Today, the Stevens Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, announced six new grants to schools and organizations to implement virtual exchange programs for students at educational institutions ranging from middle school through the university level. The Initiative uses online, collaborative learning to increase cross-cultural understanding and equip young people with the skills needed to thrive in a 21st century economy.
Through the work of these new programs, the Stevens Initiative will expand its reach to nearly 40,000 students in 15 MENA countries and the Palestinian Territories, and in 44 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC. Programs will begin this April and will continue through the summer of 2021.
This is the third round of grants awarded by the Stevens Initiative. Programs include:
- Global Nomads Group (GNG): Campfire, GNG’s flagship program, focuses on virtual storytelling – an interdisciplinary and powerful vehicle for youth to build empathy, self-awareness, and global understanding.
- International Research & Exchanges Board, Inc. (IREX): The Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge (GSSC), implemented by IREX, connects students in the United States, Jordan, and Iraq to virtually collaborate on a sustainable solution to a contemporary business challenge.
- Soliya: Soliya’s Connect Global will bring together college-aged youth in the United States and in the Middle East and North Africa for online, face-to-face dialogue.
- William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI): Implemented by WDI, Business & Culture: A Virtual Practicum is a classroom-to-classroom, action-learning course on international business cultures that brings together students from Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, and the U.S.
- World Learning: The Experiment Digital, implemented by World Learning, is a two-month summer virtual exchange program that helps high school-aged youth become more civically engaged by empowering them to plan and execute a community service project.
- World Learning: The NextGen Coders Network (NGCN) is a virtual exchange implemented by World Learning that will bring together university students and young professionals to create solutions to their countries’ greatest challenges using code.
The Stevens Initiative was launched in 2015 to continue the legacy of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and provides an opportunity for American youth to connect with students in the Middle East and North Africa. The program builds career skills and enhances global knowledge through virtual exchanges.