Image: IIE Highlights of 2015

Addressing Urgent Global Issues through the Fulbright Specialist Program

Image: Fulbright Arctic Scholar Gwen Holdmann speaks at
Arctic Matters Day at the National Academy of Sciences.
Fulbright Arctic Scholar Gwen Holdmann
speaks at the National Academy of Sciences

In 2015, the Fulbright Scholar Program took on two of the biggest challenges facing the world today: climate change and the global refugee crisis. The Program selected the inaugural group of scholars for the Fulbright Arctic Initiative and launched a brand new Specialist Program to bring experts in to work on refugee resettlement. IIE is proud administer the Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and to join in the celebration of Fulbright’s 70th anniversary in 2016.

Supporting Women and Girls in STEM

We engaged with companies around the world to encourage girls to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In 2015 IIE’s WeTech Initiative, supported by companies like Qualcomm and Goldman Sachs, announced scholarships and afterschool support to help girls prepare for careers in STEM fields. IIE has partnered with the Verizon Foundation Innovative Learning Program (VILP) to help girls in secondary school enter and succeed in technology careers. To date, VILP has connected 800 girls in India and the Philippines with mentors working in the tech industry.

Developing a Network of Leaders in Central America


The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) chose IIE as a partner to create a prestigious new leadership development program that will support high-impact leaders driving change in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. SIF’s core approach to development in Central America includes investing in leadership programs, building organizational capacity, and creating networks of social change agents with the ability to transform economies, communities and societies. George McArthur, Whitaker International Fellow at Imperial College London. This program is being implemented by IIE's Latin America office, based in Mexico City. 

Providing an Exchange Experience for Emerging Student Leaders in Brazil

In 2015, 18,000 Brazilian students studied in the United States through the IIE Brazil Scientific Mobility Program (BSMP). This initiative, administered by IIE and sponsored by CAPES and CNPq, is part of the Brazilian government's larger effort to grant 100,000 scholarships to the best students from Brazil for study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) 
at the world’s top universities. After completion of an academic year including a summer internship, students return to Brazil to complete their degrees and build the future of their home country. 

Working with Diaspora Communities to Build Home Country Capacity

Image: CADFP Particpant Dr. Esiobu working in a lab
CADFP Fellow Dr. Nwadiuto Esiobu, of Florida Atlantic
University, at Ebonyi State University in Nigeria

In an interconnected world, diaspora communities can continue to serve as tremendous resources to their home countries even when living abroad. That’s been the result of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, which has supported 110 African fellows to travel back to the region to conduct joint academic projects with peers to help build capacity at host universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. This successful program is a replicable model that will guide IIE in connecting Greek universities with the Greek diaspora community in 2016, through a new program supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Protecting Students, Scholars and Artists in Times of Crisis

In 2015, following a string of violent attacks on academic institutions worldwide, IIE collaborated with the University of York and the Brookings Doha Center to create the York Accord, a call to protect education under attack. We continued our work protecting education around the world by awarding 165 grants to Nepalese students at 122 U.S. universities, and provided grants and fellowships to more than 300 Syrian students and 80 Syrian scholars who needed assistance due to crises in their countries. Additionally, our new Artist Protection Fund (APF), supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will expand our emergency assistance work to the arts by making life-saving grants to threatened artists.

Mobilizing Support for U.S. Study Abroad

IIE's Generation Study Abroad Initiative
aims to double U.S. study abroad by 2020

In 2015, the more than 600 partners that joined IIE’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative committed $185 million in financial support over the next five years to make study abroad more accessible to all. Recognizing the key role that parents and K-12 teachers play in bringing the world into their classrooms, we also teamed up with globally-minded organizations to connect teachers with resources to create globally minded students, and we published A Parent Guide to Study Abroad in both English and Spanish. Our inaugural IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad brought all of these stakeholders, as well as government officials, business leaders and journalists together in Washington, D.C. for action-oriented discussion on how to ensure international

Promoting Female Leaders and Entrepreneurs

The Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) Program, which IIE manages with funding from the United States government, expanded from 8 to 13 centers across Tunisia. The WES Centers are supporting women entrepreneurs at a pivotal moment in the country’s development by sharing information and creating professional opportunities. The TechWomen Program, also supported by the U.S. Department of State, connected 99 women from 19 countries with female mentors in Silicon Valley and provided them with professional development opportunities. students about American society and culture, as well as involve them in community service and problem-solving that they can bring back to their home countries.

Fostering Multilateral University Partnerships to Solve Global Challenges

The Global Innovation Initiative, a program funded by the U.S. and UK governments to foster research collaboration through which universities from these two countries join together with higher education institutions in Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, created 14 new multilateral university partnerships. The winning proposals address topics of global significance such as energy, climate change and the environment; agriculture, food security and water; global health; and urban development.

Engaging Exchange Students with Community Service

Image: Fulbright Students working at an Enrichment workshop in Los Angeles
A Fulbright Student explores environmental challenges
at a 2015 Enrichment Seminar in Los Angeles

IIE team members who work on the Fulbright Program are making sure that Fulbright foreign students get to know the people in U.S. communities and learn about pressing issues facing Americans today. In 2015, oen of the many enrichment seminars organized for foreign Fulbrighters was held in Los Angeles and explored environmental challenges facing California. The solutions oriented seminar focused on what California communities are doing to address water issues. 

Paving the Way for Academic Collaboration

We believe that educational exchange has the power to bridge gaps between countries that have had a history of tense political relationships, assisting in the process of reconnecting by encouraging practical cooperation in areas of mutual benefit. In 2015, as the diplomatic relationship between Cuba and the United States began to thaw, IIE led an historic delegation of U.S. college and university representatives to Cuba in an effort to support and expand academic connections between the two countries. We expect the delegation’s visit to result in outcomes such as new study abroad programs, faculty exchange, joint conferences or symposia, joint publications, and U.S. faculty-led courses to Cuba. In 2016, international academic partnership programs will focus on Mexico, Cuba and New Zealand.

Advocating for Diversity and Growth in U.S. Study Abroad

Image: Study Abroad Alumni at the 2015 IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad
Study abroad alumni at the inaugural
IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad.

Through IIE’s Generation Study Abroad Initiative as well as the programs we administer on behalf of our sponsors, IIE is working with a variety of stakeholders to diversify U.S. study abroad. 57% of students who studied abroad through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, were people of color (compared to 19% in the U.S. study abroad population overall). And in 2015, IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative awarded 160 scholarships to 26 colleges and universities so they could provide financial support for study abroad to diverse students on their campus. We have reached out to encourage minority serving institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to join Generation Study Abroad, and more than 40 have done so to date.