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CIEE Academic Director for Architecture and Design Presents New Ideas for Urban Design at 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival

This summer, Maria Aiolova, LEED AP, CIEE academic director for architecture and design and co-founder of Terreform ONE, was invited to the prestigious 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival to present on “Post-Sustainability: New Directions in Ecological Urban Design.” With co-presenter and co-founder of Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D., Maria examined the socio-ecological possibilities for New York City and other urban environments around the world.

Held annually in Aspen, Colorado, by the Aspen Institute, the festival is the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders to discuss ideas and issues that shape our lives. This year the event celebrated its tenth anniversary with the theme “Imagining 2024.” Guest presenters – including former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and actor Robert De Niro – and festival attendees explored questions that included: What will the next ten years bring? What form will climate change take? What dynamics will shape our societies at home and abroad?


Aiolova_Joachim - Aspen Ideas Festival
Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim, co-founders of Terreform ONE, present on their vision of global sustainability during the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, June 27 - July 3.

Maria also participated in two round-table discussions in which leaders generated ideas to global challenges, such as inspiring the next generation of innovators and mitigating the impact of extreme weather on the world’s poorest communities.

Discover how CIEE programs help students find solutions for the critical issues facing cities around the world here.


CIEE Carefully Monitoring Ebola Virus

Given recent news coverage about the Ebola virus, we’d like to assure you that we’re keeping a close eye on the situation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. State Department, there is no need to suspend or close programs in Ghana or Senegal, the African countries where we host study abroad programs. No international travel organization has announced travel restrictions to Senegal or Ghana, and officials maintain that risk in these countries is low.

Your students’ safety is our top priority. Our experienced health and safety team continues to closely watch this situation and has protocols in place. Questions? Send us an email or call us at 1-800-40-STUDY.


Three-Day Excursions Enrich Summer Short-Term Programs

What’s better than studying abroad in the summer? An international summer program that allows you to see even more of the world! That’s the goal of CIEE’s new Intercultural Comparative Weekends. Now part of every CIEE Short-Term Summer Programs, these three-day excursions allow participants to experience multiple cultures, and encourage connections and insights.

 In mid-July, our second group of nearly 400 students traveled from 17 CIEE Study Centers in Europe, Latin American, Africa, and the Middle East to one of eight international cities: Barcelona; Berlin; Istanbul; London; Mexico City; Paris; Santiago, Chile; and Toubab Dialaw, Senegal. (Students ranked their top four destination choices, and 70 percent traveled to their first choice.)

Over three days in each location, students were guided through a range of activities that included an art and architecture tour; music, dance or theater performances; and community service geared toward relevant social issues, as they explored urban sustainability, cultural identity, immigration, gentrification, community engagement, and more.

“I really enjoyed the East End tour. Normally when you think about London, you think of Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament…,” said one student from University of Pittsburgh. “This opened my eyes to an important part of London's culture that I didn't know existed.”  

After two successful Intercultural Comparative Weekends, we’re already planning new destinations for next summer. “It’s so rewarding to see students apply the new intercultural skills they’re learning to understand a culture that’s very different from the one they’ve been experiencing,” says Catharine Scruggs, executive director of Study Abroad program management at CIEE. “We look forward to keeping this momentum going.”  

Visit Facebook  to see more photos from our worldwide Intercultural Comparative Weekends.


U.S. Students Travel to New York and Venice with CIEE for World’s Leading Architecture and Design Forum

This spring, CIEE teamed up with New York University (NYU), Terreform ONE, and La Biennale di Venezia to give 10 U.S. architecture and design students a chance to work with experts in the field and take part in the leading international architecture and design forum.

 The new Venice Biennale Workshop, held May 27 to -June 7, gave students from NYU and the Rhode Island School of Design hands-on access to innovative architecture and design methods and models.

