shepherded students and been enriched through the hosting of CIEE-sponsored international exchange participants.

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These numbers are impressive, yes. But more remarkable are the individual stories – stories of lives changed, similarities discovered, and differences celebrated. With each story, we are reminded of the beauty and harmony of the human tapestry and of the universal truth that we are all human, worthy of compassion, respect, and understanding.


As we celebrate 70 years of bringing these powerful stories to life, I wish to reaffirm CIEE’s dedication to providing opportunities for all who wish to learn and grow from the exchange of ideas and experiences in a culture different from their own. Through innovation and collaboration, we are committed to establishing programs in areas where there is a deficit of trust to renew connections and conversations. We will embark on bold new partnerships with organizations, institutions, and people to create opportunities for more students of all backgrounds and from all nations. And we will advocate for the importance of international exchange, ensuring our voices – and the voices of our participants worldwide – continue to be heard.


Thank you for celebrating 70 years with CIEE. And thank you for sharing in our continued dedication to and passion for international exchange.

Jamm Rekk,
(Wolof for “Peace Always”)

James P. Pellow
President & CEO

CIEE Celebrates Grand Opening of Global Institute in London

On April 25, CIEE welcomed students, local partner organizations and host institutions, and special guests to a grand opening ceremony for its Global Institute - London.

CIEE GI London Building

The event was held just two weeks ahead of CIEE’s 70th anniversary of bringing the world together through international exchange. CIEE was formed in 1947 with a single mission: to provide opportunities for all people to gain the understanding, knowledge, and skills for living in this diverse and ever-changing world. Seven decades later, we remain committed to this mission in the hope of building trust and understanding between people and nations.

James Pellow
James Pellow, CIEE President and CEO

“Humanizing international relations has never been more important than it is today. We will succeed in this endeavor only if we provide opportunities for all those who wish to learn and grow from the exchange of ideas and experiences in a culture different from their own,” said James Pellow, president and CEO of CIEE, during the ceremony. “For those of us committed to this work, it requires us to respond to today’s challenges, today’s changing landscape, today’s demand for flexible, affordable international education and intercultural development.”

For CIEE, that means offering students the most flexible, affordable, and customizable study abroad program available – in the most popular study abroad destination in the world, London.

Every facet of CIEE’s Global Institutes is designed to overcome the barriers of high costs, challenging curriculum requirements, and cultural impediments that prevent far too many students from studying abroad. Located in the lively Bloomsbury neighborhood, the Global Institute - London offers students a modern learning environment – with 15 classrooms, a resource-rich library, stylish café, garden terrace, and a technology center – nestled in the heart of historic Russell Square.

(Learn about the additional services offered at the Global Institute - London.) 

But beyond the building’s amenities and modern conveniences, the Global Institute - London offers students something much more important – an innovative academic model with choices for students of every major and socio-economic background.

“Global Institutes provide affordable program options, comprehensive academic disciplines and course listings, undergraduate research, internships, and service-learning options. Students may attend a full semester in one location or choose to pursue a comparative international study experience and traverse CIEE’s Global Quad in the same way they traverse their home campuses,” said Pellow.

That means more students have the opportunity to develop critical skills for success in today’s world – and even more chances to build positive relationships between people of different nations.

Left to right: Kathleen Fairfax, Chair, CIEE Academic Consortium Board; Andrew Cooke, Acting CEO, London and Partners; Kathryn Crockart, Interim Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy London; Robert Fallon, Chair, CIEE Board of Directors; Maritheresa Frain, Executive Vice President, Study Abroad, CIEE; James Pellow, President and CEO, CIEE

Said featured speaker Kathryn Crockart, interim acting deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy London, “In our interconnected world, the ability to communicate across national and cultural boundaries is every bit as important as what you learn in a classroom. There is a crucial element to global communications that requires experience – real, personal experience – outside of the comfort zone of home. You [who have taken part in international exchange] felt what it is to be a stranger in a strange land. And with these perspectives, you developed irreplaceable cross-cultural perspectives and global competence that cannot be bought anywhere, at any price.”

In addition to London, CIEE has Global Institutes in Berlin, Paris, and Rome, and will open new locations in Cape Town and Madrid in 2018.

