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.
In June 2020 CIEE pledged to take concrete steps to chip away at racial injustice and advance in measurable ways our mission to foster harmony and peace in our world. To demonstrate the determination of our commitment to positive change, we provided you with updates on our progress every 30 days for six months and will now provide quarterly updates.
CIEE is committed to creating an inclusive environment where students, participants, and staff represent the full spectrum of backgrounds and experiences, and where every individual is welcomed, supported, and empowered to share their unique perspective. Our commitment will include specific goals in three areas: participants, programs, and people. 


We are currently reviewing a record number of applications for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, a competitive award that covers all costs for ten outstanding students of color to participate in a summer study abroad program focused on leadership, intercultural communication, and social justice. The 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will tour Ireland in summer 2021 and be co-sponsored by Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the meeting between Frederick Douglass and world-renowned Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell that occurred during Douglass’s visit to Ireland in 1845.   
The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship applicants truly represent the nation’s best and brightest, and it will be hard to select just ten students for the 2021 cohort. We have received applications from hundreds of top-rated institutions, including:
  • Traditionally strong minority serving institutions, like Howard University, Hunter College, Florida A&M University, University of California – Irvine, University of Texas – El Paso, University of Houston, and University of Illinois – Chicago
  • Ivy League institutions like Brown University, Cornell University, Harvard University, and Yale University
  • Top-ranked liberal arts institutions like College of William and Mary, Macalester College, Pomona College, and Wake Forest University
  • Top-ranked private universities like University of Miami, Syracuse University, University of Rochester, and Colgate University
  • Leading tech institutions like Carnegie-Mellon University and Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Large public universities like Indiana University, University of Colorado – Boulder, Rutgers University, and University of California – San Diego​
The 2021 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will be announced in a virtual conference with the Prime Minister of Ireland on March 17.
All applicants not selected for the fellowship will still receive Frederick Douglass Summer Scholars grants of $1,500 towards a select CIEE summer study abroad program. We hope that these grants to outstanding young leaders will make it possible for more students from diverse backgrounds to have an international experience and return home with a global perspective that will help them thrive in today’s interconnected world.


Diversity and inclusion training for all staff at all CIEE centers will improve our skills and competencies for supportive engagement with all students. CIEE’s Inclusive Excellence Task Force designed online workshops supported with the latest research, literature, videos, case studies, and topical experts. The six workshops include:
  • Racism 101 – Reflections on US Racism, Whiteness, and Antiracism
  • Understanding Bias and Managing Micro-aggressions
  • Brave Classrooms and Safe Spaces
  • Inclusive Student Life Activities
  • Conducting an Inclusive Orientation
  • Fostering Civil Discourse


CIEE is committed to expanding our racial and ethnic diversity as we reemerge from the global pandemic. We anticipate hiring several hundred employees in the next few years and commit to ensuring that our staff reflects the demographics of the communities in which we live and work.
By 2026, CIEE will have a domestic workforce that includes at least 30% people of color and will be a recognized leader in developing talented diverse staff, managers, and leaders in the field of international education and exchange. CIEE will strive to have a domestic workforce that includes at least 50% people of color by 2031. 
CIEE’s diversity and inclusion efforts are ongoing and will evolve over time as we learn what strategies are most effective in helping us build and sustain a CIEE that truly honors our ideals. If you have ideas or feedback on our strategies, please reach out. Thank you for your support on this important journey.

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