Webinar: Insights and Anecdotes on the Impact of Virtual Exchange

Event Details
  • Date

    October 12, 2022

  • Time

    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
    U.S. Eastern Time

  • Location


Since its inception in 2015, the Stevens Initiative has conducted and sponsored research, grown its network of implementers and practitioners, and collected success stories with the goal of articulating the impact of virtual exchange. This webinar will share insights we have gained that are drawn from research and anecdotal evidence. Panelists will also explore what gaps still exist in the field’s knowledge and how to address them in the future. This discussion will draw from the Initiative’s sponsored research, impact and alumni success stories, and Virtual Exchange Impact and Learning Reports, including results from Soliya’s rigorous evaluation.

Gabi Hunt (@StevensInit) is a Program Coordinator at the Stevens Initiative, where she supports the program’s events and communications strategy. Prior to joining the Stevens Initiative, she completed internships and projects with Middle East Policy Council, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations, and UNICEF. Gabi holds a B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations, B.A. in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Arabic from Seton Hall University, where she graduated summa cum laude. As an undergraduate, she spent a semester abroad in Amman, Jordan, and traveled to Saudi Arabia on a pilot trip to help develop an inaugural educational exchange program.

Salma Elbeblawi (@Soliya) is the Chief Program Officer overseeing Soliya’s virtual exchange and training programs, managing research partnerships with social scientists to design measurement tools for virtual exchange, and conducting impact assessment. Previously, Salma managed the Centre for Widening Participation and Social Inclusion at University of Wales in the United Kingdom, and worked on various youth empowerment and educational initiatives in the Middle East through her work at the Canadian International Development Agency, the Ford Foundation, and Arab Education Forum. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University.

Kyle Kastler (@StevensInit) is a Program Manager, where he oversees alumni engagement for participants and awardees of Stevens Initiative programs and contributes to the Initiative’s research and knowledge sharing work. In his role, Kyle focuses on providing support to alumni to leverage their virtual exchange experience into future opportunities and sharing resources about virtual exchange with the wider field. Previously, he contributed to the field of international exchange by working on in-person youth exchange programs funded by the U.S. Department of State.  Kyle joins the Initiative after completing a Master’s Program in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park where he researched and wrote about practitioner perceptions of virtual exchange. Kyle, originally from Kansas, is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a Critical Language Scholarship Recipient, and holds a B.A. in Spanish and Political Science from Missouri Southern State University.

Linda Stuart (@lindakstuart, @AFS) is a dynamic intercultural educator, committed to partnering with others to embrace change and grow our global competence in an ever-changing world. Since 2017, Linda has led digital education innovation for AFS Intercultural Programs, Inc, where she currently serves as Director of Global Education Innovation. She is President of Alma, Inc. – a cross-cultural leadership development consultancy  For 10 years as Global Citizens Network’s (GCN) Director, she tripled the size of GCN, expanding short term experiences into 20 communities globally, gaining national recognition by National Geographic, Budget Travel, The New York Times, Oprah, and USA Today as “One of the Best Volunteer Experiences.” Linda was recently published in “Mind the Gap: Global Learning at Home and Abroad” Stylus Publications, 2020. She holds a coaching certificate from the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota, an M.A. from University of Chile, and a B.A. from Augsburg University.