Supporting Diversity Abroad

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

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Diversity Abroad conference in Boston where I had a great time talking with colleagues about the important work of supporting increased participation by diverse and underrepresented students in international education.

At the awards dinner, I was happy to share the news that 15 leaders of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) have agreed to match CIEE’s $1500 grant to their qualified students who applied for the 2019 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. The additional financial support will enable dozens more students to participate in a life-changing international experience, just as Frederick Douglass did in 1845.

The 250+ outstanding Freshmen and Sophomores from MSIs who applied for the 2019 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship are the leaders of tomorrow who represent the legacy of Frederick Douglass, the renowned African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and international statesman for whom the award is named. The leadership of the college presidents who offered matching grants to their students makes it possible for more of these truly exemplary students to have an international experience that will prepare them for future greatness.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship is just one example of how CIEE strives to break down barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to ensure that students from diverse economic, educational, ethnic, and social backgrounds have equal access to study abroad. To address the barrier of cost, CIEE:

  • Awarded over $8 million in scholarships, grants, and financial aid in 2018 alone.
  • Covers the cost of airfare for ALL Pell students!
  • Guarantees a Gilman Go Global Scholarship ($2500 toward program costs of a semester program or $1000 toward costs of a summer program) to ALL qualified applicants for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, regardless of whether they receive the Gilman Scholarship.

As a result of these and other efforts, I’m happy to report that the percentage of participants in CIEE programs that come from diverse backgrounds is now has grown from 22 to 37 percent, but we are committed to making that number even higher.

The discussions around inclusivity in global education that I was part of over last week have stoked my enthusiasm to keep working toward the day when any student, no matter their background, can make their dream of studying abroad a reality. Congratulations to Andrew Gordon and Diversity Abroad for convening such a thought-provoking and collaborative conference!

Learn more about CIEE’s need-based scholarships at

Learn more about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship at:

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