CIEE and Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions Announce $100,000 Scholarship to Expand Global Education for Students of Color

CIEE and The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions (Penn CMSI) today announced scholarship details related to our three-year comprehensive partnership to increase study abroad at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). 

CIEE has pledged 100 percent of all exhibitor fees related to its Annual Conference in 2016, 2017, and 2018 to support study abroad scholarships for students from Minority Serving Institutions. CIEE and CMSI expect the first-year scholarship pool to total at least $50,000. 

Funds historically used to support conference expenses will now be earmarked for the most financially challenged students attending the nation’s nearly 600 Minority Serving Institutions. Each year for the next three years, the scholarship funds will cover 100 percent of program fees and travel costs for 10 students of color from 10 MSIs. Each cohort of 10 students will take part in a summer study abroad program designed to enhance their leadership and intercultural skills in one of three locations: London, England (summer 2017); Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018); and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019).

The scholarship is being named the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship in honor of Frederick Douglass – the African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and international statesman – to highlight the characteristics that today’s young leaders need most: a keen intellect, a strong work ethic, and a global perspective. President Abraham Lincoln called Douglass “one of the most meritorious men, if not the most meritorious man, in the United States.” Of the many impressive chapters of his life, after publishing his international bestselling autobiography in 1845, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” Douglass traveled to London and spent two years traveling and lecturing extensively throughout Britain and Ireland. During this trip, British supporters raised funds to buy his freedom from his American owner and when Douglass returned to America in 1847, he was a free man.

Consistent with that legacy, Frederick Douglass Global Fellows are meritorious men and women who demonstrate high academic achievement and exemplary communication skills, who possess the hallmarks of self-determination, who exhibit characteristics of bold leadership, and who have a history of service to others. In the spirit of one of America’s most powerful intellectuals, communicators, and scholars, Frederick Douglass Global Fellows commit to sharing their experience and intercultural growth with peers and classmates, before, during, and after the fellowship.

To become a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow, each student must be nominated and receive a letter of recommendation from the president of their institution following their first year of college.

The first scholarships will be awarded on November 1, 2016 by Penn’s CMSI, one of the nation’s leaders in elevating the educational contributions of MSIs, increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs, and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. 

"Our partnership with CIEE is an unprecedented effort to move the needle in a serious way around study abroad for students of color, and especially students at Minority Serving Institutions,” said Dr. Marybeth Gasman, education professor and director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions. “Together, we are working to break down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture that prevent far too many students of color from experiencing international study. This significant financial support will have a direct impact on some of our country’s brightest students.”

In addition to the scholarships, CIEE and CMSI have committed to a three-year partnership to co-sponsor training for college presidents and workshops for faculty to increase diversity in study abroad. Research shows that students who study abroad can have higher GPAs, are more likely to graduate on time and are more attractive to employers that seek to hire candidates with intercultural competencies. However, there is a significant gap in the profile of those who study abroad versus the overall population of U.S. undergraduates.  While students of color represent almost 40 percent of all undergraduates, they represent only 26 percent of those students who study abroad, including just 8.3 percent who are Hispanic and 5.6 percent who are Black.

“As the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization founded to support international exchange for all students, CIEE strives to implement both practical and innovative solutions to overcome the barriers to study abroad.  For seven decades, we’ve sponsored an annual conference that strives to bring together leaders in the field of study abroad to share best practices to improve the student experience. We felt compelled to use this platform – the annual conference – to demonstrate a simple approach to funding student scholarships, which will allow more students to embrace this life-changing academic experience,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of CIEE and a Penn Graduate School of Education alumnus. “With a proliferation of annual conferences, workshops, and meetings devoted to international study and exchange, we hope that other organizations might consider a similar approach to opening doors for individual students by funding scholarships.  

The deadline for students to apply to become Frederick Douglass Global Fellows is October 1, 2016.

For more information and to apply, visit the Penn CMSI website

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