CIEE Students

CIEE Students



CIEE Hires Dr. Keshia Abraham as Director of Strategic Initiatives

For 70 years, CIEE has been committed to the ideal of "expanding international educational opportunities for underrepresented groups of all nations" through a series of initiatives that overcome the three main barriers to study abroad and international exchange: cost, curriculum, and culture. Our success depends on having the very best professionals with a diverse collection of perspectives and professional experiences.

In this tradition, CIEE is happy to announce the appointment of Keshia Abraham, Ph.D. as director of strategic initiatives for study abroad. Dr. Abraham is currently dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, chair of the Humanities Department, director of international education, and associate professor of English at Florida Memorial University. She will begin at CIEE at the end of the spring term and be responsible for implementing strategic initiatives related to supporting university presidents and other senior university leaders to build institutional capacity and expand international programs. In addition, she will lead CIEE programs related to faculty development and advance many initiatives related to expanding access to study abroad for students from all socio-economic backgrounds.

Dr. Abraham will be responsible for implementing and managing CIEE’s partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), known as Project Passport, which includes development programs for college presidents and faculty, as well as various scholarship programs for students, including the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows program.

In addition, Dr. Abraham will lead CIEE initiatives related to faculty development, with a special focus on expanding our well-respected International Faculty Development Seminars division.

We are honored to have Dr. Abraham join the CIEE family of international educators. 


Keshia Abraham, Ph.D. 
CIEE Director of Strategic Initiatives for Study Abroad

In her most recent concurrent positions as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, chair of the Humanities Department, director of international education, and associate professor of English at Florida Memorial University, Dr. Keshia Abraham has been focused on keeping global citizenship and international education at the core of her work. Being actively engaged with her students, she has found great joy in being a conduit for positive change at this historically black college and university (HBCU) and in her previous positions at Florida International University and the Miami Workers Center, which have allowed her to engage with numerous MSI-focused initiatives. She is excited that her new position with CIEE will allow her to continue to support MSIs and their students.

Dr. Abraham earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Binghamton University with concentrations in African diaspora women’s literatures, cross-cultural feminisms, autobiography, and popular education. The third generation in her family to attend an HBCU, she holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in women’s studies from Spelman College. She has also studied at the University of Zimbabwe, conducted research as a visiting lecturer at the University of Durban, Westville, and held a position as the first scholar-in-residence at the Feminist Studies Center in Harare. She has taught a wide array of classes including those on postcolonial, African, Caribbean, African-American, and world literature; women’s literature; autobiography; and contemporary drama, among others. A producer of staged performances, facilitator and teacher of yoga and Ayurveda workshops, and creative consultant, her work often intersects cultural and literary studies. She is passionate about international education and global citizenship and as such, she remains deeply committed to enhancing global African diaspora studies and educational exchange.

Among her numerous accomplishments, Dr. Abraham is a two-time Fulbright Scholar, having conducted research in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and as a participant in the Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators program in India. She has been a Fellow with the Mellon Foundation Community Initiative, Mellon Global Citizenship Program and active with the Salzburg Global Seminar. She has also been an Institute for International Public Policy Faculty Fellow, an active NAFSA member and NAFSA Academy Fellow, and a CIEE-Ping Fellow. Her scholarly work appears in journals such as "Alternation," "SAFERE," and "Bomb"; in books including "MOCA: Re/Claiming Art, Power, Ideas, and Vision in an Ethnically Plural Community"; "Decolonizing the Academy"; "Reflections on Gender in Africa"; and the "Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora," of which she is also a local editor. Dr. Abraham is a contributor to the "Routledge Encyclopedia of Women’s Studies" and editor of the book, "The Caribbean Woman Writer as Scholar: Imagining, Creating, Theorizing," published in 2009 by Caribbean Studies Press.

Dr. Abraham has lived, worked, and travelled internationally for many years in Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia); North Africa (Egypt and Morocco); Europe (England, France, Spain, Turkey, Holland, Sweden, Denmark); India; the Caribbean (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Belize, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas); and South America (Brazil) and she continues to broaden her scope and sense of the world.

Her current projects live at the intersection of international education, arts advocacy, and healing arts. To keep balanced, she is also a certified Ayurvedic yoga specialist and avid beach walker.