Grants were awarded as part of the Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, which included a funding opportunity for schools, institutions, and organizations dedicated to providing youth in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa virtual exchange opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be possible due to the pandemic. There are three types of grants:
- Adapt (or develop a new variant of) and conduct an existing in-person exchange or education program into a summer virtual exchange;
- Adapt and conduct an existing virtual exchange program to the current global conditions (for example, finding ways to accommodate young people learning from home, engaging parents or guardians as facilitators or co-participants, or overhauling curricula), or offset unanticipated costs for a virtual exchange program caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
- Prepare those who conduct education or exchange programs to design, prepare for, and facilitate future virtual exchange programming.
Learn more about each grantee below.
AMP Global Youth
AMP Global Youth’s Global Scholar Program connects and empowers rising youth leaders from the United States and the MENA region as they address current global challenges, including COVID-19. Through different virtual workshops and other engagement opportunities, participants work to become global citizens while learning more about global health, the global economy, youth development, and climate change. Together, youth explore the impact of the pandemic and build their skills by working together to find solutions.
Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia
Citizen Diplomacy International of Philadelphia’s How to Succeed as an Innovator is a one-month, summer virtual exchange program for STEM students in Philadelphia and Egypt bridging the gap between STEM subjects learned in school and the real-life path to entrepreneurship. In this program, students learn key dialogue and cross-cultural communication techniques to be introduced to a world-wide community of leaders in entrepreneurship, life sciences, and biomedical engineering. After meeting with guest speakers, who are leaders in social entrepreneurship or have brought scientific discoveries to market, students reflect on the role of dialogue, stereotypes, and bias in their community and in the larger global conversation of STEM business leaders of color.
Creativity for Peace
Creativity for Peace’s Transformational Encounters connects American, Palestinian, and Israeli youth via the virtual landscape of storytelling and the rich connection of food culture. Transformational Encounters is an online exchange where youth learn about each other’s culture and history, share life experiences and personal stories, and develop global perspectives. In three joint activities, more than 70+ young people explore ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity in each region and how their identities can affect conflict, and ultimately, resolution.
Cultural Vistas’ Learning, Information, Networking, Collaboration (LINC) gives young people the opportunity to explore their future STEM careers by collaboratively addressing common global STEM challenges. Cultural Vistas and its partners in Syria and the Palestinian Territories will collaborate over the summer in preparation for LINC by designing and building a virtual resource that addresses cross-cultural competency and career readiness for young people in STEM. The goal of LINC is to build participant cultural awareness and confidence, allowing MENA students to pursue virtual STEM experiences in the United States and for American students to pursue virtual STEM experiences in the MENA region.
Engineering World Health (EWH)
Engineering World Health’s Engineering World Health Virtual Exchange is an international collaboration of undergraduate STEM students from the United States and Lebanon who work together to create innovative solutions to health care problems in low-resource settings. During a five-week period, small teams of participants complete learning modules regarding teamwork, innovative and system design thinking, stakeholder analysis, design specification, budgeting, and intercultural communications. Each team is mentored by an EWH staff member, professor, or graduate student from participating countries.
Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG)
Global Education Benchmark Group’s Sustainable Development Virtual Exchange connects high-school students from across the United States and Morocco and provides them the opportunity to investigate three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to learn more about themselves, their peers in other regions and countries, and the significant challenges facing our global community today. Through both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities, students explore and discuss the ways in which their own background and experiences shape their understanding of the world around them – including humanitarian and environmental challenges – and together they develop ways in which our communities might best tackle those challenges through intercultural dialogue and collaboration as well as meaningful personal and collective action. Participants intentionally reflect many different types of schools as well as diverse geographic regions within their home countries.
Global Ties Kansas City
Global Ties Kansas City’s MOR-USA Virtual Exchange Program brings together approximately 20 students from Morocco and the United States for a shared collective of their artistic talents. Participants, who are primarily from schools of hip-hop intended for urban youth, create connections through the showcasing of their shared talents. The program takes place through three synchronous exchanges, then a series of video prompts for them to complete and view via Flipgrid.
International Education and Resource Network (iEARN)
International Education and Resource Network’s Digital Storytelling Workshop is a ten-day immersive experience with daily activities that foster self-exploration and teach compelling storytelling through digital technology skills. Students working from home in Washington, D.C. and Morocco create video mediated and structured stories on life experience to establish mutual understanding and strengthen tolerance. Each student develops their personal story arc and works in virtual teams to collaborate on and interactively critique their stories.
Madison Area Technical College (Madison College)
Madison Area Technical College’s Economic and Social Entrepreneurship in a Post-COVID World engages underrepresented community college and high school learners in cross-cultural learning. Students from Madison College, a large community college in Madison, Wisconsin, and Middle East International School (MIS), a multinational high school in Doha, Qatar School, apply entrepreneurship skills to address economic and social issues in alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Faculty from both institutions participate in training, planning, and pilot exchange activities during summer 2020, and will implement an ongoing exchange within fall 2020 courses and school activities.
