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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.