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CIEE Collaborates with U.S. Faculty to Sponsor International Workshop for Architecture and Design Students

CIEE is excited to sponsor a new Venice Biennale Workshop, a collaboration with U.S. faculty that gives 10 U.S. students a chance to work with experts in design and architecture and take part in the field’s leading international forum. We’ve teamed up with New York University, Terreform ONE, and La Biennale di Venezia to host this innovative session for students from NYU and Rhode Island School of Design, May 27-June 7.

Students begin their adventure in New York at the offices of Terreform ONE, a nonprofit design group that focuses on urban solutions for sustainable energy, infrastructure, food, water, and more. Students will learn cutting-edge methods for forecasting population growth of the world’s densest cities, using a model called the Bio City Map. After a week in New York, the group travels to Venice, Italy, for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, an international exhibition held every two years to showcase art, film, and architecture. In Venice, students will continue to focus on the latest advances in design and architecture for urban projects and help install Terreform ONE’s exhibit – the official selection at this prestigious event.


“Students will learn new methods of studying urban growth and interact with world-renowned architects, designers and thought leaders,” saysMaria Aiolova, CIEE’s academic director for Global Architecture and Design programs. “I look forward to sharing my ideas with the students and colleagues from around the world.”

 The workshop grew out of CIEE’s new Global Architecture and Design programs, in which students work with experts to explore how innovation and technology can help cities become self-sufficient, while they explore and connect with new cultures. These dynamic programs are offered in New York, Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague. See what students have to say about their experiences here

CIEE Alumni Gather to Celebrate 40 Years of International Education in Paris


On April 1, more than 160 alumni, staff, and special guests gathered at Maison de l'architecture to reconnect and celebrate four decades of international education and cultural exchange at our Paris Study Center. Since 1974, the CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange center has welcomed thousands of American students, and fostered an understanding of French culture and connections between countries.

Like other CIEE alumni events, this evening was an ideal way for past participants to share their international exchange experiences, forge new friendships, and build their professional networks. CIEE staff members, special guests, students, and alumni from a variety of CIEE programs attended, including study abroad alums from various CIEE Study Centers who now live in Paris and over 40 alumni from J-1 Exchange Visitor programs, which give students from abroad opportunities to train with U.S. companies, experience U.S. culture, and ultimately strengthen ties between nations.

Also attending were representatives from CIEE’s partner institutions in France: Université de Paris - Sorbonne Nouvelle, the Université Paris Diderot, Collège International de Philosophie, and Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM). CIEE was honored to host two staff members from the U.S. Embassy, a member of the Franco-American Commission (Fulbright-France), and 16 members of Club Barbes – one of our Paris Study Center’s partners. Four members of Club Barbes will visit Harvard University later this month as part of a project called Diplomats of Diversity, initially funded and co-created by CIEE.


As part of our commitment to offer alumni ways to continue learning about other cultures, the evening featured presentations from several guests, including Caroline Ryan, managing director of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in France.

“Caroline inspired the audience by speaking about her own experiences as a binational professional citizen, and described AmCham’s programs in France that support intellectual and economic exchange between the U.S. and France,” said Dan Olds, director of CIEE alumni relations.

Chosen for its rich history and architectural interest, the venue itself inspired guests. Built in the early 1600s as the home of a Franciscan order, The Recollects (as it was known for years) was renovated in 2003. It is now a regional architectural training center and headquarters of the Regional Council of the Order of Architects of Ile-de-France.

One of the evening’s highlights was a moving performance by Auni Hovanesian, a 2008 study abroad alumni and program assistant at the Paris Study Center, who sang original compositions accompanied by musicians on the violin and cello.

Alumni who live, work, and study in Paris made the most of the opportunity to learn and interact. “Late in the evening, it was amazing to see U.S. study abroad, J-1 Internship alums, and members of Club Barbes chatting together in French on the patio,” noted Olds. “On many levels, it was a remarkable and authentic moment of international and intercultural exchange.”


Human Rights Activist Dr. Sima Samar Gives Inside Look at Afghan Women’s Issues at CIEE


Sima Samar_Lauren Lovelace - CIEE
Host Lauren Lovelace and featured speaker Sima Samar, M.D., at CIEE as part of the 2014 Justice for Women Lecture Series.

On March 18, Sima Samar, M.D., chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, offered a rare look at the challenges of Afghan women at CIEE headquarters in Portland, Maine, as part of the 2014 Justice for Women Lecture Series. More than 200 students, community leaders, and local residents attended the live event, and nearly 100 CIEE alumni and resident staff in 18 countries participated through online streaming.