Marshall Legacy Institute
The Marshall Legacy Institute’s Peacemakers and Problem Solvers virtually unites American and Yemeni high school students for peace, leadership and project management education, and cross-cultural engagement. The program leads participating students and teachers through a specially designed curriculum, provides numerous opportunities for inter-cultural interaction in video and text communication, and guides students in service-learning project design and implementation. Students leave the program with a deeper understanding of ethical leadership qualities, peacebuilding and peace-skills, project management and implementation experience, and positive connections with peers in other countries.
Missouri State University
Missouri State University’s Virtual Exchange for Teacher Candidates is a program supporting future teachers from Morocco and the United States as they learn with and from each other. Together, with the Moroccan Regional Centers of Education and Formation, they build inclusive teacher education curricula. This integral part of education methods courses and outreach strengthens the cultural literacies and global understanding of educators so they can enter their careers with skills and international, professional relationships to create their own virtual exchanges. Missouri State University will spend the summer developing and preparing to launch the program.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University’s Global Education Movement (GEM) is an initiative that provides refugees and those affected by displacement the tools to become agents of change by earning accredited bachelors’ degrees and fostering connections to meaningful and well-compensated careers in business, humanitarian aid, and the global digital economy. GEM serves over 1,200 students and graduates across five countries. In summer 2020, GEM is facilitating a unique international exchange opportunity for students based in Lebanon to connect with students in the United States through a series of online workshops focusing on developing leadership and professional skills. Through this cross-cultural exchange, GEM provides skills and motivation to enable students in both Lebanon and the U.S. to successfully prepare for a post-COVID-19 world.
Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC)
Texas International Education Consortium’s Virtual Exchange for Undergraduate Nursing in Texas, Egypt and Jordan is an eight-week virtual exchange capacity-building program for 44 undergraduate nursing faculty from 22 colleges of nursing in Egypt, Jordan, and Texas. Together, faculty learn effective virtual exchange models and jointly design virtual exchange modules to integrate into existing BSN courses that will encourage students to research and investigate global health challenges shared across borders. Virtual exchange training workshops are led by TIEC partners, Johns Hopkins University, Soliya, and SUNY COIL, and TIEC pairs faculty and institutions for virtual exchange design and implementation.
The African Middle East Leadership Project (AMEL)
The African Middle East Leadership Project’s Global Allyship Curriculum matches young social activists in the United States and the MENA region to encourage collaboration on how each community can support one another during this time of global upheaval. Professors from esteemed universities like Harvard and Stanford, along with seasoned activists from the MENA region, teach courses on crisis management, adaptive leadership, entrepreneurship, nonviolent strategies for social change, and democratic development. Beyond learning from the experts, participants engage in a mutually beneficial knowledge exchange where they share strategies and tactics for creating lasting social change that reflects the cross-cutting values of their generation.
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana (UM)
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at University of Montana’s Connecting Montana and Egypt in a Global Leadership Initiative will spend the summer preparing to connect students from Montana and Egypt to highlight the importance of citizen diplomacy during the 2020-2021 academic year. This virtual exchange program is designed to enhance global competencies and communities’ internationalization. Participants will learn leadership skills in a shared fall 2020 course on Public Diplomacy.
United Planet’s American-Iraqi Public Health Teams
United Planet’s American-Iraqi Public Health Teams gives high school and university youth a unique opportunity to collaborate on meaningful and impactful projects designed to address public health issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic. University students specialized in public health and social work lead and mentor American-Iraqi high school teams while engaging in real-world, problem-solving activities. Using project-based learning, teams research, develop, and implement public health/COVID-19 activities to support their communities and share project outcomes. In doing so, participants enhance their 21st-century skills and deepen their understanding of global public health through an intercultural lens.
United Planet’s Global Virtual Exchange Teacher Training and Professional Development
United Planet’s Global Virtual Exchange Teacher Training and Professional Development brings together middle and high school teachers from diverse populations in Iraq, Jordan, and the United States for an engaging summer program filled with theory and “hands-on” experiential learning opportunities. Teachers, who come from all skill levels, are encouraged to share best practices in instructional design and facilitation for online, project-based, place-based learning, and virtual exchange. Additionally, teachers explore effective use of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) tools and student engagement strategies for high performance, collaborative Virtual Meetings.
WorldChicago’s Youth Diplomats, an experiential learning program to equip and empower youth to be global citizens, partners with Hands Along the Nile to lead a four-week virtual exchange between youth in Illinois, Florida, Missouri, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. Through the exploration of community case studies, participants develop design thinking tools. Additionally, participants are placed in multiregional and country teams to develop and pitch social ventures to benefit the youth experience in the United States and North Africa.