100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces Grant Winning Institutions

MetLife Foundation Funds New Higher Education Partnerships for Study Abroad in the Americas
Oct 17, 2017 11:00 AM ET

As originally published on www.100kstrongamericas.org

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico, October 17, 2017 /3BL Media/ - The U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced today the latest 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant winners sponsored by MetLife Foundation.

With MetLife Foundation’s support, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant competition will facilitate eight new higher education partnerships between the United States, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. These grants will provide new exchange and training opportunities, with an emphasis on students who traditionally lack access to or are underrepresented in international exchange programs.

“MetLife Foundation values the opportunities that study abroad programs can offer in helping students develop skills and experience that put them on the path to success, “ said Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to strengthen the partnership between higher education institutions across the Americas and to enhance the development of the students these institutions are preparing for leadership in the workforce and communities.” 

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grants fuel strategic partnerships among higher education institutions in the Western Hemisphere.  The 19 new institutions announced today will provide groundbreaking exchange programs that will allow students to work in teams, gain technical skills, and become more competent for the global workforce.  The Innovation Fund grants are $25,000 each, and grant-winning teams contribute additional resources to leverage and implement sustainable short-term study abroad programs in the Western Hemisphere.

The Innovation Fund provides grants to higher education institutions, which strengthen institutional capacity for exchange programs, increase student mobility, provide more student training opportunities, and enhance regional education cooperation and collaboration throughout the Americas.  Since January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 134 grants to teams of 263 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere. More than 1,700 higher education institutions form the Innovation Fund’s network, including 1,000 U.S. universities and community colleges. 100,000 Strong in the Americas -- the leading higher education initiative in the Western Hemisphere -- aims to increase the annual number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000, and bring 100,000 students to the United States by 2020.

New Innovation Fund Grants sponsored by MetLife Foundation will be awarded to:

Colorado State University-Pueblo, Colorado, United States / Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Mexico; Colorado State University-Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

Establishing the Institute of Ecotourism Studies:

Collaborative Workforce Development and Cultural Exchange Strategies in Baja California Sur

Through the Innovation Fund grant, Colorado State University’s two campuses in Pueblo and Fort Collins will collaborate with Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur to develop an ecotourism education program and to establish an Institute for Ecotourism Studies. These efforts will provide opportunities for students from the partnering institutions to engage in immersive, field-based academic courses and cultural exchange in Colorado and Baja California Sur, while expanding knowledge and understanding around the issues of ecotourism and sustainable development.

Davidson County Community College, North Carolina, United States / Universidad Nacional de Villa Maria, Córdoba, Argentina; Forsyth Tech Community College, North Carolina, United States;

Guilford Tech Community College, North Carolina, United States

Expanding Access to Study Abroad in Argentina

Davidson County Community College (DCCC), through a partnership with Universidad Nacional de Villa María in Argentina, will create a Gilman scholarship-eligible, study abroad program that will enable Pell grant recipients to take a Humanities course abroad and provide them with a framework for examining and analyzing the history, geography, and distinctive cultural aspects of Argentina, along with basic Spanish language instruction. With the Innovation Fund grant, DCCC will be able to continue its commitment to and support of economically disadvantaged and underserved students in North Carolina to study abroad, and will open the course to other institutional partners, Guilford Technical Community College and Forsyth Technical Community College.

Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, United States / Instituto Profesional Duoc UC, Santiago, Chile

Designing Pathways: U.S.-Chile Student Exchange in Design & Business

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is partnering with Instituto Profesional Duoc UC on its first exchange program in South America, as well as the first study abroad opportunity for FIT Interior Design majors. Designing Pathways will initiate a sustained flow of students in Fashion Design, Interior Design, Textile Surface Design, and International Trade & Marketing in both directions by providing the opportunity for a full-semester exchange in locations considered to be centers for design, textile production, and economics. Within the selected disciplines, the program curriculum integrates conceptual design education with technical skills and management training. Students will experience first-hand the real-world activities of global businesses and train to work in international trade and global fashion companies.