 Students began their adventure in New York City at the offices of Terreform ONE, a nonprofit design group that focuses on urban solutions for sustainable energy, infrastructure, food, water, and more. Students learned cutting-edge methods for forecasting population growth of the world’s densest cities using a model called the “Bio City Map of 11 Billion.”When I signed up for the Venice Biennale Workshop, I expected an educational experience,” said NYU student and workshop participant Lila Faria. “I didn't expect to find myself … painting with bacteria or bonding with an amazing group of motivated, hardworking people who opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had never considered.”

 The group then traveled to Venice, Italy, for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, an international event held every two years to showcase art, film, and architecture. In Venice, students focused on the latest advances in design and architecture for urban projects, and helped to install Terreform ONE’s exhibit – the official selection at this prestigious event. According to NYU student and participant Jake Madoff, “The best part, was that as an architectural researcher working with Terreform ONE, I was able to attend events where I could speak with the many talented architects who were participating in the Biennale Architettura. I learned quite a bit from speaking with such professionals and made connections that will hopefully benefit my prospective career in design.”

 The workshop grew out of CIEE’s Global Architecture and Design programs, in which students work with experts to explore how innovation and technology can help cities become self-sufficient, while they explore and connect with new cultures. These dynamic programs are offered in New York City, Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague.

 View photos from the Venice Biennale and hear what students said about their experience below.

 "When I signed up for the Venice Biennale Workshop, I expected an educational experience. I didn't expect to find myself hanging off a piece of scaffolding 15 feet in the air at the Palazzo Mora, painting with bacteria, or bonding with an amazing group of motivated, hardworking people who opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had never considered.

The workshop was inspiring, engaging, and incredibly fun. When I wasn't working on the exhibition, I explored Venetian gardens, sketched impressions of the city on scenic walking tours, practiced my networking skills at black-tie parties, and learned more about the future of architecture in one week than (probably) the rest of my life put together."


Lila Faria – New York University

Venice Biennale Workshop Participant

Photo 2CIEE architecture and design students helpinstall Terreform ONE’s exhibit, “Bio City Map of 11 Billion” at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice (Italy) Biennale.


 "When Professor (Mitch) Joachim invited me to join the team, I had two impressions of what my week in Venice would be like: I'd help install ‘Bio City Map of 11 Billion,’ and I'd attend the Venice Architecture Biennale. What I didn't expect were the remarkably, ineffably wonderful moments in between. Recurring intervals of awe, appreciation, and realization at the significance of this opportunity hit me more times than I could count.

 I am graciously thankful for every member of the team – it has been a wonderful learning experience in working and traveling a foreign city together. I am ever more grateful to Mitch Joachim, Maria Aiolova, and Nurhan Gokturk. Our team could not have asked for more incredible, inspiring thought leaders."


Jesslyn Guntur – New York University

Venice Biennale Workshop Participant T1 biennale US PavilionCIEE U.S. students and Maria Aiolova, CIEE academic director for architecture and design, (fifth from left) take a break during the Venice Biennale, held in June in Venice, Italy.

"I was lucky enough to be part of the Venice Biennale Architettura 2014, and experience all that Venice, Italy, and the world of architecture has to offer.

 The journey started at the studio of Terreform ONE. They are the innovative minds and architects of the ‘Bio City Map,’ a piece that follows the geometry of the Dymaxion map, and visually translates raw population data via dynamic elevations on the front, and colonized E. coli on the back. At their studio, I worked as an architectural researcher; I learned about the salient principles of cartography, demography, synthetic biology, and visual design; I, along with my peers, constructed a vacuum form from scratch and traveled to a lab where we studied biohacking and manipulated bacteria. During this portion, I came to understand each step in the overall design procedure – from concept to construction – and became acquainted with a group of thoroughly educated and affable people.

After the installation was complete and food digested, we traveled to the various architectural exhibitions. ‘Fundamentals’ was this year's theme; handles, doors, windows, beams, walls, lights, and shapes were some of the many fundamental features highlighted in the exhibits. We saw works by French, Danish, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Korean, and American architects. One of my favorites was Denmark's pavilion.

