Update on CIEE's Pledge to Do More for Racial Equality and Social Justice - Fall 2022

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

James P. Pellow, Ed.D.

While preparing for the CIEE Annual Conference taking place in Seoul this week on the theme 75 Years of Pathways to Peace, I’ve been reflecting on how a commitment to access, diversity, and inclusion has been part of CIEE’s mission from the very beginning.

CIEE was founded in 1947 to bring the world together through people-to-people exchange. In our articles of incorporation, our purpose was defined in part as “to expand international educational opportunities for underrepresented groups of all nations.” Since our founding, CIEE has been convinced that for international education to truly be a pathway to peace, it must be open to all.

In summer 2020, CIEE pledged to do more to help our country and our world overcome systemic racism and injustice. We pledged to take concrete action, and to track, measure, and share our progress. Below is an update on our diversity and inclusion initiatives focused on people, programs, and participants.


CIEE Recruitment Efforts Honored by World Youth and Student Travel Conference

In 2020, CIEE pledged to work towards a domestic workforce that represents the communities in which we live and work, as well as the students whom we serve. Our goal was to expand our domestic workforce to include at least 30% people of color by 2026 and at least 50% people of color by 2031.

We’re proud to announce that we’ve reached the first part of that goal well before 2026. Today, our domestic workforce is 31% people from diverse backgrounds!

And we were honored that our commitment to recruiting and retaining staff from diverse backgrounds was recognized with a Global Youth Travel Awards (GYTA) for New Diversity and Inclusion Initiative at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) held in Lisbon this summer. 

CIEE Training Program Welcomes First Cohort

As part of our pledge, CIEE set a goal of investing in the development of professionals from diverse backgrounds whose career advancement can often be hindered by lack of access to proactive mentors, diverse role models, and formal training programs.

This summer, CIEE launched a new professional development program to augment our efforts to hire, develop, and retain talent, particularly those from backgrounds who have historically been underrepresented in the field. Given the breadth of our activities, CIEE is uniquely positioned to create a world-class training program that prepares the next generation of international education professionals.

The first cohort of six early career professionals, selected from over 500 applicants, began in September 2022. The trainees will work in teams of two and rotate between three CIEE divisions – inbound exchange programs, outbound exchange programs, and central administrative teams – in four-month cycles. They will be assigned key projects and central tasks, participate in weekly skill-building workshops, and receive mentorship from senior leaders. After completing the year-long rotation, trainees will apply for permanent assignment in the department best aligned with their skills and passions. 

Ping Taylor Grant Recipients Attend Global Inclusion Conference

CIEE and AIFS have pledged to provide $100,000 in professional development grants over the next three years to honor the iconic American educator and former chair of CIEE, Dr. Charles Ping, and the founder of AIFS, Sir Cyril Taylor.

The inaugural recipients of the Ping Taylor Professional Fellows Grant, which provides funds to support participation in international education conferences, attended Diversity Abroad’s Global Inclusion conference in San Francisco from October 4-7. CIEE and AIFS awarded $2,000 for registration and travel costs to the following professionals:

  • Dr. Monija Amani, Executive Director of Global Education, Muhlenberg College
  • Antonio Ellison II, Assistant Director, Study Abroad Diversity Initiatives, Lehigh University
  • Hope Kroll, Student Success Specialist, Michigan State University
  • Stephanie Lopez, Study Abroad Advisor, Iowa State University
  • Vaughn Thornton, Program and Outreach Specialist Global Engagement, Boston College

Ping Taylor grantee Stephanie Lopez shared how her professional life was enhanced by her participation in the conference. “I learned to identify non-inclusive language that permeates everyday conversation, how to build resources for and support students with diverse identities, how to support and uplift others in the field while looking after my own mental health, how to implement new strategies that get students to think critically before they study abroad, and so much more that I’m excited to share with my team and campus.”

Read more reflections by the Ping Taylor grantees on our website.

Applications for Ping Taylor grants supporting participation in the Forum on Education Abroad conference in Seattle open in January.


Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship Applications Open December 1

Applications for CIEE’s leading program designed to create change agents for peace and progress – The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship – will open December 1, 2022.

The 2023 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows will embark on a three-continent global journey of discovery that will take them to Washington, D.C., Cape Town, Dublin, and Belfast for a comparative study of the social justice leaders instrumental in building historic bridges to peace, including Americans Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, South Africans Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Irishmen Daniel O’Connell and John Hume.

In addition to funding 12 Frederick Douglass Global Fellows (FDGF), CIEE seeks to provide more students with the chance to study abroad and will provide all FDGF applicants a $1,500 Frederick Douglass Scholars Grant towards any CIEE study abroad program through Summer ‘24.


Participant Diversity Returns to Pre-pandemic Levels or Better

For 75 years, and throughout the recent two-year global pandemic, CIEE has remained committed to ensuring that students from all backgrounds can participate in life-changing study abroad experiences. Our efforts to break down barriers of cost, culture, and curriculum have resulted in:

  • 32% of college students on CIEE outbound programs in FY22 identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or person of color)
  • 50% of Global Navigator High School Study Abroad participants in summer 2022 identifying as BIPOC

This week in Seoul there will be many discussions of how we as educators can increase access to study abroad and how we can make it more inclusive and welcoming.

We recognize that there is a lot to do to make our world a more equitable, peaceful place. We hope our intense and intentional efforts will make a small, positive difference. We’re grateful for our many partner schools and organizations who have joined us in this quest. And we hope that our progress will inspire others to join in the hard work.

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