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100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces New Grant Winning Institutions

CAF: Development Bank of Latin America, U.S. Department of State, SEMPRA Energy Fund New Higher Education Partnerships between the United States and Peru

WASHINGTON, DC: FEBRUATY 21, 2017 -The U.S. Department of State, Embassy of Peru, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announce the latest Innovation Fund grant winning teams sponsored by CAF: Development Bank of Latin America, the U.S. Department of State, and SEMPRA Energy.

With support from this public-private sector collaboration, this Innovation Fund grant competition will facilitate thirteen new higher education partnerships designed exclusively for universities and colleges in the United States and institutions in Peru.  Grant-winning teams will create new student exchange and training opportunities in the fields of environmental science, water resource management, science, engineering, and mathematics.

“When governments, the private sector, and civil society collaborate on education, we address society’s most pressing concerns, we foster innovation, we create enduring relationships, we build 21st century workforce skills, and we expand knowledge networks.  The Innovation Fund provides Peru and the United States with dynamic higher education partnerships as engines for economic prosperity,” said the United States Ambassador to Peru Krishna R. Urs.

“Peru shares with the United States the belief of the importance of reinforcing understanding in our hemisphere and further strengthen the ties between our people through academic and student exchange. Thanks to the Innovation Fund, increasing student participation in international exchange programs will enhance our ability to seize the opportunities presented to us and face common challenges in our countries,” said Peru Ambassador to the United States Carlos Pareja.

The twenty-seven higher education partnerships between Peru and the United States announced today will provide groundbreaking exchange programs that will give students opportunities to work in teams in both countries, gain technical and linguistic skills, and become more competent for today’s global workforce.  Peru will enter the top-five countries in this hemispheric-wide signature education initiative, with a total of 20 Innovation Fund grant winning teams between Peru and the United States since January 2014.  To date, a total of 15 U.S. states and eight Peruvian states will benefit from Innovation Fund grant partnerships.

The Innovation Fund fuels strategic partnerships among higher education institutions in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere and strengthens institutional capacity and commitments to increasing student academic exchange programs.  Innovation Fund grants build bridges of opportunity, provide more access to training opportunities, and enhance regional education cooperation and competiveness throughout the Americas.

Since January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 147 grants to teams of 288 higher education institutions from 25 countries.  Innovation Fund grant awards are $25,000 each with grant-winning teams contributing additional resources on average 1.5 times more to leverage the grant and implement new student exchange programs between the United States and in the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

New Grants in the Peru – U.S. Innovation Fund Competition will be awarded to:

California State University, San Marcos, California, United States
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima, Peru

Species Conservation through Innovative Practices in U.S.A and Peru

California State University and Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos will partner to enhance the academic experience of students in the U.S. and Peru through joint research on wildlife biology and public outreach surrounding jaguar and wild cat conservation. Students will learn about the science, sociology, and data surrounding species conservation while developing their language and design skills in an immersive experience that will start in the classroom and lead to the jungle.  The reoccurring program aims to increase the number of STEM students studying abroad while improving outcomes for students underrepresented in STEM disciplines. Program participants will present their findings and experiences with the goal of improving coexistence between humans and threatened animals, and to influence future generations of STEM students.


George Mason University, Virginia, United States
Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana, Maynas, Peru

Building Bridges and Capacity: An Innovative Model for US-Peruvian Educational Exchange

George Mason University (GMU), in partnership with Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana (UNAP), will be “Building Bridges and Capacity” with a new project focused on environmental science, conservation biology, and sustainability studies. Expanding on their existing ties and the unique partnerships GMU has with other higher education institutions and organizations, GMU and UNAP are setting the stage for increased student mobility to inspire similar partnerships. The project will begin with the creation of two new credit-bearing field courses in the Peruvian Amazon to enroll students from both universities and will grow the number of course offerings and capacity as the project develops. The second layer to the project involves the introduction of study opportunities for UNAP students at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.


Notre Dame of Maryland University, Maryland, United States
Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazón, Lima, Peru

Agua/Water = Vida/Life

With a shared Catholic identity and core mission to educate women to be leaders and positive change agents in the world, Notre Dame of Maryland University and Universidad Femenina del Sagrado Corazón propose a reciprocal exchange program built to educate students on water, it’s usage and conservation, and to encourage knowledge and understanding of culture and tradition. Both universities experience the benefits and challenges of being located in coastal cities and recognize the necessity of ensuring a clean and secure water supply in a time of climate change, industrialization, and depletion of natural resources. Students will gain a multidimensional understanding of water through environmental, political, and economic lenses while directly comparing and contrasting challenges in both locations and engage in hands-on service learning.


Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, United States
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima, Peru

Cross-cultural Engagement and STEM Program

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) propose a new summer exchange program focusing on Global Engineering Culture and Society, offering students the opportunity to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of culture, language, and engineering on a global scale. Penn State and UNI aim to increase student mobility and improve student retention and graduation rates, specifically among minority and low-income students, recognizing the crucial role that study abroad plays in student success. Students participating in the program will develop important competencies in research, collaboration, and cultural awareness to prepare them for success in completing their studies and pursuing future opportunities internationally.


Truckee Meadows Community College, Nevada, United States
SENATI – Servicio Nacional de Adiestramiento de Trabajo Industrial, Lima, Peru

TMCC – SENATI International Student Exchange Program

A new partnership between Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) and SENATI will allow four students and one faculty member from SENATI to participate in a month-long customized training program provided by TMCC’s Applied Technology Center Staff in the summer of 2018. TMCC will draw on its existing connections to Panasonic Energy of North America and TESLA, Inc. to equip students with advanced manufacturing skills provided in the Panasonic Pathway (P3) course modules. The partnership between TMCC and SENATI will give opportunities to study abroad to underrepresented students, such as first-generation, low-income, minority, and underserved populations.


Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, Lima, Peru
Xavier University, Ohio, United States

Building Just Communities through EnvironmentallySustainable and Innovative Practices

Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (UARM) and Xavier University (XU) will be building on their existing relationship and previous collaborations to create an ongoing program for students from both universities to engage in cultural and academic exchange by studying abroad and by acting as hosts at their home university. Students will focus on water preservation, conservation, and sustainable practices to compare the experiences of Cincinnati to Lima, both of which experience challenges and offer unique solutions to environmental sustainability. In Cincinnati, XU students will welcome UARM students through a 14-day immersion at XU; in Lima, UARM students will accompany XU students for the first half of their semester at UARM. Students will act as cultural liaisons and together will advance their understandings of environmental sustainability and innovative practices.


Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología, Lima, Peru
Harvard University, Massachusetts, United States;
Universidad Nacional Amazonica de Madre de Dios, Peru

Collaborative Effort Extension UTEC – SEAS: Impact of Informal Mining on the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest

Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) plans to extend it’s collaboration with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Harvard University (SEAS) focused on assessing the impacts of informal and illegal mining in the Peruvian amazon basin and introduce a new collaboration with Universidad Nacional Amazonica de Madre de Dios, a rural university located in the Peruvian rainforest. Students from all three institutions will have the opportunity to assess the problems caused by the mining and develop and implement solutions to the issues they identify. The program, which has grown from a four-week program to span over eight months, will begin with the participation of five students from each university who will build, implement, and test a prototype. The program seeks to impact program participants by offering a unique opportunity to collaborate with other students and work within communities directly affected by informal mining to offer solutions and build long-lasting relationships.


Universidad Mayor Nacional de San Marcos, Lima, Peru
University of Washington, Washington, United States

InterACTION Labs: An Interdisciplinary Service Learning Exchange Program

Universidad Mayor Nacional de San Marcos (UNMSM) presents a new interdisciplinary service learning exchange program—InterACTION Labs— building on its existing collaborative relationship with the University of Washington (UW) that will allow students and faculty to assess and address health disparities affecting the informal floating community of Claverito, in Iquitos, Peru. The program promotes an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas by engaging students from academic fields traditionally underrepresented in global health. Peruvian students participating in the program will be encouraged to travel to Seattle for skills training, cross cultural exchange of ideas and technology transfer, fostering the international mobility of students from both participating institutions. Participation in the program is anticipated to increase as the opportunity to impact human and animal health, environmental resilience, and social equity attracts students across disciplines from both universities.


Universidad Nacional Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza, Chachapoyas, Peru
University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire, United States

High-Altitude Agriculture: Sustainable Crop ProductionUnder Plastic Tunnels in the Andes

Universidad Nacional Toribio Rodríguez de Mendoza (UNTRM) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) present a new partnership encouraging the marginalized students from the Andean and Amazonian regions to develop theoretical-practical skills in crop management and improve their language skills in English and Spanish. The partnership will allow for a valuable exchange of culture and research, opening the opportunity for both student and faculty exchange to share and develop knowledge and understanding of Andean crop physiology and genetic improvement. The first research program will focus on crop production under plastic tunnels and will lead to additional research projects and greater mobility of students and faculty as this new partnership takes shape.