The best part was that as an architectural researcher working with Terreform ONE, I was able to attend events where I could speak with the many talented architects who were participating in the Biennale Architettura. I learned quite a bit from speaking with such professionals and made connections that will hopefully benefit my prospective career in design.

This workshop and trip were absolutely terrific. I met brilliant people, worked with prominent architects, traveled to Venice, and gained diverse experiences that changed my life for the better. I would like to thank Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova for making this whole thing possible. Thank you."


Jake Madoff – New York University

Venice Biennale Workshop Participant

Photo 1CIEE students assemble the “Bio City Map of 11 Billion” at the world’s leading architecture forum in June in Venice, Italy.

Photo 3
CIEE students help install Terreform ONE’s “Bio City Map of 11 Billion,” which received top honors at the world’s most prestigious architecture and design event in Venice, Italy.




New Three-Day Excursions Give Students Another View of the World

Last weekend, nearly 400 students enhanced their summer studies abroad by traveling from 15 locations to one of seven international cities for three days of guided exploration. New this summer, CIEE’s Intercultural Comparative Experience Weekends allow students on short-term programs to compare multiple cultures and make connections that lead to meaningful insights.


Whether a student went from Prague to Berlin or Amman to Istanbul, these amazing three-day weekends provided a new intercultural lens through a range of components: an art and architecture tour; music, dance or theater; community service tied to relevant social issues; and specially designed curriculum to help students tie together their experiences. In Barcelona, for example, students explored Park Güell, a garden complex designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, and enjoyed tapas and a Flamenco performance. After a look at events that have shaped Catalan identity, students then examined the Catalan perspective on some current issues, including boundary disputes, nationality, and the economy. Finally, they met with supporters of the pro-Catalonia independence movement and participated in folk traditions.


Visit Facebook  to see more photos from our first worldwide Intercultural Comparative Experience Weekends.



Students in the new CIEE Global Architecture and Design programs just completed their spring 2014 semesters. These programs are designed to meet the academic requirements of advanced architecture and design students and offer a chance to further their studies.  

Below are photos and comments from the Barcelona & Berlin students, two world centers for design innovation and excellence. Learn more.



“As an international student in Boston coming from Venezuela, I could have never imagined having an opportunity like this. This will have a tremendous impact in my next years as an architecture student.”

Francesco, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Barcelona, spring 2014


"This program was amazing. There was a constant flow of passionate energy within the studio as well as with the faculty and staff which was appreciable!"

Edwin, Carnegie Mellon University, Barcelona, spring 2014


 "My favorite part was the exposure to new technology and the collaboration with students from different schools."

Vance, Howard University, Barcelona, spring 2014



"We became real Berliners. The program pushed us to become invested in the city and to add new ideas to it."

Dan, Carnegie Mellon University and Carly, George Washington University, Berlin, spring 2014



100 Students, Two Weeks, Three Continents: CIEE and Spelman College Launch an Exciting New Journey

More than 100 students and eight faculty members from Spelman College in Atlanta departed May 11 for two weeks of intercultural learning through innovative programs created in partnership with CIEE. On three continents, they’ll explore new cultures with a dynamic combination of academics and community activities to gain the skills to be successful global leaders.


Plus: Follow students in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Peru, and Portugal at #spelmanciee.


Spelman College Students Prepare to Spend Two Weeks Abroad this May


In May, just over 100 Spelman College students will pack their passports and travel to Peru, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, or Portugal, for two weeks of intercultural learning with a custom program that includes Spelman faculty and CIEE staff members. CIEE is proud of our special partnership with Atlanta-based Spelman, and the opportunity it provides to these students to build the skills they’ll need in today’s global community.

In each location, students will immerse themselves into their host countries’ cultures through co-curricular activities with faculty and locals. A custom intercultural engagement curriculum taught by CIEE staff will also build intercultural competencies and leadership skills. Read more.

Visit the CIEE Study Abroad Facebook page to view photos and stories from our students’ journeys over the next few weeks.
Did you know that CIEE’s commitment to providing students of every background with opportunities for international education is so strong, that we award students more than $3 million every year in grants and special funding? Learn more.


