Global Solutions

Global Solutions

Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge is a virtual exchange initiative that supports career readiness in the U.S., Iraq, and Jordan. Community college students from the U.S.and university students from Iraq and Jordan team up to solve global challenges facing the business sector across industries. The program improves global citizenship, strengthens problem-solving skills, and develops enduring connections, while enhancing students’ job skills through online collaboration.

The challenge is funded by the Stevens Initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute. It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

Photo of two young women in Global Solutions shirts. They are looking at a laptop. Other participants are working in the background.

Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge is a virtual exchange initiative that supports career readiness in the U.S., Iraq, and Jordan. Community college students from the U.S.and university students from Iraq and Jordan team up to solve global challenges facing the business sector across industries. The program improves global citizenship, strengthens problem-solving skills, and develops enduring connections, while enhancing students’ job skills through online collaboration.

The challenge is funded by the Stevens Initiative, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute. It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

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Partners

U.S. Flag, U.S. Department of State Seal, The Aspen Institute, Stevens Initiative logos

Academic partners: Al Balqa Applied University, Erbil Polytechnic University, Hillsborough Community College, Khawarizmi Technical University College, Kirkwood Community College, Lord Fairfax Community College, Luminus Technical University College, Montgomery Community College, Northampton Community College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Northern Virginia Community College, Sulaimani Polytechnic University, and University of Anbar.

About the Program

Quick Facts

  • 84% of the 315 Global Solutions students had never participated in a virtual exchange prior to the challenge.
  • 100% of the 15 participating binational teams completed the program.
  • 91% of students indicated increased confidence in socializing with people from other countries.
  • 88% of students felt the challenge was beneficial to their future career.
  • 45% of participants indicated that they knew more about the culture of their binational partners as a result of the program, a 65% increase for the U.S. participants.
  • 82% of participants agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I feel more globally competent because of the Global Solutions Program.” 

Goals

  • Develop faculty skills in supporting innovation and global citizenship for their students.
  • Boost students’ innovation, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills while increasing their respect for diversity, better preparing them for the modern workforce.
  • Develop enduring connections between community colleges in the U.S. and colleges and universities in Iraq and Jordan based on meaningful collaboration and virtual exchange.
  • Develop student enthusiasm and investment in cross-cultural communication and technology.
Global Solutions prepared me to become the president of Kirkwood's American Hotel & Lodging Association Student Chapter and... it helped me land a job as a front office manager at Home2 Suites. Cassandra Pantel, student at Kirkwood Community College, Iowa

Project Activities

  • Facilitator training workshop: Participating faculty from community colleges in the U.S. and colleges and universities in Jordan and Iraq learn how to facilitate the challenge’s curriculum. Faculty receive training on inclusive teaching strategies, design thinking, cross-cultural collaboration, and technology.
  • Binational virtual competition: Facilitators put together gender-balanced teams to pair up with their binational partner over a 10-week period. Each team is guided by the provided curriculum to create a sustainable solution to their selected sustainability problem, inspired by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Teams work together to research, brainstorm, design, test, and pitch their innovative solution.
  • Global Solutions curriculum: IREX developed a curriculum that teaches students to innovate and solve problems, and also facilitates connections between people of different backgrounds. Teams collaborate over the course of a design challenge to create solutions to real-world problems. The curriculum has activities that take place online in real-time as well as away from the computer. All activities prompt regular sharing and ideation between binational partners.
  • Virtual Global Business Expo and Career Fair: Binational teams from the United States and Jordan or the United States and Iraq create innovative solutions as part of the Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge. Solutions are displayed at the Virtual Global Business Expo and Career Fair. Explore last year’s top innovations »

People

About the Stevens Initiative

The Stevens Initiative is an international effort to build global competence and career-readiness skills for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa while growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange: online, international, and collaborative learning. The Stevens Initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute. It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. For further information, please visit http://www.stevensinitiative.org/.

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