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09/19/2016

CIEE and CMSI Announce “Project Passport,” a Comprehensive Initiative to Develop Study Abroad Programs at Minority Serving Institutions

CIEE and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) announced today full details of their strategic three-year partnership to increase study abroad at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Titled “Project Passport,” the expanded partnership will be a series of opportunities geared towards college presidents, faculty, and students who are dedicated to expanding international exchange on their college campuses.

Through Project Passport, CIEE and CMSI will work with 10-12 MSIs each year to provide them with a complete package to expand their study abroad programs, including a Presidential Leadership Workshop on international education, faculty training and development programs on international education, as well as study abroad fellowships and free passports for students.

“Students of color and other MSI students are the least likely to experience study abroad opportunities,” explained Paola Esmieu, associate director for programs at CMSI. “The world is a big place, but through Project Passport, we’re hoping we can make it accessible for more and more students, especially those at places like Minority Serving Institutions.”

Project Passport has five major components. The first involves a one-day president-level workshop designed for university presidents from MSIs across the United States. This workshop not only discusses the importance of an international education for MSI students but also provides guidance on overcoming the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture for university presidents looking to expand study abroad opportunities at their respective institutions.

MSIs whose presidents attend this workshop will be able to nominate early career faculty from their institutions to receive professional development training at CMSI’s annual ELEVATE workshop. ELEVATE supports the ongoing learning, training, and networking of early career MSI faculty by providing them with professional development workshops, opportunities to create a close-knit network of peers, and a platform for collaboration.

Thirdly, following ELEVATE, faculty fellows will be invited to join a unique CIEE International Faculty Development Seminar. CIEE and CMSI designed this seminar to introduce key faculty leaders to the critical components of faculty-led study abroad programs including how to structure intercultural learning, integrate global learning experiences in academic curricula and student life on campus, and identify strategies for student recruitment for study abroad.

The fourth component of Project Passport will allow participating MSIs to nominate two student leaders to participate in a four-week, 3-credit study abroad experience for each year of the initiative. Students will be named Project Passport Global Fellows and have all housing and program costs covered by the program for a study abroad program in London, England, or Berlin, Germany.

Finally, as part of their commitment to tackle the major barriers that keep students from studying abroad, CIEE has committed to sponsor student passports for each Project Passport partner. Each participating MSI will receive a visit from CIEE’s Passport Caravan, which will spend a day at each institution to provide passports for 50 students, free of cost.

Also included in CIEE and CMSI’s partnership, but not housed under Project Passport, is the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, a scholarship program that provides full funding for 10 MSI students each year to take part in a summer study abroad program designed to enhance their leadership and intercultural skills in one of three locations: London, England (summer 2017); Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018); and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019).

“Expanding opportunities for global education is an imperative for university leaders across the country,” said James P. Pellow, president and chief executive officer of CIEE and a Penn Graduate School of Education alumnus. On working with CMSI, Pellow added, “The opportunity to work with the nation’s leader in promoting best practices for education at MSIs is both a privilege and a powerful way to affect change.”