NAFSA Honors Marlene M. Johnson by Funding Higher Education Partnerships between the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces New Grant Winning Institutions
NAFSA Honors Marlene M. Johnson by Funding Higher Education Partnerships
between the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean

Los Angeles, California, May 31: The U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced the latest 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant winners sponsored by NAFSA and CAF Development Bank of Latin America in honor of NAFSA’s retired Executive Director and CEO Marlene Johnson. Johnson’s public policy leadership resulted in NAFSA becoming a founding partner in the initiative, and this donation recognizes Johnson’s leadership in increasing and diversifying study abroad and her commitment to strengthening relations within the Americas through international education.

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas—the leading education initiative in the Western Hemisphere—is to increase the annual number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000 and bring 100,000 students to the United States by 2020. Innovation Fund grants fuel partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create new student exchange and training programs. Innovation Fund grants build institutional capacity, increase student mobility, provide more student exchange opportunities and enhance regional education cooperation in the Americas.

This is the first Innovation Fund grant competition sponsored by NAFSA and CAF and will facilitate 14 new higher education partnerships between the United States, Central America and the Caribbean. These grants will provide new exchange and training opportunities for students in agriculture & food security, business, education, environment, language & culture, media communications, public health, technology and tourism.

“NAFSA is delighted to honor Marlene’s remarkable career in international education by doing our part to help strengthen vital partnerships between academic institutions in the Western Hemisphere,” stated NAFSA Executive Director and CEO, Esther D. Brimmer. “We have full confidence that these programs will help students gain the global competencies they need to reach across borders and become globally engaged leaders.”

The 14 Innovation Fund grants announced today between higher education institutions in the United States, Central America, and the Caribbean will provide groundbreaking exchange programs that allow students to work in teams, gain technical skills, and become more competent for the 21st century workforce. Innovation Fund grants are up to $25,000 each, and grant-winning teams contribute additional resources to leverage and implement sustainable short-term study abroad programs in the Western Hemisphere.
New Innovation Fund grants sponsored by NAFSA and CAF will be awarded to:

College of Staten Island, CUNY, New York, United States
Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas “Enrique José Varona”, Cuba
The History and Pedagogy of Cuban Education
The College of Staten Island will broaden and enhance its study abroad program with Universidad de Ciencias Pedagógicas “Enrique José Varona” by creating a unique intercultural student exchange program that will focus on the history and pedagogy of the Cuban educational system. This short-term program will enable students and faculty from the partnering institutions to work alongside one another and integrate real-world observations and interactions in Cuban K-12 schools among the teachers and children. Students will learn about the history of Cuban education and the pedagogy of teaching in Cuba and will have direct observational knowledge of techniques employed by Cuban educators along with theoretical knowledge from seminars.

Lehman College, CUNY, New York, United States
Universidad de Sancti Spíritus “José Martíi Pérez”, Cuba
Universidad de Camagüey “Ignacio Agramonte Loynaz”, Cuba
Lehman in the Provinces: Strategic and Intentional Academic Partnerships with Cuban Universities
Lehman College is partnering with Universidad de Sancti Spíritus and Universidad de Camagüey to pilot an initiative that will allow faculty to develop three undergraduate courses at the Cuban institutions in three different disciplines with the objective of exploring new pedagogical approaches in English as a second language, math and health science. The courses will include short-term, credit-bearing experiences abroad within a semester-long collaborative international experience. The program will transform how global engagement is perceived on campus and will provide students from Lehman College the opportunity to take courses in Cuba.

Michigan State University, Michigan, United States
Universidad de La Habana, Cuba
Escuela Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuba
Marian University, Indiana, United States
Meharry Medical College, Tennessee, U.S.
Western Michigan University, Michigan, U.S.
One Health in Cuba
 Michigan State University, in partnership with Universidad de La Habana, is redesigning their existing health course to integrate medical, nursing and veterinary students so that an interdisciplinary team will be able to work collaboratively in a health care environment. Through the grant, Michigan State University will create additional capacity on their campus as well as build the capacity of its U.S. partners, Marian University, Meharry Medical College and Western Michigan College, so that they can develop their own interdisciplinary courses and international programs to Cuba through several developmental workshops at MSU. The integration of the One Health discipline and working with students from other universities will prepare faculty from the partnering institutions to address cultural and societal issues collaboratively instead of through linear decision-making.