Born and educated in Afghanistan, Dr. Samar has long fought for the welfare and rights of Afghan women, often at risk to her life. As chair of the first human rights commission in Afghanistan’s history, she oversees human and women’s rights education programs and investigates rights abuses throughout the country.

During the 90-minute discussion at CIEE, hosted by Lauren Lovelace, Afghanistan expert and executive director of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council at Georgetown University, Dr. Samar spoke about this incredible work, the challenges of educating about human rights, and the importance of women in society, citing the rise in the number of girls attending school as evidence that this message is finally gaining traction. Twelve years ago, girls in Afghanistan didn’t attend school; now, half a million attend classes every day. Also during her talk, Dr. Samar emphasized the critical role women play in creating peace. “There’s a lot of hope for the future in Afghanistan,” she said. “Unless you have the support of women in the peace process … that peace can’t be sustained.” Dr. Samar answered questions from the audience, including one from an alum of CIEE’s Work and Travel program and Civic Leadership Summit who was participating in the event from her home in Romania.

Dr. Samar and James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and CEO of CIEE, met earlier in her visit with a group of students from Deering and Waynflete high schools in Portland. Dr. Samar encouraged students to empower themselves by learning about the world, and in particular, about cultures vastly different from their own. She voiced her belief that women should actively seek other women as mentors and leaders throughout their lives, naming Djamila Bouhired, a strong voice for Algerian independence, as a key influence in her life.

CIEE has partnered with the University of Maine School of Law for three years to present the Justice for Women Lecture Series, which brings internationally recognized and distinguished speakers to Portland, Maine, for global conversations about justice for women and girls in the developing world. Dr. Samar is the third speaker in the series, which was launched in 2012.

“Each year, the Justice for Women Lecture Series offers people in Maine the chance to interact with an extraordinary global leader, exposing new perspectives, cultures, and styles in leadership,” said Pellow. “This series offers a rare opportunity for Portland’s community and student leaders to meet women who have overcome extreme adversity and remained dedicated to global causes grounded in universal values. These extraordinary women – judges, doctors, and Nobel Laureates – offer lessons that are equally as important to leaders on a global stage as they are to student leaders right here in Maine. Our hope is that Dr. Samar’s story of courage and determination will inspire all of us to take positive action in our communities.”

CIEE Elects New Board of Directors

Appoints Ambassador Christopher Hill and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy 

BOD Group Photo

CIEE’s Board of Directors recently elected two exemplary leaders in international exchange and higher education—Ambassador Christopher Hill, Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and Kumble Subbaswamy, Ph.D., Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Amb. Hill and Dr. Subbaswamy were officially appointed at the board’s meeting in Washington, D.C., on February 25. 

In addition to serving as dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, Amb. Hill is a monthly columnist for Project Syndicate, and a highly sought public speaker and international affairs expert. A former career diplomat, Hill is a four-time ambassador, nominated by three presidents for posts in Iraq, Korea, Poland, and Macedonia. He was also Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Special Assistant to the President and a senior director on the staff of the National Security Council. Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with a B.A. in economics, and earned a master's degree from the Naval War College in 1994. Amb. Hill speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian.

Before he was named chancellor of the University of Massachusetts in 2012, Dr. Subbaswamy served as provost at the University of Kentucky, where he was a long-standing member of the physics faculty. His former positions also include associate dean of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University and University of Miami. Subbaswamy serves on a number of panels, including the American Council on Education and the German-American Fulbright Commission. He holds a bachelor of science in physics from Bangalore University, a master’s in physics from Delhi University, and a doctorate in physics from Indiana University. Subbaswamy was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989.

 “CIEE has a long history of leadership and innovation in facilitating high-quality international exchange and study abroad programs. As stewards of our mission to enhance global harmony through people-to-people exchange, the CIEE Board of Directors is comprised of exemplary leaders in education, diplomacy, business, science and technology. Ambassador Hill and Chancellor Subbaswamy will bring a dynamic and powerful combination of academic expertise and international insight to CIEE that will strengthen our ability to remain true to our mission,” notes James P. Pellow, Ed.D., President and CEO of CIEE.

Hill and Subbaswamy replace three outgoing board members: Amb. Kenton Keith, who served as senior vice president of Meridian International Center after a distinguished career in foreign service; Dr. Patti McGill Peterson, presidential advisor for global initiatives at American Council on Education and former president of Wells College and St. Lawrence University; and

Amb., Charles Baquet, who served as director of the Center for Intercultural and International Programs at Xavier University, following his service as Deputy Director of the Peace Corps under two administrations and an exemplary foreign service career.

