IREX receives grant from the Stevens Initiative to implement virtual exchange between college students in Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Jordan
The Stevens Initiative today announced the award of a 1.5-year grant to IREX, one of 13 new grants funded through an international competition to use online, collaborative learning to increase cross-cultural understanding and equip young people with the skills needed to thrive in a 21st century economy.
IREX is among the second cohort of virtual exchange programs to be funded by the Stevens Initiative, an international effort to build career and global competence skills for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange: online, international, and collaborative learning. The Initiative honors the legacy of Ambassador Chris Stevens, who devoted his life to building bridges between people from different cultures.
The new programs will expand the Initiative’s reach by approximately 30,000 students in 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa and 31 American states.
Under the Stevens Initiative, IREX’s Global Solutions Program will use virtual exchange to support workforce development in the United States and Jordan. During the program, postsecondary students from the United States and Jordan will work together to create innovative solutions to global challenges facing the hospitality field. The program improves global citizenship, problem-solving, and job skills. Semifinalist teams will then be invited to pitch their innovations at a summit in Washington, DC.
“With the support of the Stevens Initiative, young people from the United States, the Middle East, and North Africa are connecting and learning together—gaining important skills while learning about global cultures,” said Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of Policy and Public Programs of the Aspen Institute. “We look forward to working with IREX to scale the Initiative to community colleges and universities in Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and across Jordan.”
The Initiative’s second grant competition was open to US and MENA educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. It prioritized virtual exchange projects that focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); projects that are rooted in project-based learning; projects that support the education of refugees across the MENA region; and projects that propose in-person exchange to complement the virtual learning experience.
“Global industry challenges require collaboration across borders. Through virtual exchange, Global Solutions pairs US and Jordan postsecondary students together to solve authentic, real-world challenges while developing much needed 21st century skills,” said IREX Associate Vice President for Education Rebecca Bell Meszaros.
The other Stevens Initiative grantees announced today are:
- Al-Quds University
- An-Najah National University
- Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport
- Arizona State University
- Ball State University
- Institute of International Education
- Johns Hopkins University
- Karam Foundation
- Sister Cities International
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan
IREX is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information. With 400 staff and operations in 100 countries, IREX applies a people-centered approach to development—listening to local leaders, identifying organic solutions, and then bringing the resources, training, and expertise to bear that can enable lasting change.
Housed at the Aspen Institute, the Stevens Initiative is a collaboration between the family of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the US Department of State, the Bezos Family Foundation, the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, and Microsoft, Twitter, Vidyo, and LRNG. Visit us at www.stevensinitiative.org.
The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional, and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support US international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit eca.state.gov.
The Bezos Family Foundation supports rigorous, inspired learning environments for young people, from birth through high school, to put their education into action. Through investments in research, public awareness, systems building and programs, the foundation works to elevate the field of education and improve life outcomes for all children.
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.
IREX is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information.