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2020 Year in Review

We are happy to share our 2020 Year in Review, which includes highlights from the year.

Virtual exchange has the ability to connect young people oceans apart in real time – no flight required. Our programs used technology to connect young people across more than 550,000 miles – that’s the equivalent of a trip to the Moon and back.

460 exchange superheroes from 265 schools, institutions, and organizations rose to the challenge of the pandemic by attending our events and participating in training and mentorship.

Virtual exchange participants can become valued virtual exchange experts. Stevens Initiative alumni spent over 21,600 minutes providing valuable perspectives to the Initiative on the impact of virtual exchange, successful program characteristics, and future virtual exchange implementation. Thank you to our alumni who contributed to our webinars and the Alumni Review Committee for our grant competition.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Stevens Initiative funded 18 organizations to continue, create, or plan for virtual exchanges between young people in the U.S. and MENA region. In just 90 days, 1,000 young people experienced unique opportunities ranging from producing a collaborative hip hop video to designing a new oxygen therapy device for communities hard-hit by COVID-19, all amidst an unprecedented global shutdown.

Making connections is a foundation of virtual exchange and of our work. We used 1,917,000 megabits through over 355 hours of Zoom calls to give people the scoop on our work and virtual exchange.

Virtual exchange engages youth across the world to explore, discuss, and debate a myriad of topics, helping to expand their knowledge and build vital skills. Our programs spanned 67 different topics, including digital citizenship, coding for social good, community engagement, the coronavirus pandemic and healthcare, and art.

Through 16,507 mouse clicks, you downloaded publications, watched webinars, or pressed play on a video. You took the steps to learn more about virtual exchange by accessing our many resources.

In an effort to make virtual exchange capacity-building more accessible, we launched Stevens Initiative Connected Classrooms. We partnered with postsecondary leaders and faculty members across ten institutions and dedicated over 2,870 hours to training, technical assistance, and mentoring to launch virtual exchange at their campuses.

Every year, we give many presentations to share information about the Stevens Initiative and get educators involved. In 2020, our combined conference presentations were comprised of 621 slides that reached 1,387 educators. If those slides were printed on 8.5 x 11 paper and laid down end to end (long ways), that would be 569.25 feet – that’s taller than the great pyramid of Giza (430 feet)!

Most of our programs include a synchronous, or real-time, communication component for participants to engage with one another. Our programs hosted over 38,000 sign-ons to synchronous sessions, whether on Zoom, Google Hangouts, or a custom videoconferencing platform.

7,847 words were written about the impact of virtual exchange on participants and alumni across the United States and the MENA region. The most popular words in these stories are “exchange,” “global,” and “skills.”

Over 36 newsletters, announcements, invitations, and updates popped up in inboxes around the world this year. Our outreach list grew to 13,070 people; 55% of those are new to our network. Thanks for staying in touch.

Zoom became the main way to meet this year, and we sent out 4,070 Zoom links to our registrants for our many online events from around the world – our event registrants represented 48 states and 75 countries. Thank you for joining us!

What is virtual exchange? As we work to grow the field and inform others about this impactful global education opportunity, our team said virtual exchange 25,275 times in 2020.

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