This August, 36 young women pursuing undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from universities across India and China completed the first year of the WeTech Qualcomm Global Scholars Program, an exciting new initiative made possible through Qualcomm’s support.
During the program, each Scholar received financial assistance through a US$5,000 scholarship and also had the unique opportunity to be mentored for a six-month period by a Qualcomm professional to further enhance her professional development and leadership skills.
As the Program Officer for Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech), administered by the Institute of International Education, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in this program since its inception in 2015 and see the transformation of these young women throughout the course of their mentorships.
At the Institute of International Education’s Annual Gala this week in New York City, IIE presented seven Fulbright alumni with the inaugural IIE Global Changemaker Awards in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program.
Fulbright, administered by IIE on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, impacting local communities and the world by providing innovative and inclusive educational exchange opportunities for current and future leaders.
International education is increasingly being viewed as a means to developing human capital and cultivating leaders that can drive change and progress, especially in developing countries. Fellowships, study abroad, global research and internship programs are examples of international education exchanges. Through an exchange of students and young professionals across national borders, these higher education opportunities provide access to relevant knowledge and skills necessary for having an impact of policymaking and for a career in public affairs.
While the impact on recipients’ career and personal development is indisputable, evidence on the impact on the national public sphere, particularly in marginalized communities, has yet to be ascertained. How can international fellowship and scholarship programs influence policymaking? Can alumni of such programs foster change at a local, national, and global level by serving as key agents in government institutions?
“I sometimes was in doubt if I could realize my dreams but because of the support from the HER program there is no doubt for me now. I’m equipped with what I need to face the challenge I might face as a woman.” - HER Graduate
The month of July is a rainy one for Ethiopia. For IIE and the graduates of the Higher Education Readiness (HER) program, however, the 28th of July stands out as a bright and remarkable day where we got together to celebrate 100 girls who successfully graduated from high school and the HER program. These graduates come from underserved communities and families, and the HER program assisted them with a pathway to university and a hope for their future.
Sixty years ago, after gaining independence from France, Tunisia adopted the most progressive laws supporting women’s rights in the Middle East. The Tunisian Code of Personal Status outlawed polygamy, and gave women equal rights around decisions of marriage, divorce and child custody. Over the years, many have tried in the name of religion and cultural norms to challenge these laws. Most recently, the first draft of Tunisia’s new constitution released in 2012 caused outcry among women and emerging civil society organizations when Article 28 described women’s roles in the family as “complementary” to that of men.
Maria Beltran, Pattie Umali, Kate Hufnagel, and Zach Braun on
Monday, August 8, 2016
This summer, four American University graduate students traveled to Cuba to conduct an evaluation of IIE’s Cuba International Academic Partnership Program as part of a faculty-led group project. While informative academically and programmatically, this collection of short observations highlights how each team member also grew personally from the experience.
Pope Francis travelled recently to the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of Syrian refugees are housed in detention centers as they await updates on their asylum applications. The Pope called on people around the world to, “...heed these scenes of tragic and indeed desperate need, and respond in a way worthy of our common humanity.” Beyond the basic human needs of food, water, and shelter, there are also unprecedented educational needs, which IIE has played an active role in addressing. Today, the Syria Consortium is answering this call by encouraging universities to provide scholarships to qualified Syrian students. The IIE Scholar Rescue Fund is offering funding to host institutions that can offer temporary academic positions for Syrian scholars to continue their teaching and research until it’s safe to return home. This work not only has short-term impact by finding placements for many qualified Syrian academics, as well as hundreds of other threatened scholars around the world, but it also has long-term benefits for training teachers and future leaders who will go on to create the educational infrastructure for Syria’s future. As much as the work of supporting refugees is future oriented, it is also a vital part of IIE’s history.
Strategic international partnerships are a hot topic in higher education right now. Collectively, we seem to be moving away from an initial philosophy of “let’s sign as many MOUs with foreign institutions as we can,” to an approach that emphasizes careful planning, deliberate action, and attention to quality, depth, and sustainability.
Now that we’re headed down this path, however, the nuances of what we mean by “strategic” are increasingly important. At ACE, we’re having conversations with our members and program participants about this topic on a regular basis—these have helped us begin to unpack the term “strategic” and better understand its manifestations in relation to global engagement.
We had the opportunity to represent IIE and U.S. higher education at the G7 International Higher Education Summit last month in Tokyo. The Summit took place from May 18-19 and was hosted by the Japan Student Services Organization and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
The Summit was attended by representatives from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the European Union, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Korean National Institute for International Education (NIIED), the British Council, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), SEAMEO Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (RIHED), and IIE.
IIE East Asia is pursuing a number of initiatives to support and engage with Greater China’s developing philanthropy sector. In Hong Kong the sector is mature and provides many opportunities for IIE—which has offices in both Hong Kong and Beijing—to support foundation work in throughout China. The philanthropy sector in the mainland is young but growing fast, and IIE is constantly developing new initiatives to address the needs of this burgeoning sector. Our work with the Ford Foundation under the Learning Circles for Chinese Philanthropy program has allowed us to identify a number of areas where we can support the sector drawing on the resources from both our offices. Below, Siusie Hsiao in IIE’s office in Beijing gives an overview of these key areas. We are very grateful to the Ford Foundation for supporting our work in this area. In due course we will also provide a view from Hong Kong showing how efforts across the region can be harmonized.