“We are delighted to welcome Amb. Chris Hill and Chancellor Subbaswamy to the CIEE Board and we are grateful to Amb. Keith, Amb. Baquet, and Dr. Peterson for their years of dedicated service and guidance,” said CIEE Board Chairman, Robert Fallon. “We also look forward to working with Amb. Keith and Dr. Peterson as members of the newly created Ping Foundation Board to continue to pursue our goals to provide financial support and broaden access for international education and exchange,” added Fallon. 

Established in 2004, the Ping Foundation is a permanent endowment to honor Dr. Charles Ping, who was chairman of the CIEE Board of Directors from 1993 to 2004. The Foundation works to enhance CIEE’s mission through advocacy and research that will advance the field of international educational exchange, as well as by funding scholarship programs and providing matching grants to support local organizations where CIEE programs are based. The Ping Foundation Board also includes CIEE Board Chairman Robert Fallon, President and CEO, Phosplatin Therapeutics LLC, John Yopp, Ph.D., Associate Provost Emeritus for Educational Partnerships, University of Kentucky, and Pellow.

The Ping Foundation was recently strengthened by a new partnership with Dell Inc., a leading technology company, which will match and contribute a percentage of all CIEE sales to help fund the Ping Foundation’s mission. 

CIEE Celebrates International Women’s Day With 130 “Girl Rising” Screenings Worldwide

In celebration of International Women’s Day, on March 8 CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange will sponsor more than 130 free screenings of the feature film, “Girl Rising,” around the world. Each event will support CIEE and Girl Rising in their joint effort to eliminate the gender gap in education that exists today.  

CIEE established a partnership with Girl Rising in 2013 to raise awareness and create positive and lasting change by eliminating the barriers to education for girls in developing nations. At the core of the movement is the film, which tells the stories of nine girls who overcame tremendous hardships to pursue an education. To date, CIEE has sponsored more than 400 screenings in 69 countries—from Ecuador to Zimbabwe—and expects to sponsor 200 more during the month of March. CIEE kicked off the screenings on International Day of the Girl, October 11, 2013, with a free event in Portland, Maine, where the organization is headquartered. The screening drew more than 800 community members and helped to raise donations for the Girl Rising Fund for Education.

“The CIEE community has truly embraced our mission to make an educational experience possible for girls in every corner of the world,” said Jill Sady, CIEE director of community outreach. “We’ve seen interest in this project in every part of our business and from all of our stakeholders. This passion and dedication across CIEE is helping us to create meaningful change by transforming the lives and the societies in which all girls live.”

Sponsoring screenings is just one of the ways CIEE is working to effect positive change. This summer, the nonprofit will join forces with Girl Up, one of Girl Rising’s seven non-governmental organization partners, to provide scholarships to female high school students in developing countries to take part in CIEE Leadership Academy programs. Each four-week summer Leadership Academy program—offered in China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Japan, Jordan, Senegal, and Spain—provides students with the chance to develop the leadership and interpersonal skills  necessary to succeed in today’s globalized world while taking part in meaningful service and exploring a new culture and country.

“By working with Girl Up to offer Leadership Academy scholarships, we are bringing a transformative international educational experience to girls who otherwise might never have access,” Sady continued. “Access to education for students is at the heart of what we do each and every day at CIEE, and we’re proud to partner with two incredible organizations to make this possible.”

Ultimaker Donates 3D Printers to Global Architecture and Design Program

Based in the world’s leading urban centers in design, our Global Architecture and Design programs bring students and leading experts together to explore how innovation and technology can help cities become self-sufficient. We’re committed to providing these students with the best tools available, which is why we’re excited to announce that our programs' design studios in Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague recently received new 3D printers.

Ultimaker, a Dutch-based company that designs and produces cutting-edge printers, has generously equipped each studio with their latest 3D printer, the Ultimaker 2, for a value that totals more than $8,000.

Students from twelve U.S. schools of architecture wasted no time putting this exciting  technology to work, in the following projects:

  • Modeling ecological corridors through rainwater management and bioremediation in Berlin
  • Mastering the latest techniques for flood management in Prague
  • Investigating the benefits of innovative material technologies in Barcelona.

“Having Ultimaker 2 at every design studio allows our students to test their ideas and develop experimental models to advance their projects and push the envelope of the existing technology,” says Maria Aiolova, CIEE Academic Director for Global Architecture and Design. “Our goal is to create global hubs to experiment with how this technology might be used in the future.”

