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ICETEX and U.S. Department of State-Sponsored Competition Selects Eleven Higher Education Partnerships between the United States and Colombia  

WASHINGTON, DC: MAY 29, 2018 – The U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators are pleased to announce new Innovation Fund grant winning teams sponsored by the Colombian Institute of Educational Loans and Studies Abroad (ICETEX) and the U.S. Department of State.  

The Innovation Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to team up with higher education institutions in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada to create dynamic partnerships that will increase student exchange and training opportunities throughout the Americas.  Innovation Fund partnerships construct bridges of connectivity and increase opportunities for students to gain new skills, work in teams, and become better prepared for the global workforce. 

To date since January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 168 grants to 325 teams of higher education institutions from 25 countries and 41 U.S. states.  Colombia now ranks second in this signature hemispheric-wide education initiative:  a total of 39 higher education teams from 23 U.S. states and 14 Colombian states are working together to implement Innovation Fund partnerships and provide more student exchange and training programs in a variety of academic fields. 

This is the first time that ICETEX has sponsored an Innovation Fund grant competition in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Bogota.  The eleven new higher education partnerships announced today between 34 higher education institutions in the United States and Colombia will support new study abroad and training opportunities related to peacebuilding in Colombia. 

ICETEX, within the framework of its internationalization policy and its International Relations office, generates strategic alliances worldwide to raise the quality of higher education and promote Colombia as an academic destination. Taking into account the Colombian context, ICETEX support this “Rural Education for Peace” grant competition with special focus in fields of study such as rural education for peace, peacebuilding, technological development, and applied engineering to support agro-industry, ecotourism, territorial marketing, and sustainable entrepreneurship. 

Innovation Fund grant awards are typically $25,000 each, with grant-winning teams contributing additional resources on average of 1.5 times more to leverage their award and implement sustainable student training programs between the United States and in the rest of the Western Hemisphere. 

Selected Partnership in this Colombia-U.S. Innovation Fund Grant competition are: 

Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito, Bogotá, Colombia 

Boston University, Massachusetts, United States 

Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, Bogotá, Colombia 

Bilateral U.S.-Colombia Network for Research and Educational Exchange: 

Affordable Assistive Technology for Rural and Peace Development 

The Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito, in partnership with Boston University and Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, will implement a bilateral exchange program to increase student mobility between the U.S. and Colombia. Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors from each of the partner institutions will collaboratively develop and create low-cost robotic technology to serve urban and rural communities, first in Colombia and the U.S., and eventually throughout the world. 


George Mason University, Virginia, United States 

Universidad Industrial de Santander, Santander, Colombia 

Business for Peace and a Sustainable World: 

Beekeeping, Social Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment 

George Mason University (GMU) will partner with the Universidad Industrial de Santander to apply an experiential, business-oriented, multidisciplinary approach to explore sustainable social entrepreneurship and community-driven development. Students from each university will collaborate with GMU’s Honey Bee Initiative’s Global Outreach program in a credit-bearing course that will help students better understand and evaluate social problems and the role of community-driven social enterprise in creating innovative and sustainable solutions. 


Kent State University, Ohio, United States 

Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia 

Peacebuilding in Colombia Collaborative 

Kent State University (KSU) and Universidad del Rosario (UR) will create a program that will enable students to engage in experiential learning in peacebuilding and peace education abroad. KSU students will take a semester-long, three credit-hour course at their home university to learn about the background on the peace process and ongoing challenges in Colombia, followed by travel to Colombia to work directly with UR students on fieldwork and other activities to facilitate dialogue about peacebuilding. 


Northeastern Illinois University, Illinois, United States 

Universidad del Atlántico, Atlántico, Colombia 

Universidad Simón Bolívar, Atlántico, Colombia   

Student Mobility Partnership: the United States and Colombia 

Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), along with Universidad del Atlántico and Universidad Simón Bolivar, will increase mobility, especially among underrepresented student populations by collaborating on a new student exchange models. NEIU students will travel to the partner country to learn about peace education projects involving youth in Colombia, while Colombian students will travel to the U.S. to learn about community organizations in Chicago that address youth violence. 


Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, United States 

Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, Valle del Cauca, Colombia 

Corporación Universitaria Comfacauca, Cauca, Colombia 

Building Social Innovation and Sustainable Entrepreneurship Capacity Through Integrated International Design Project Experiences and Increased Mobility of Students Between Colombia and the US 

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Universidad Autónoma de Occidente (UAO), and Corporación Universitaria Comfacauca (UniComfacauca) will establish a project-based engineering program to provide students with product development skills. RIT graduate students will work collaboratively with UAO and UniComfacauca students to design a product architecture proposal, build and test the design, then implement their final solution in Colombia. 

