Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of daily life around the world, including education and exchange activities. Schools, colleges, universities, and other organizations worldwide have cancelled in-person classes, meetings, and exchange programs. Young people are adapting to learning from home, travel is severely curtailed for the foreseeable future, and summer exchange programs for tens of thousands of young people have been cancelled. In these difficult times, we need to find innovative ways to sustain learning and connections among young people who are isolated. The Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic includes three pathways to support various stakeholders as the pandemic impacts education.

Through this response, the Stevens Initiative aims to engage anyone interested in bringing virtual exchange to youth in their community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Stevens Initiative and how do I learn more about its work? What is virtual exchange? How do I learn more about it?

To learn more about the Stevens Initiative and virtual exchange, you can sign up for our next Info Session, which is scheduled for Thursday, April 23rd at 12pm Eastern Time. Learn more here. You can also view our curated list of resources about virtual exchange here.

What do you mean by an in-person education program?

In-person education programs include classroom-based courses at the primary, secondary, and higher education levels. It also includes extra-curricular activities or activities that occur alongside classroom instruction, whether conducted in school or outside school, such as student or youth clubs, before- or after-school activities, sports, art and performance, field trips, volunteering and community service, and others.

I live outside of the U.S. and MENA region. Can I still participate in the fund or in the training and mentorship tracks?

While the fund is only for U.S. and MENA based applicants, training and mentorship is open to anyone.  Please note that space is limited for mentorship opportunities.

Do I or my organization need to attend one or more training sessions to be eligible to receive a grant?

Applicants to the Initiative’s response fund are encouraged but not required to attend the sponsored training sessions. Training sessions could be helpful for developing strong proposals, particularly for organizations new to virtual exchange and the Stevens Initiative, which is why they are scheduled during the grant application window.

Do I or my organization have to pay to attend a Stevens Initiative-sponsored training?

Stevens Initiative trainings are free to attend, but attendees must register ahead of time. Register to attend here.

Can I share the invitation to the Stevens Initiative trainings with others at my organization?

Organizations or groups are welcome to have more than one person attend the trainings. All attendees will need to register in advance to be admitted to the trainings. We ask attendees to be mindful that the opportunity to ask questions during the webinar is intended to be shared equitably among all attendees.

I am interested in attending a training session, but I am unable to make one/all of the training sessions. Will the Stevens Initiative offer future training sessions?

At this time the Initiative does not plan to offer future training and will continue to assess the coronavirus pandemic and the needs of education and exchange organizations. If you are unable to attend any of the Initiative’s training sessions, recordings will be posted to the Initiative’s YouTube channel.

Will there be future opportunities if the coronavirus pandemic continues past this summer?

At this time the Initiative does not plan to offer future trainings or response funds beyond the trainings and competition outlined here, but will continue to assess the crisis and the needs of education and exchange organizations in the future.

I am a young person or a parent of a young person whose summer education or exchange program was cancelled. How can I participate in a virtual exchange?

The below are Stevens Initiative-funded virtual exchange programs that have current open-enrollment opportunities for youth.

  • seat at the table, Global Nomads Group: seat at the table is a virtual community where youth meaningfully interact, share stories, and form bonds across distance and difference. Young people ages 16-19 connect over video and share how they are experiencing COVID-19 in their local communities, and hear from other youth about what’s happening in other parts of the world.
  • Student to World, Global Nomads Group: This online program for youth ages 12-18 explores global issues through activities, curated media resources, and stories created by youth worldwide. As a personalized learning journey, youth are able to self-pace through the thematic courses on their own, gaining the 21st century and social emotional learning skills to prepare them for their futures.
  • The Experiment Digital, World Learning: Designed to connect high school students in U.S. with peers in Iraq, Algeria, and Yemen, The Experiment Digital prepares participants to be more civically engaged and lead change. This fully funded eight-week summer virtual experience teaches students to formulate and implement service projects in their local communities. Students can apply online and join this summer’s free program.

Does the Stevens Initiative offer resources and training on digital education/learning or distance learning?

The Stevens Initiative offers funding, training, and resources on virtual exchange programs, which the Initiative defines as sustained, online learning or collaboration among peers in different countries. While digital education/learning can include virtual exchange, the learning must include the aforementioned components in order to be considered a virtual exchange. For more information on the Initiative’s classification of these learning terms, see the Initiative’s blog on digital learning options during the coronavirus pandemic here.

If you would like to donate to the Stevens Initiative to support this effort, please use the donate button at the bottom of this page.

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