Mississippi State University, Mississippi, United States
University of The Bahamas, The Bahamas
University of West Indies, Open Campus, St. Kitts & Nevis
Study Abroad for Coastal Science and Climate Sciences
Mississippi State University (MSU), with the University of the Bahamas and the University of West Indies, Open Campus, will develop a bilateral exchange study abroad program that advances coastal and climate sciences. The partnership will enhance existing MSU faculty-led study abroad programs, establish the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network—a climate citizen science program—and create pathways for students to gain deeper understanding of global climate and marine environmental changes and how those processes affect coastal communities.

New York Institute of Technology, New York, United States
Instituto Tecnológico de las Americas, Dominican Republic
Innovation Across Borders
The New York Institute of Technology and Instituto Tecnológico de las Americas will create a study abroad program wherein student collaboration will be structured around joint design challenges completed by students at both institutions. The program will challenge students to become entrepreneurs and allow them to gain skills to work as members of multicultural teams, while learning to collaborate across cultures and compete in global markets. The joint projects will accelerate students’ commercial and social ventures and motivate them to develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. Through the program, students will also build networks, linkages and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures.

University of Central Florida, Florida, United States
Universidad de Cienfuegos, Cuba
A Study Abroad Project for Multimedia Production and Communication Studies
The University of Central Florida will develop an innovative, multimedia production and bilingual communications study abroad program in collaboration with faculty and students at the Universidad de Cienfuegos. This program will provide students at both institutions an opportunity to work together during a six-week summer session and to have hands-on experience with multimedia production, communication and collaboration in an international setting. Students from the partnering institutions will collaborate in-person and virtually to produce a bilingual multimedia project, and through additional course activities, further their knowledge of the history and context of radio, television and the internet in Cuba while developing their Spanish language skills.

University of Connecticut, Connecticut, United States
Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Cuba
Universidad Agraria de La Habana, Cuba
Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Agrícolas, Cuba
Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria, Cuba
U.S.-Cuba Student Mobility Program Focused on Food Production and Food Security
The University of Connecticut, with Instituto of Ciencia Animal, Universidad Agraria de La Habana, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Agrícolas and Centro Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria, will create a new program for students to undertake field-based research and advance their knowledge and bi-cultural collaboration in the economic, environmental and societal issues that impact agriculture production and food security in the United States and Cuba. While in Cuba, U.S. students will learn about the evolution of food systems and meet with farmers, scientists, government officials, community leaders, and urban agriculture practitioners to learn about the history of and future vision for food production and food security. Similarly, Cuban graduate students and faculty will be exposed to the management of national and local natural resources, and the challenges, sustainability, and economy of agriculture production systems.

University of Northern Iowa, Iowa, United States
Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Language, Culture & Sustainability
The University of Northern Iowa, in partnership with Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, will create a new immersion experience opportunity for their students to gain language skills, cultural competence, and literacy on the topic of culture and sustainability across disciplines. Through the program, students from the partnering institutions will not only engage in social and language exchange but also in hands-on activities and experiences pertaining to sustainability. Costa Rican students will travel to Iowa to participate in a Sustainability Immersion Program while integrating existing courses from their home institution, Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, while U.S. students will travel to Costa Rica to complete a capstone course that will help them develop an understanding of how individuals and groups impact the environment through tourism and campus life.

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
Centro de Estudios Martianos, Cuba
Universidad de La Habana, Cuba
UMass Public Health in Cuba
In collaboration with the Centro Estudios Martianos and Universidad de La Habana, the University of Massachusetts Amherst will pilot a program in public health where students learn about the public health system of Cuba and adapt its lessons to meet public health challenges in the United States .The program will influence study abroad programming on campus through various innovations, such as: its model of faculty rotation through intensive block scheduling, which allows for U.S. faculty to teach carefully adapted three-week modules of their existing semester classes; the integration of non-traditional majors and areas of study, including engineering and nursing; and a required Spanish for Healthcare Professionals course.