Instituto Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud Fundación H.A. Barceló, Buenos Aires, Argentina /

Stony Brook University School of Medicine, New York, United States

Cross-cultural Medical Education:  Advancing a medical student exchange

between an underserved area in rural Argentina and an academic medical center in New York

Fundación H.A. Barceló, School of Medicine and Stony Brook University School of Medicine are partnering to develop a course that will provide U.S. medical students with a first-hand experience of the social and health realities of underserved and marginalized populations in a remote area of Argentina through a one-month medical mission. Argentine medical students will learn about the current technologies and procedures used in hospitals through a month of clinical rotations at Stony Brook University Hospital. With these experiences, both groups will learn about the different health care systems of their host country and develop language and cultural competencies, while gaining experience in the diverse medical specialties, including obstetrics, pediatrics, and plastic surgery.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Wisconsin, United States /

Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico

Green Bay to Guanajuato (G2G) Exchange

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) is partnering with Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato (UPG) to develop a pilot, study abroad program for students enrolled in STEM programming, typically an underrepresented field for students going abroad. The program will enable the partnering institutions to expand access to cross-cultural, linguistic, and technical skills training for engineering students. The exchange program will consist of a two-week outbound experience for students from NWTC’s Trades & Engineering Technologies program to participate in technical skills training activities in Mexico, while students from UPG’s Manufacturing Technologies program participate in a three-week intensive exchange in the U.S.to gain exposure to their academic field, as well as the native English language and culture.

University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas, United States /

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, Guadalajara, Mexico

Summer Language and Culture Immersion through Ecological Sustainability

The University of Central Arkansas and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente’s new proposed program will leverage previous experiences to inaugurate the partnership through the exchange of 10-15 undergraduate students from each institution to study at the respective partner’s campus during the summer term. Both institutions will target minority students studying in the STEM disciplines and from underrepresented populations, such as those from indigenous or economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, providing the opportunity for English and Spanish language and cultural immersion while gaining knowledge on the globally binding issues of ecological sustainability through service-learning projects that will engage students in the assessment of water quality of local streams and rivers in the host cities of Guadalajara, Mexico and Conway, Arkansas.

University of Denver, Denver, United States / Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago, Chile

Building a Global Workforce of Culturally and Linguistically Competent

Mental Health Providers for Spanish-speaking Latino communities

The University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, in partnership with Universidad del Desarrollo, created an exchange program that will meet urgent, community mental health needs and play a critical role in the partnering institutions’ goal to train linguistically- and culturally-competent mental health providers to learn and navigate the mental health systems and clinical models of the U.S. and Chile. Through the program, U.S. students will travel to Chile to visit clinical sites in various areas of psychology—including forensic, child and family, community and health psychology—and participate in didactic and case study presentations with Chilean students and faculty. The Chilean students, in turn, will travel to Denver to complete a practicum/internship experience with community mental health agencies, and participate in clinical trainings on topics such as suicide risk assessment, U.S. mental health documentation practices, and Trauma Informed Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions for Spanish-speaking populations.


Wayne State University, Michigan, United States / Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution:
A New Collaboration for Exchange between the United States and Colombia

Wayne State University and the Universidad Externado de Colombia will establish a pilot, student exchange program to study the fundamental approaches to conflict resolution and peace initiatives in both countries, and learn about the practical skills necessary to build careers in this field. The joint course will provide students with the opportunity to learn from two geographic settings with different experiences and perspectives on conflict and post-conflict resolution: Detroit, Michigan and Bogotá, Colombia. U.S. students will analyze the recent evolution of Colombia’s armed conflict, as well as the various peace processes and peace building experiences associated with it, including the Colombian peace accords process and the re-integration of former fighters under conditions of democracy and justice. On the other hand, Colombian students will learn about Detroit’s history of civic conflict resolution, civil rights, and immigrant integration in the community, highlighting the inter-ethnic challenges and successes, and problems of crime, violence, and justice that are all intertwined with the unique economic conditions of the city.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, foundations, regional governments, and Embassies working together to inspire U.S. universities and colleges to team up with universities and technical education institutions in the Western Hemisphere to create new student exchange and training programs.  Innovation Fund grants build institutional capacity, increase student mobility, stimulate regional education cooperation, and contribute to workforce development.  Since January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 134 grants to teams of 263 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region.  Innovation Fund grants facilitate partnerships between universities and community colleges in the United States and  higher education institutions in the Western Hemisphere to increase student exchange and training opportunities and to strengthen connectivity and collaboration between higher education networks throughout the Americas.  For more information visit www.100KStrongAmericas.org or follow us via Twitter at #100KStrongAmericas.

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC.  Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica.

With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education program and policy.  Learn more: www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org or via Twitter @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.

MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2016, MetLife Foundation has provided more than $744 million in grants and $70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. In 2013, the Foundation committed $200 million to financial inclusion, and our work to date has reached more than 3.5 million low-income individuals in 39 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit metlife.org. 
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