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.

Two months ago, CIEE joined the national outrage at the senseless murder of George Floyd, the centuries of discrimination suffered by millions of Black Americans, and America’s systemic failure to provide justice for every American. We voiced our support for Black Lives Matter, the peaceful protesters across America, and other groups who call for action now. 

We pledged to take a pause from our normal activities to acknowledge that our country suffers from deep-seated hatred and a system of injustice that should not be ignored. We pledged to listen, to learn, and to leverage the means within our organization to do more to affect positive change. We pledged to move beyond rhetoric and take concrete actions at the organization, community, and national level that will advance in measurable ways our vision for a more peaceful, just world.

Consistent with our pledge to take concrete action, we wish to share with you several initiatives that we have taken in the last 60 days.

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

We announced last month that 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:

  • 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 fifth cohort being selected on February 14, 2021, Frederick Douglass’ birthday. We hope this expansion will  also mean that many more deserving students will be eligible for Frederick Douglass Summer Scholars Grants.
  • 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.
  • We are currently designing the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship for High School Students, which will recognize outstanding students who demonstrate Frederick Douglass’ spirit of leadership, passion for social justice, and experience agitating for positive change in our world. The first cohort of high school Fellows will study abroad in summer 2021.

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

CIEE’s Academic Affairs team is working with our Diversity and Inclusion team to develop 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.

We have contacted two nationally recognized universities who deliver exemplary criminal justice and community policing programs to assist us in developing a world class program. If your institution is interested in joining this conversation, please click here.

CIEE’s Annual Worldwide Staff Meeting was just completed and all 75 participating staff engaged in a workshop on techniques and tools to embrace and support the changing demographics of today’s study abroad students. This ongoing training program, which launched in April 2019, will feature monthly training and education seminars for the entire workforce to support inclusion and foster a sense of belonging in CIEE programs.

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

We are thrilled to share that we have begun to rehire staff for certain programs and that 75% 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 joined hundreds of organizations in the #StopHateForProfit boycott. 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 will return to various social media platforms with a campaign featuring only images that highlight students of color. Why? Because for decades, students of color have been completely missing, or significantly underrepresented, in study abroad marketing materials and in the staff of study abroad offices across the country. 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.

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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