Visit CIEE at NAFSA!

For more than 65 years CIEE has been the leader in providing high-quality international study abroad and exchange programs. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

CIEE Presenters:

Monday, May 26th
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
NAFSA Pre-Conference Workshop
CEP Workshop: Health, Safety, and Risk Management for Education Abroad
Trainer: Adam Rubin, CIEE

Wednesday May 28th
8:45 am – 9:45 am
Session: Findings from the Education Abroad Risk Management State of the Field Survey
Co-Presenter: Adam Rubin, CIEE

CIEE Staff Attendance:

James P. Pellow, President & Chief Executive Officer
David F. Fougere, Chief Operating Officer, Study Abroad
Nancy Kittredge, Vice President of Human Resources
Maritheresa Frain, Vice President of Academic Affairs
Spencer Jones, Vice President of Institutional Relations and Enrollment Management

Amy Dwyer, Director, Institutional Relations, Study Abroad
Tyler D’Andrea, Manager, Institutional Relations, Study Abroad
Betsy Parker, Manager, Institutional Relations, Study Abroad
Catharine Scruggs, Executive Director, Program Management, Study Abroad
Caroline Maas, Resident Director of Operations – Northern Europe
Janine El Tal, Resident Director of Operations – Middle East and North Africa
Adam Rubin, Senior Director, Program Development and Evaluation, Study Abroad
Bill Bull, Director of Health, Safety and Security
Jarlath McGuckin, Manager, Enrollment Operations
Kathy Martin, Registrar and Director, Institutional Agreements
Morgan Reiss – Director, Student Services, Seville
Gina Campbell, Program Coordinator, International Faculty Development Seminars
Kellie Sullivan, Director, Faculty and Custom Programs
Erin Santana, Senior Coordinator, Faculty and Custom Programs
Melissa Sandoval, Senior Coordinator, Faculty and Custom Programs
Jeff Thaxter, Director, iNext
Kristen Riley, Senior Operations Coordinator, iNext
Matt Redman, Director, Teach Abroad

Stop by our booth (#1613) in the exhibit hall to learn more about our new programs, new locations, Intercultural Comparative Experiences, and expansive scholarship and grant opportunities.

We look forward to meeting you in San Diego!


Staff Updates

Chris Gould as stepped down as Regional Director of Operations (RDO) for Asia-Pacific. Colin Bezener is serving as Acting RDO until a permanent replacement is found. Colin previously worked at CIEE for eight years, most recently as director of Intern and Trainee Programs, before leaving to complete his MBA at the China Europe Business School. He returns to CIEE from an international development organization based in Washington, D.C. where he served as project director.

Tian Song, manager for student services at the CIEE Study Center in Shanghai, China, since 2011, has accepted a new position with the CIEE Study Center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. During her time in Shanghai, Tian strengthened CIEE’s academic, cultural, and residential life program offerings, and was instrumental in improving health and safety protocols. Tian is assisting with hiring and training her replacement and will transition to her new position in Santo Domingo in May.

Jennifer Venecek has stepped down as Resident Director of CIEE’s Study Center in Tanzania to return to the U.S. During her tenure, Jennifer led the redevelopment and relocation of CIEE’s programs from Dar es Salaam to Iringa.

Justin Beckman, who has lived and worked in Tanzania for the past 15 years, will replace Jennifer as Resident Director. Most recently, Justin has served as project manager and field coordinator for a Johns Hopkins University research study in Iringa on the drivers of HIV/AIDs rates in the region. As an undergraduate, Justin studied abroad in Zanzibar in 1999, and led a group of fellow undergraduates back to Tanzania in 2001. These experiences inspired him to complete his bachelor’s degree in history and African studies, followed by an advanced degree in history from Yale University and extensive research into the 1964 Zanzibar revolution on Pemba Island. Justin is fluent in Swahili and conversant in the local Iringa language of Hehe.