Universidad de La Salle, Bogotá, Colombia 

North Carolina State University, North Carolina, United States 

Purdue University, Indiana, United States 

Cornell University, New York, United States 

Texas State University, Texas, United States 

Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administración, Bogotá, Colombia 

Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia 

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia 

Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios, Bogotá, Colombia 

Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, Bogotá, Colombia 

Universidad del Tolima, Tolima, Colombia 

Universidad de Santander, Santander, Colombia 


Universidad de La Salle will lead a network of higher educational institutions in Colombia and the U.S. to create the Women4Peace project. This interdisciplinary project will develop leadership and knowledge of undergraduate women studying technology, engineering, agricultural, social, economic, and administrative sciences through development projects that address peace and sustainability in rural areas throughout Colombia. Students will travel to the partner country to participate in training, workshops, and academic activities, and collaboratively formulate and implement project proposals focused on peacebuilding efforts in Colombia. 


Universidad del Rosario, Colombia 

New York University, New York, United States 

Universidad Popular del Cesar, Cesar, Colombia 

The Indigenous Peace-Strengthening Program (IPSP) Amazonas and Sierra Nevada 

Universidad del Rosario will work with New York University (NYU), Universidad Popular del Cesar, as well as several local community partners to implement an Indigenous Peace-Strengthening Program (IPSP), which is designed to increase the peace-making capacity of indigenous grassroots leaders in the Sierra Nevada and the Amazon regions of Colombia. NYU students and researchers will travel to Colombia to learn about post-peace accords challenges within indigenous communities, while Colombian students will travel to New York City to participate in the Permanent Forum of the United Nations on Indigenous Issues. 


Universidad EAN, Bogota, Colombia 

Portland State University, Oregon, United States 

Universidad Antonio de Nariño, Bogotá, Colombia 

The Social Innovation Certificate: A Sustainable Entrepreneurship Tool for 

Economic Empowerment in Post-Conflict Colombia 

Universidad EAN, in collaboration with Portland State University and Universidad Antonio de Nariño, will create the Social Innovation Certificate program, which will draw the participation of students from diverse backgrounds in order to broaden discussions regarding social innovation in rural Colombian communities. 


Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Bogotá, Colombia 

The Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania, United States 

Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina, Bogotá, Colombia   

Academic Mobility Program for Scientific Knowledge Transfer to Rural Communities for Peace Building 

Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano, the Pennsylvania State University, and Fundación Universitaria del Área Andina will conduct an international academic exchange program in order to establish sustainable partnerships between the three universities and to promote scientific knowledge transfer among Colombian scientific research groups and U.S. students. This program aims to go beyond academic research to engage in dialogue with vulnerable communities and utilize their local knowledge in the post-conflict peacebuilding process. 


Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar, Cartagena, Colombia 

Cornell University, New York, United States 

Corporación Universitaria del Caribe, Sucre, Colombia 

Growing Food, Harvesting Peace   

Universidad Tecnológica de Bolivar will partner with Cornell University and Corporación Universitaria del Caribe to build a partnership for research and instruction in order for students from each institution to build global competencies and to better understand the challenges involved with local and regional food systems in different socio-economic contexts. Students, faculty, and small food producers and distributors will travel between Colombia and the U.S. for a series of activities designed to exchange knowledge, experiences, methods, and research initiatives regarding the role of food systems in rural peacebuilding. 

University of San Diego, California, United States 

Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios, Bogotá, Colombia 

Social Innovation and Peace 

The University of San Diego and Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios aim to build opportunities for students to explore peacebuilding and social innovation work through the creation of a new U.S.-Colombia bi-directional exchange program. This partnership will allow Colombian students to participate in the year-long Global Social Innovation Challenge at USD, and for U.S. students to travel to Colombia to learn about social innovation and peacebuilding. 

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The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector partnership between the U.S. Department of State, U.S. 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 higher education institutions in the rest of the Western Hemisphere to work together to provide 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 since January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 168 grants to teams of 325 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region, and a total of 41 U.S. states benefit from Innovation Fund partnerships.  Over 1,750 higher education institutions form part of the Innovation Network – with 1,000 universities and colleges 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. Visit the Partners website at www.partners.net, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.                                                                                  

With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education programming and policy.  For more information about NAFSA, visit  www.nafsa.org or follow NAFSA on Twitter and visit www.connectingourworld.org or follow Connect our World on Twitter. 

ICETEX is a Colombian public entity that promotes higher education through the granting of educational loans and its collection, with own resources or from third parties, populations with few economic resources and good academic performance. Since its creation, it has been the leading entity in the promotion of the internationalization of the higher education system. Through its Cooperation Policy, ICETEX has generated opportunities for Colombians abroad through offering scholarships, and for foreigners in Colombia through different international mobility programs, such as the Pacific Alliance mobility platform, the Beca Colombia (Grad School Scholarships for foreigners in Colombia) or Fellows Colombia (Expert and Academic Staff incoming mobility). 

Today, ICETEX leads this educational cooperation policy, through which it has enabled outstanding national cooperation through programs such as Colombia Científica and has co-financed projects aimed to strengthen Colombia’s higher education system with national and international partners, such as the current Colombia-U.S. Rural Education for Peace Competition. For more information about ICETEX, visit www.icetex.gov.co. 

Press contact: Jason Kazi |  jkazi@partners.net