Announcing the 2021 Stevens Initiative Grantees

April 7, 2021

The Stevens Initiative is supporting 19 virtual exchange programs that will prepare young people to be leaders in our interconnected world. The 2021 Stevens Initiative Grantees will engage nearly 19,000 young people, middle schoolaged to young professionals, in dynamic and innovative virtual exchange programs designed to promote connection and learning. Depending on the program, participants will learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, mental health, codingCOVID-19, and more through dialogue- and project-based activities.  

The Stevens Initiative has awarded 83 grants since its launch in 2015. Through the work of these programs, the Stevens Initiative will expand its reach to nearly 75,000 young people in 17 MENA countries and the Palestinian Territories, and in 47 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, one tribal community, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. 

The 2021 Stevens Initiative Grantees are: 

  • AURAK’s Acknowledge – Challenge – Transform (ACT): Developing Empathetic Leadership prepares college-aged youth in the United States and Middle East with the knowledge and skills required to acknowledge and challenge various forms of biases through empathy. 
  • AMIDEAST’s Qisasna facilitates cross-cultural exchange between American and Yemeni students by providing participants with the skills needed to produce podcasts that focus on discussions of global issues, perceptions of both cultures, career opportunities for young people, and community service. 
  • Culturingua’s Global Social Entrepreneurship Journey joins high school students in San Antonio, Texas, and in Benghazi, Libya, to develop a social enterprise idea that solves a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.
  • Empatico’s Coding with Empathy Challenge, developed in partnership with, brings together middle school students from the United States and Egypt to collaborate on a series of empathy-building computer science and virtual exchange experiences. 
  • Enactus Morocco and Enactus US’sEntrepreneurial Exchange helps university students and young adults gain entrepreneurship fundamentals through a virtual course that culminates in ten cross-country, cross-culture teams competing in a project pitch competition.
  • Engineering World Health’s Virtual Engineering Innovation & Cultural Exchange fosters an international collaboration between participants living in the United States, Lebanon, and Jordan with a focus on science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM). 
  • Florida International University’s Tabadul: Creating Language-Learning Community Through Virtual Reality brings together college-aged youth in the United States and in the Middle East and North Africa for language-learning and community building through virtual reality. 
  • Games for Change’s Game Exchange is a virtual exchange program for teens in Bahrain, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States in which teens from the four countries join in creative dialogue and collaboration based on a shared interest in video games andgame design. 
  • Global Ties U.S.s MENA-USA Empowering Resilient Girls Exchange (MERGE) brings together girls ages 15-19 from the United States and MENA region in a supportive virtual space to learn about their own mental health, develop emotional resilience skills, and share this knowledge with their communities.
  • Hashemite University’sResearch, Education, and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH)brings together college-aged youth in the United States and in the Middle East for online, face-to-face learning experiences. 
  • Institute of International Education’s Harnessing Innovation through Virtual Exchange for Enhanced Results (HIVER) program develops intercultural communication and problem-solving skills among diverse students at participating U.S. and MENA universities.  
  • LaGuardia Community College’sGlobal Scholars Achieving Career Success (GSACS) is a collaborative multi-campus program that foregrounds UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and career readiness competencies in class-to-class virtual exchanges between students from the City University of New York and universities in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • PATHWAYS Institute for Negotiation Education’s Game Changers in Education brings together undergraduate education majors and pre-service teachers from the United States and Israel for interactive joint learning and facilitated online exchange focused on developing and applying creative negotiation skills in their schools and communities. 
  • Seattle University School of Law’sTransitional Justice Legal Exchange brings together Moroccan and American law students for a class on transitional justice and human rights co-taught by professors from one Moroccan and one American institution.
  • Soliya’sGlobal Circles are short online dialogue opportunities, bringing together young people from various backgrounds and nationalities for a face-to-face exchange around compelling global issues that matter to youth today. 
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Bridging Cultures to Defeat COVID-19 is a virtual health sciences education program that brings together American, Middle Eastern, and North African clinical and scientific trainees for collaborative scientific and medical education and for unique professional development and cultural exchange opportunities.
  • The International Foundation for Training and Development and the Onslow County School District’s Youth for Sustainable Development Goals Virtual Exchange Program brings together and engages high school aged students, grades 9-12, to learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), why they are important, and what these goals represent for students and their community.
  • The New York Academy of Sciences’ Junior Academy is a virtual exchange program bringing together a passionate community of problem solvers made up of talented students, STEM experts, and organizations around the world dedicated to designing innovative solutions to global challenges. 
  • WorldDenver’sWorld Affairs Challenge Virtual Exchange serves youth ages 14-17 in the state of Colorado and the Middle East and North Africa through an online, mobile-accessible exchange in which bi-national student teams of six to ten participants learn and practice leadership development, cross-cultural communication, and project management.

Educators along with schools, districts, postsecondary institutions, and nonprofit organizations can have young people participate in a virtual exchange program implemented by a Stevens Initiative grantee by joining a program. Educators, youth organizers, and administrators can mobilize youth participation by sharing opportunities with their students or youth participants to apply to an open-enrollment virtual exchange program funded by the Stevens Initiative.

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