University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, United States
Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala
Understanding Health Determinants of Diabetes in Ethnic Minority Communities: A Student Exchange Experience Using a Mixed Methods Research Approach
The University of Pennsylvania and Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala will expand their Guatemala Health Initiative for their students to participate in researching the growing epidemic of diabetes in the United States and Guatemala. The program is designed to be an innovative and balanced bilateral exchange of students to learn public health community-based research skills in interdisciplinary teams with a focus on mixed methods approaches. Students from the partnering institutions will attend a number of workshops in Philadelphia and receive field-based training in Guatemala to further their knowledge of the epidemic of diabetes in ethnic minority communities in Guatemala and in local communities in West Philadelphia.

University of Wisconsin—Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala
Development of a Proposed Study Abroad Program on Sustainable Food Systems
The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Universidad Rafael Landívar are partnering to create a faculty-led course and international internship program for students to participate in service-learning focused on Sustainable Food Systems. The course will incorporate the development of service-learning projects that make an impact locally and internationally and provide comparative experiences in which students will have the opportunity to be agents of change at home and abroad. Through a model of learning-by-doing and outdoor classroom activities, students foster and strengthen cooperation with the local community. The program will enable U.S. students to learn cultural competency, review key concepts of sustainable food systems and become informed about Guatemala’s social, economic and environmental issues prior to the travel, and it will provide Guatemalan students the opportunity to visit community-supported farms, food cooperatives, fair trade coffee roasters and UW’s teaching and research farms.

West Virginia University, West Virginia, United States
The University of Trinidad and Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
One Health One World Exchange
West Virginia University and the University of Trinidad and Tobago will expand their interdisciplinary study service exchange program to provide students interested in human health, animal health and the environment to participate in an immersion experience. The initial implementation phase of the program will focus on Animal Science, during which students from both institutions will participate in the hands-on program consisting of field tours, discussions and learning about animal management practices while participating in service-learning activities and working at animal shelters, zoos and environmental organizations. The following phases will focus on developing study abroad experiences for core disciplines such as Human Medicine, Environmental Management, Environmental Sciences and Wildlife Management.

Wilkes University, Pennsylvania, United States
Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, Panama
Bridging the Americas: Wilkes University and the Universidad Tecnológica de Panama Technological Collaborative Study Abroad Program
Wilkes University, together with Universidad Tecnológica de Panama, will create a program to provide environmental engineering students with research-oriented, project-based learning that will promote technological innovation and cultural awareness. The program will focus on technical components, such as using key geospatial technologies and data or learning about drone technology and associated environmental sensors, to prepare students for jobs that require  geospatial skillsets. Students will learn how to apply an interdisciplinary and team approach to both the design and implementation of research projects, enhancing their leadership skills and experiences and advancing them toward successful careers in the global economy.

Saint Augustine’s University, North Carolina, United States
University of Health Sciences Antigua, Antigua & Barbuda
Université Episcopale d’Haïti, Haiti
Project FastTrack: A Model for Developing Study Abroad Programs at Saint Augustine’s University
Saint Augustine’s University will expand its existing bi-directional study abroad programs through a partnership with the University of Health Sciences Antigua, which will focus on collaborative research projects and opportunities in STEM disciplines, and a collaboration with Université Episcopale D’Haïiti’s Bishop Tharp Business and Technology Institute to develop a service-learning program focused on the study of the unique attributes of French/Haitian Creole language and culture. Through the grant, the partnering institutions will devise curriculum, prepare activities and acquire equipment required for the international research component, providing students with the opportunity to gain enrichment from the cultural and linguistic traditions unique to Haiti.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, foundations, regional governments, and Embassies working together to inspire U.S. universities and colleges to team up with universities and technical education institutions in the Western Hemisphere to create student exchange and training opportunities.  Innovation Fund grants build institutional capacity, increase student mobility, stimulate regional education cooperation, and contribute to workforce development.  Since its inception in January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 118 grants to teams of 235 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region. Innovation Fund grant-winning partnerships increase student exchange opportunities and strengthen connectivity between higher education networks throughout the Americas.

Learn more:   www.100kStrongAmericas.org

Follow the Innovation Fund on Twitter and Facebook via #100KStrongAmericas

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.  Learn more: www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica.

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

 

Press Contacts:
Taylor Nelson | tnelson@partners.net, (202) 637-6206
Rebecca Morgan | rebeccam@nafsa.org, (202) 495-2553
Kolbie Blume | kolbieb@nafsa.org, (202) 495-2528