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.

Last summer, CIEE pledged to do more to combat systemic racism by taking concrete action to champion diversity and foster an inclusive environment where every individual is welcomed, supported, and empowered to share their unique perspective. Below is our quarterly update on our progress to do more in three areas: participants, programs, and people

PARTICIPANTS: Increasing study abroad opportunities for students of color 

The 2020 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows – a cohort of exceptional, diverse student leaders hailing from 20 of our nation’s top colleges and universities, including Harvard, Howard, Morehouse, and Stanford – have returned home from their time in Ireland this summer transformed, inspired, and better prepared to agitate for positive change in our world.

Following in the footsteps of Frederick Douglass who visited the Emerald Isle in 1845, the Fellows spent four weeks traveling across Ireland and exploring the life stories, leadership styles, and legacies of Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell.

  • This special video (above) captures the transformative experience these future leaders of social change had during their program.
  • An overview of the Fellows' academic and intercultural experience in Ireland is found online at ciee.org/fdgf21.

Applications are now open for the 2022 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, a fully funded leadership program for students of color to study abroad and explore strategies for promoting social justice, resolving conflict, and advancing peace. The prestigious program will attract our nation’s most exceptional diverse student leaders who are determined to make the world a better place and eager to expand their skills and develop strategies for promoting social justice, resolving conflict, and advancing peace.

The 2022 Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program will again take place in Ireland, cosponsored by Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs to continue the legacy project created to honor the 175th anniversary of the meeting between 27-year-old abolitionist Frederick Douglass and the Irish reformer Daniel O’Connell in Dublin in 1845.

In addition to funding the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows, CIEE will provide all eligible students who complete the fellowship application but are not selected as Fellows a $1,500 grant towards any CIEE summer 2022, fall 2022, or spring 2023 program. Known as the Frederick Douglass Scholars Grant, this award is matched by many colleges and universities, making an international education experience financially attainable for many more students from diverse backgrounds.

If your institution is committed to championing diversity in study abroad, please join a growing number of colleges who are matching the Frederick Douglass Scholars Grant for students from their institution. Contact Stacy Benjamin, Director, Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, at sbenjamin@ciee.org to confirm your college is committed to changing the face of study abroad.

PROGRAMS: Expanding programs on diversity, inclusion, and social justice

We are very excited to announce the launch of the City-Specific Resources for Studying Abroad section of our Diversity and Inclusion website.

To create the resource, CIEE staff around the world provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter at their location. We hope this resource will encourage underrepresented study abroad students to feel more comfortable choosing to study abroad.

Recognizing that the information in the resource is just a broad overview, we encourage you or your students to reach out to inclusion@ciee.org with any specific questions or concerns about a study abroad location. We would be glad to have local staff share their perspectives, talk with your student about accommodations, connect your student with resources, and/or put them in touch with a program alum who could speak about their experiences navigating a program in this location.

No matter where a student chooses to study abroad with CIEE, our staff—all of whom receive regular and comprehensive training in diversity, equity, and inclusion—will be on hand throughout the program to provide advice, resources, and support regarding these issues.

PEOPLE: Recruiting diverse staff at all levels to help CIEE advance its mission

CIEE is in a period of rapid and strategic regrowth. Presently, our domestic workforce is 19% people of color, with many outstanding new hires at all levels of the organization, including Asenith Dixon, who started this week as CIEE Vice President for Government Affairs and Advocacy and will establish CIEE’s DC office for promoting international exchange programs. 

We are making solid progress towards our goal of a domestic workforce that includes at least 30% people of color by 2026, and at least 50% people of color by 2031.

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