Learn more about our Global Architecture and Design programs here, and see what current students have to say about their experiences in Prague here

CIEE Alumnus Concludes Tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Russia

After more than five years in President Barack Obama’s administration, CIEE alumnus Michael McFaul will end his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation today. A longtime Russia scholar, Ambassador McFaul is known for spearheading a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations, and for his role in devising the New Start nuclear arms control treaty, which was widely viewed as the first significant overhaul of nuclear disarmament policy since the Cold War.

Throughout his life, Ambassador McFaul has passionately supported international exchange, believing that it plays a pivotal role in academic and professional development. He cites his own career path as proof, the beginnings of which were laid in 1983 during his first trip abroad as a student on CIEE’s study abroad program to St. Petersburg (Leningrad at the time). Thirty years later, Ambassador McFaul remains connected to the CIEE community. In March 2013, he shared his study abroad experience during a discussion with students and staff from CIEE’s Study Center in St. Petersburg and local Russian students at the European University at St. Petersburg. Watch a video of the talk.

In 1985, Ambassador McFaul returned to Russia as a language student at the Pushkin Institute sponsored by the American Councils for Teachers of Russian (ACTR), today known as American Councils, and in 1990 as a Fulbright scholar at the Moscow State University. “These experiences changed my life and set me on a career path which eventually took me to the White House in January 2009 as a special assistant to the president for Russian and Eurasia affairs,” Ambassador McFaul remarked in a June 20, 2013 blog post. “Three years later, I returned to Moscow, this time not as an exchange student, but as the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. I am deeply grateful to CIEE, ACTR, and Fulbright for helping me get to where I am today.”

In one of his final duties, Ambassador McFaul led the U.S. presidential delegation to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, on February 7. He and fellow delegates showed their support for the Americans competing in the Games by attending the Opening Ceremony and meeting with athletes prior to competitions.

Read an exit interview with New Republic magazine in which Ambassador McFaul reflects on his service over the past two years here.

CIEE CEO, Director, and Alumnae Speak at National Conference on Girls’ Education

CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange President and CEO Jim Pellow and Director of High School and Gap Year Abroad Programs Christina McAnuff spoke at the biennial National Conference on Girls’ Education (NCGE) in Philadelphia on February 8. Launched in 2012 by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools (NCGS) and the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN), NCGE brings together professionals and organizations focused on the healthy intellectual, social, and emotional development of girls and young women.

The core of CIEE’s mission is to advocate for the importance of education, and particularly the transformative power of an international education to position students for success. President Pellow and Director McAnuff highlighted this commitment during their presentation, “Shaping Global Citizens: Building Skills that Make a Difference—Service, Leadership, and Intercultural Competencies,” in which they:

  • Shared emerging trends in high school and college study abroad programs to curriculum, campus, and culture
  • Presented programs that support girls and young women who seek to develop leadership skills and intercultural competencies, and participate in international service opportunities
  • Illustrated how study abroad experiences build on classroom learning, and demonstrated how teachers can capitalize their students’ international experience

To underscore the importance of study abroad in girls’ education, four recent CIEE alumnae shared their stories: Meagan Weisgerber, High School Abroad, France; Christina Cabezas, Gap Year Abroad, Santiago, Dominican Republic; Samuella Takyi-Buachie, Leadership Academy, Spain; and Alessia Parenti, USA High School, Spain. Each spoke about making global connections, overcoming culture shock, developing leadership skills, and how their time abroad has sparked a life-long commitment to international exchange and making a difference in our world. 

Spelman College and CIEE Launch New Study Abroad Programs Focused on Leadership and International Engagement

CIEE President James Pellow and Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum
CIEE President and CEO James Pellow, Ed.D., and Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., announce a partnership to develop custom study abroad programs during a ceremony February 4, 2014.

CIEE and Spelman College, the oldest historically black college for women in the U.S., have joined forces to offer four custom study abroad programs this spring in an effort to significantly increase the number of students and faculty participating in international education.

For two weeks, May 11-25, 2014, students on these specially designed programs will visit one of four locations: Lima, Peru; Legon, Ghana; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; or Lisbon, Portugal. Eight Spelman faculty members will serve as co-directors and accompany students overseas. Each program offers clear learning outcomes and full immersion into the host countries’ cultures through co-curricular activities and engagement with locals. While abroad, students will also take part in a customized intercultural engagement curriculum taught by CIEE staff, which will enhance their intercultural competencies and leadership skills.

