90-day Update on CIEE's Pledge to Do More for Racial Equality and Social Justice

Authored by:
James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

This year, our lives have been impacted by incredible upheaval, including nationwide protests against racial injustices, a global pandemic that has suspended life as we knew it, and a hostile national election cycle that seems to be pulling our nation apart at the seams.

In June 2020, even as we continued to respond to the world’s inability to travel, CIEE made a pledge to take concrete action to advance in measurable ways our mission to advance harmony and peace in our world.

We have shared monthly reports on our progress toward our pledge goals to help more students of color study abroad, to expand our programs and training regarding race and social justice, and to hire more diverse staff at every level of CIEE. In addition, we pledged to use our voice to affect positive change in our world and in our communities.

Here is an update on our efforts over the last 90 days.

CIEE WILL EXPAND OUR EFFORTS TO INCREASE ACCESS FOR STUDENTS FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS

We will  expand our funded scholarship programs that promote access and leadership for Black students and students of color by expanding CIEE’s Frederick Douglass scholarship program in three significant ways:

  1.  Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will now be recruited from all 4,000 U.S. college and universities. Applications for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship will be open on November 1, 2020, with the deadline to submit applications to be part of the fifth cohort being February 14, 2021, Frederick Douglass’ birthday.
  2. Frederick Douglass STEM Scholars and Frederick Douglass Business Scholars will be selected to study climate change in Costa Rica and business in Europe during summer 2021. Additional details on these scholarships, which will begin in summer 2021, will be announced at the CIEE International Education and Exchange Summit, a virtual conference that will be held during International Education Week, November 2020.
  3. The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship will be expanded to High School Students in summer 2021, recognizing outstanding students who demonstrate Frederick Douglass’ spirit of leadership, passion for social justice, and experience agitating for positive change in our world. 

CIEE WILL EXPAND PROGRAMMING TO ADDRESS CONTEMPORARY ISSUES OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY

CIEE’s Academic Affairs and Diversity and Inclusion team have developed a monthly workshop that will be extended to all CIEE global staff focusing on contemporary issues of social justice and diversity, including a review of issues related to race and social justice experienced by students on our programs, as well as a review of trends on U.S. college campuses.

Also, our most popular course, Intercultural Communication and Leadership, which is taken by 750 students around the world each year, is receiving a comprehensive update to its curriculum to include a focus on contemporary issues impacting our students, faculty, and staff.

CIEE’s Academic Affairs team is developing new programs that focus on issues of social justice and equality, including critical issues like public policy and the economics of social mobility or immobility; the history and socioeconomic impact of slavery; and comparative community policing and best practices for social harmony and equality.

CIEE WILL EXPAND RECRUITMENT OF DIVERSE STAFF AT ALL LEVELS OF THE ORGANIZATION

We have begun to rehire staff for certain programs and 80% of recently hired staff at CIEE were persons of color. We will continue to seek out highly qualified diverse staff as we grow.

CIEE WILL USE OUR VOICE

In July 2020, we paused all paid Facebook and Instagram advertising to protest the platforms’ failure to adequately push back on hate and discrimination.

In September 2020, we launched a social media campaign featuring only images that highlight students of color. We hope this image-rich campaign will inspire more students of color to study abroad, and more leaders in study abroad to hire and promote students of color.

On November 3, 2020, CIEE will offer all U.S. staff the day off to allow them to vote in the national election. 

Since our founding in 1947, CIEE has responded to the world’s most challenging points of tension. We have done that with input and advice from our partners and our employees. We continue to need your help and welcome your ideas, suggestions, and reflections. Thank you, in advance, for helping on this important journey.

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