CIEE Awards Seven Exchange Ambassador Grants to Support Alumni Professional Development or Social Change Efforts

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Seven CIEE exchange program alums will receive CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grants to amplify their efforts to improve their home communities through their careers or personal pursuits.

Awarded in honor of the 50th anniversary of CIEE Work & Travel USA, the competitive CIEE Exchange Ambassador Grants were open to CIEE alumni from outside the United States who participated in one of CIEE’s exchange programs.

“Since 1969, CIEE Work & Travel USA has enabled young people from over 130 countries to engage in a life changing intercultural exchange experience,” said James P. Pellow, President and CEO of CIEE. “After exposure to American culture and ideals, participants return home as leaders inspired to make positive change in their communities. I’m delighted to recognize the efforts of some exceptional CIEE alumni and give them an additional boost in their efforts to make the world a better place.”

Changemaker in Action Grants, designed to increase the impact of existing efforts around social change at the local or global level, were awarded to:

  • Alaa Mahmoud from Egypt so that ExEgypt, the nonprofit he cofounded, can create a series of educational camps that empower young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and help them develop self-confidence, leadership skills, and increased awareness of gender equality.
  • Andrea Villasmil from Ecuador so she can illustrate, design, publish and promote a children’s book about inclusion and disability rights, raising awareness of children with special needs and the importance of inclusive education. Proceeds from the book will go to subsidize evidence-based interventions for children with special needs from low socio-economic backgrounds
  • Stellia Zulu from Zambia to support the activities of From Me To You, a social venture she founded to encourage interpersonal communication among young women living in urban and rural areas of Zambia on issues of empowerment, motivation, and equality.

Professional Development Grants, designed to help a CIEE alum to attend a conference or training course, were awarded to:

  • Maíra Vilas Bôas from Brazil so she can attend the VII International Colloquium of Studies on Men and Masculinities in Costa Rica to prepare for her dream of establishing human rights clubs focused on gender fairness in public Middle and High Schools in her community.
  • Nina Kharlamova from Russia so she can travel to Germany for a student conference (ISWI) where she can meet people that share her passion for green energy, in support of her ultimate goal to establish a shared energy village where communities can share use of renewable energy without paying exorbitant costs.
  • Paul Ioan Runcan from Romania so he can attend the 2019 Word Justice Forum hosted in The Hague, Netherlands, where he will develop connections and skills that support his political career as he is challenged to think critically about the role of the law in advancing justice, opportunity, and peace.

A U.S. Expert Exchange Grant, designed to bring a U.S.-based expert to an alum’s home country for a lecture or workshop, was awarded to

  • Praise Onyegiri from Nigeria so she can bring Susan Stewart, a Certified Associate/Trainer for Power+Systems, to her community to lead a “Training the Trainers” workshop that will prepare 20 young Nigerians to be certified Organizational Workshop (OW) Trainers who can then train others on topics including leadership development and cultural integration.