More exchange program alumni than ever are fostering change in their home communities as a result of their international exchange experiences. The U.S. Department of State received over 1,300 eligible proposals – 30% more than last year! – to the 2018 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) for grants to enable alumni to establish trainings, awareness campaigns, and leadership and empowerment programs. Alumni teams from all over the world, from Afghanistan to Zambia, are connecting, building networks, and investing in their communities through AEIF.
Regardless of the type or length of their exchange – academic or professional, short or long term -- alumni showed strong interest in AEIF. International Visitor Leadership Program alumni submitted the most proposals (248), followed by Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni (146), and alumni from Young African Leadership Initiative Regional Leadership Centers (95). Alumni of these ECA programs submitted 30 or more proposals:
- Fulbright Student Program (84)
- Professional Fellows (59)
- Fulbright Visiting Scholars Program (52)
- Study of the U.S. Institutes (41)
- Young African Leaders Initiative (36)
- Global UGRAD (30)
In 26 countries, alumni submitted more than 15 eligible proposals. Regionally, Sub-Saharan Africa had the most submissions at 430, followed by Europe and Eurasia with 225, and South and Central Asia with 214.
Topics of Interest
The most popular project theme, with 321 proposals was empowering women and girls. Over 300 focused either on promoting inclusion and educational opportunity or building civic participation, good governance, and resilient communities. 205 alumni teams proposed activities to fostering economic prosperity, and 185 teams seek to advance science, technology, health, and innovation.
In the coming months, the State Department will review and evaluate these projects, and 2018 AEIF winners will be announced in summer 2018. Follow #AEIF2018 and @ExchangeAlumni on social media for updates. Thanks to our great alumni community for making this year’s competition such a success, and good luck!