"We are excited to partner with CIEE on this global education experience,” said Spelman College President Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. “These custom programs will give Spelman students a unique opportunity to have a meaningful international experience in the company of faculty who can help them understand the intercultural context of the countries they visit. This effort is in keeping with our Quality Enhancement Plan, which emphasizes the importance of thinking globally, as well as the development of cultural competencies gained through international study-travel.”

Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D., associate provost for global education and professor of international studies at Spelman College, echoed this statement, saying, “Our goal is to equip students with a firm knowledge of the similarities and differences between two world societies—in this case, their visited country and the U.S.—with the help of reflective journaling and cross-fertilization of ideas. With a global perspective in hand, our students are better prepared to navigate diverse global cultural landscapes, function effectively, and be successful as positive change agents in a rapidly changing global society."

By offering these custom programs, CIEE and Spelman hope to revolutionize study abroad participation to include students from a broad range of majors and academic years, supporting the college’s Spelman Going Global! initiative. Through this strategic effort, Spelman seeks to provide every student with an international travel experience before graduation. Since its implementation in 2009, Spelman has increased the number of students with global travel experiences from a yearly average of 75-100 to 279 students during the 2012-2013 academic year. The partnership with CIEE is expected to increase this number by more than 35 percent.

To support students’ study abroad, Spelman and CIEE will provide each student with a scholarship that covers 50-75 percent of program expenses. “Dr. Togunde approached us last year to work closely with Spelman faculty and his study abroad staff to create a program that meets the college’s bold vision to ensure every Spelman graduate becomes globally aware through international study,” said Kellie Sullivan, director of faculty-led and custom study abroad programs at CIEE. “Under his leadership, this program overcomes the most common barriers students face to studying abroad: cost, curriculum, and culture. It provides an excellent initiation to international study and will likely spark a passion in students for more. We’re honored to be part of this innovative program that increases access and enhances the undergraduate academic experience of Spelman students.”

CIEE President with Spelman College staff and students
(L-R) Renatta Landrau (student), CIEE President and CEO James Pellow, Ed.D., Margery Ganz, Ph.D., Sadé Tuckett (student), Dimeji Togunde, Ph.D.

CIEE hopes that in developing these custom programs, Spelman can serve as a model for other academic institutions around the country focused on increasing access to international study. "With significantly more women assuming positions of leadership in industry, technology, healthcare, and government, President Tatum's vision to expand global learning opportunities for Spelman's future alumnae is inspiring," said James Pellow, Ed.D., CIEE president and CEO. "Graduates with intercultural skills and competencies obtained through study abroad experiences are better prepared to lead in our ever-changing and interconnected world. CIEE is proud to collaborate with Spelman's academic and global program' leaders to help realize President Tatum's vision."

 Steve Amendo
Director, Marketing and Communications


Faculty and CIEE Staff Gather for the 2014 Faculty Summit

Top faculty from 14 colleges and universities across the U.S. joined with CIEE senior staff, resident staff from CIEE Study Centers in the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Spain, and Thailand, and a member of the CIEE Academic Consortium Board (ACB) for the 2014 Faculty Summit, January 8-11 in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

Held annually, the Summit is part of CIEE’s commitment to collaborating with U.S. faculty to develop and evaluate its study abroad programs. This year’s impressive group of participants were chosen from a large number of applicants, based on previous experience with international education, curriculum design, and program leadership.

Participants explored various definitions and absolutes regarding academic service-learning, community engagement, and field practicum, and worked on best practices to strengthen and create CIEE programs that align with the needs of U.S. institutions.

Faculty participants and CIEE staff also met with resident staff from the CIEE Study Center in Santiago and visited CIEE community partner organizations that host students from CIEE Santiago semester, summer, and gap year programs.

Using the CIEE Santiago programs and community network as a base, the group explored various community engagement models and discussed opportunities and best practices for new global program models. Participants met with community leaders at a local orphanage, a nonprofit association of local Santiago artisans, and a clinic providing care to economically marginalized communities.

The Faculty Summit was followed by the annual CIEE Academic Consortium Board Retreat, January 12-15 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Feedback and best practices from the Faculty Summit were incorporated into the agenda, allowing CIEE and the ACB to discuss development opportunities for new and existing CIEE programs, as well as other ways to engage U.S. faculty in program development and evaluation.

It was an intensive and fabulous few days, working with faculty on programs and ideas for which we both share a strong passion. We look forward to the continued collaboration and input from these faculty leaders, as well as continued support and quality assurance from the ACB.

David F. Fougere
Chief Operating Officer – Study Abroad