Stevens Initiative Announces Second Cohort Of Connected Classrooms On May 5

Students from Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States will Participate in Virtual Exchange to Form Friendships and Develop New Skills

What: 1,500 students from institutions in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States will connect with their peers for learning and relationship-building through virtual exchange. Through Stevens Initiative Connected Classrooms, faculty from 15 institutions will integrate virtual exchange into their existing courses, providing students an opportunity to explore class content in a unique way. Read more.

When: Faculty Scholars will begin designing their virtual exchanges this May and will integrate the virtual exchange into their classrooms starting this fall. Under guidance of Leadership Teams and with support from the Stevens Initiative, the virtual exchanges will continue at each institution for the next two years.

More Information: Stevens Initiative Connected Classrooms brings virtual exchange experiences to students across Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. It supports faculty and postsecondary institution leaders to implement, grow, and sustain these experiences by:

  • Offering Faculty Capacity Building and Coaching: Connected Classrooms accompanies faculty to effectively implement virtual exchange courses using the Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) training model.
  • Providing Institutional Strategic Support and Mentoring: Through a customized approach, Connected Classrooms works closely with the institutions’ leadership to support the growth of virtual exchange at various campuses in a sustainable manner.
  • Creating a Global Virtual Exchange Community: Connected Classrooms Faculty Scholars and institutional leaders collaborate, learn, and develop best practices.

To learn more about virtual exchange, the Stevens Initiative, or to connect with educators integrating virtual exchange into their courses, please contact Haili Lewis:


The Stevens Initiative is an international effort to build global competence and career readiness skills for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa by growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange. Created in 2015 as a lasting tribute to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the Initiative is committed to helping to expand the virtual exchange field through three pillars of work: investing in promising programs, sharing knowledge and resources, and advocating for virtual exchange adoption.

The Stevens Initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute.  It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs.  These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us.  Visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society.  Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world.  Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.  For more information, visit

The Bezos Family Foundation supports rigorous, inspired learning environments for young people, from birth through high school, to put their education into action.  Through investments in research, public awareness, systems building and programs, the foundation works to elevate the field of education and improve life outcomes for all children.

The Kingdom of Morocco has held a longstanding commitment to the promotion of peace, mutual understanding and respect across all fora.  In line with this commitment, the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco is a strong supporter of the Stevens Initiative and is proud to be included in its programs, which foster opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges between youth.

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Washington, D.C. is committed to promoting and increasing cross-cultural understanding and educational exchanges.  In line with the UAE Government’s values, the Embassy supports educational programming at schools and universities across the U.S.  The Embassy works with U.S. institutions to provide unique opportunities for peer-to-peer exchanges and help broaden student’s horizons.

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