University of Central Florida, Florida, United States
Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima, Peru

Internationalization Program for STEM-Students through Learning and Research Experiences

The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) will be partnering to bring research opportunities to STEM students from low-income backgrounds in Peru and the U.S. This partnership will enable students from both participating universities to pursue research at laboratories internationally in projects not available at their home institutions, such as chemical sensors, renewable energy sources, and environmental science. UCF and UNI commit to breaking barriers caused by language and lack of economic resources and will introduce a long-term program as a pathway between universities in Peru and the U.S., enabling underrepresented students to develop skills in research, language, and cultural and scientific competencies.


University of Northern Iowa, Iowa, United States
Universidad de Piura, Piura, Peru

Immersion in Environmental Education

The University Northern Iowa (UNI) and Universidad de Piura (UDEP) will be implementing a new study abroad opportunity for pre-service teachers focused on providing environmental education and English language training to Peru’s future teachers. Students from UDEP’s Beca Vocación de Maestro program are the target participants for the study abroad opportunity, enabling students coming from disadvantaged economic backgrounds to work towards their degrees with study abroad experience. The program will begin with the participation of ten students, beginning with three weeks of online instruction prior to two weeks of immersion on UNIs campus, and concluding with an additional three weeks of online instruction. By the end of the program, all participants will receive the necessary training to become certified in the GLOBE program and will be connected to the GLOBE representative in Peru.


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia, United States
Universidad de Piura, Piura, Peru

Let’s Design and Evaluate Environmental and Education Policy in the Field: Insights from Behavioral Economics, Field Experiments and Randomized Control Trials

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) will be expanding on its existing partnership with Universidad de Piura (UDEP) to reach low-income and underserved students from rural communities in the US and Peru and bring them into contact with language and intercultural learning while enhancing their global knowledge of STEM subjects. Virginia Tech and UDEP have joined their strengths to implement an innovative program that will provide students at both campuses with key insights from behavioral economics and experimental economics related to the design and field evaluation of environmental, resource management, technology adoption, and educational policy in rural communities. The multiplicity of themes interlinked in this program will provide students with a multidimensional understanding of the issues that rural communities face as they participate in coursework and fieldwork at their home institutions and through studying abroad.


Western Washington University, Washington, United States
Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Lima, Peru

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Education in the US North Cascades and Peruvian Andes

Western Washington University (WWU) and Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (UNALM) have a long-term research and education collaboration.  With this grant, ten Peruvian students will study at WWU for a quarter-long exchange where students will study Conservation of Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Management and develop their English skills. The program seeks to improve access to study abroad for underrepresented groups including women, native Quechua speakers, and rural students and will increase professional preparation for Peruvian students through service learning as they work in U.S. National Parks and Forests to collect environmental data. Following the completion of the program, students will apply their experiences in laboratories, continue research, influence future program participants – which will increase the number of students from both WWU and UNLAM pursuing education abroad.


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Since January 2014, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the dynamic public-private sector partnership  between the U.S. Department of State, Embassies, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, and foundations working together to stimulate connectivity and collaboration between higher education networks throughout the Americas.

The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to team up with universities and higher education institutions in the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create new partnerships to increase student exchange and training programs and opportunities.  Innovation Fund grants build institutional capacity, increase student mobility, strengthen regional education cooperation, and contribute to workforce development in the Americas.  To date, the Innovation Fund has awarded 147 grants to teams of 288 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region, and a total of 38 U.S. states benefit from Innovation Fund grant partnerships.  Over 1,750 higher education institutions form part of the Innovation Network – with 1,000 in the United States.

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC.   www.partners.net or @partnersamerica.

With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education programming and policy.  www.nafsa.org or @NAFSA and www.connectingourworld.org or @ConnectOurWorld.

CAF Development Bank of Latin America is a development bank created in 1970, made up by 19 countries—17 in Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal—as well as 14 private banks in the region. It promotes sustainable development through its lending, and support in the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of Latin America. CAF is also well known for its work in equity and social inclusion, environment, workforce development and climate change among other areas.

Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2016 revenues of more than $10 billion. The Sempra Energy companies’ more than 16,000 employees serve approximately 32 million consumers worldwide.


Press contact: Melissa Golladay |  mgolladay@partners.net