IFLE Newsletter - December 2016

US Department of Education Newsletter

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IFLE Celebrates International Education Week 2016

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The International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) Office and the International Affairs Office (IAO) of the U.S. Department of Education celebrated International Education Week 2016 with a variety of events highlighting the importance of global competencies for all.

The week's featured event was a student workshop (above left) entitled Global Competence: Skills for Living and Working in the 21st CenturyGlobal competence is essential to college and career readiness in the 21st century, and it is more important than ever to prepare students to be globally minded citizens. Through facilitated discussion and activities, this event provided high school students from the Washington, D.C. area the opportunity to consider skills necessary to develop their own global and cultural competence. Students read articles relating to pressing current events, then completed an activity to identify and discuss the types of skills and jobs associated with addressing issues like climate change, the global economy, global health, national security, and more.

In the second half of the event, students connected virtually with Peace Corps Volunteers currently serving in Moldova and Peru to learn firsthand about their experiences. Students had the opportunity to ask the volunteers questions about what it's like to live, work, and serve abroad, and they departed the event with a list of opportunities and resources for gaining further international experiences in their own studies and future careers.


In addition to the student workshop, IFLE and IAO took part in a number of other events to celebrate IEW 2016, including: the Institute of International Education's Open Doors briefing at the National Press Club featuring a video message from U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King (above center); a Twitter #globaledchat with the Peace Corps and Asia Society on the theme of cultural and global competencies; and the opening of an art exhibit featuring works by students with disabilities from around the world, Yo soy... Je suis... I am... the World (above right).

IFLE thanks everyone who collaborated to make International Education Week 2016 a success. We'll see you again next year!

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Teachers: Apply Now for the 2017 Seminars Abroad Program!

2016 Seminar Abroad to Peru

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Education provides grants to K-12 and postsecondary educators to study and travel abroad?

The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides short-term summer seminars for U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities to improve their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries. Each seminar features educational lectures and activities specifically designed for the group, including visits to local schools and organizations, meetings with teachers and students, and visits to cultural sites. Participants draw on their experiences during the program to create new, cross-cultural curricula for their classrooms and school systems back in the U.S.

In 2017, summer programs will be offered in Bulgaria, Chile, and Thailand. A total of 48 awards are available (sixteen per program)The program covers airfare, room and board, and program costs. Participants are responsible for a cost-share of $600. New applicants, along with teachers in Title I schools, schools eligible for the Perkins Loan Cancellation or Teacher Loan forgiveness program, community colleges, and Minority-Serving Institutions are encouraged to apply.

The deadline to apply to next summer's program is December 28, 2016.

We will be hosting a webinar to provide more information about the program and answer questions about the application at 2pm EST on December 5th. Register for the webinar HERE.

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IFLE Awards Over $71 Million to Strengthen International Studies, World Language Training, Global Experiences for Educators and Students

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IFLE recently announced the award of more than $71 million in new and non-competing continuation grants to help strengthen the capacity and performance of American education in world languages, area and international studies, cultural understanding, and research. The grants are under the Fulbright-Hays Act, also known at the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, and Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.


“The world is becoming more interconnected than ever before and our programs and grants are helping students to acquire the skills, knowledge, and understanding they will need to compete on equal footing for 21st-century careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “Employers from a cross-section of education, business, and government are expecting our graduates to be able to communicate and collaborate with peers in a global context. The grants help to achieve exactly that, by providing teachers, students, and our communities with the opportunities and resources for ensuring our nation’s capacity for global competitiveness.”

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University of Chicago NRCs Partner with City Colleges of Chicago

Conference with City Colleges of Chicago Faculty

Over the past two years, four Title VI National Resource Centers (NRCs) at the University of Chicago have been developing a project in collaboration with the City Colleges of Chicago, the largest community college district in Illinois. The project, which aims to support City Colleges faculty in the internationalization of their courses, has made considerable progress over the course of the 2015-2016 academic year and will continue in 2016-2017. The four participating NRCs (the Centers for Latin American Studies, East Asian Studies, East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies) chose to reach out to City Colleges for this partnership opportunity in part due to its incredibly diverse student population: in 2013 more than 84% of enrolled students represented minority populations, and four of the seven campuses are Minority-Serving Institutions.

The project was initiated after the U.S. Department of Education implemented a priority for all institutions applying for Title VI National Resource Center funding to build significant and sustained collaborations with community colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). 

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SDSU CIBER Helps Develop California Export Guide

SDSU CIBER California Export Guide

California companies are going global and the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business Administration is helping them get there. ThinkGlobal Inc., in partnership with SDSU CIBER, has launched the California Export Guide, available in print and online. The colorful, magazine-style guide is a free resource for California exporters to find the tools they need to succeed in global markets.

The purpose of the guide is to provide California companies and foreign investors with expert advice and answers to frequently asked questions about exporting, foreign direct investment and global business. “As a designated U.S. Department of Education Title VI Center for International Business Education, SDSU CIBER consistently strives to meet the information needs of California businesses so they can compete better overseas,” said Mark J. Ballam, SDSU CIBER managing director. “The California Export Guide is one example of how we accomplish the goal of improving U.S. business competitiveness.”

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The Power of One: A Personal Reflection on a Fulbright-Hays Summer in India

2016 Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad to India

by Giancarlo Malchiodi

One by one, the children sitting on the floor beside us begin to nod into sleep as adults cradle them safely to the ground. Words of encouragement and care keep being repeated to them with a chant-like quality; words which we do not understand, but can definitely feel as we scramble to make room for a child now lulled into rest. Just an hour earlier we played alongside and laughed with these youngsters, admired their artwork and textile projects, and took many silly photos with all of us wearing false mustaches.


A lot can happen in an hour, just as a lot did happen throughout the nearly six-week Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar on “Sustainable Development and Social Change” we American educators were fortunate enough to experience after a multi-day orientation through the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas-Austin and with the strong organizational efforts of the United States-India Educational Foundation.


The exercise above is an extended meditation session regularly offered to youngsters whose parents are sexually exploited or who may, themselves, be likewise. It attempts to build an inner calm as well as an awareness of being part of a caring and mutually reliant community. As part of this character-building process students are also told stories and offered different choices they could make in response to a challenging scenario, after which they are asked a central question: "What kind of person do you want to be?" Manju Singh, co-founder and child rescue worker with Guria in Varanasi, wants her children to achieve a greater potential than the circumstances into which they were born or placed and says, "We are a centre that creates human beings who love, with love.” She and husband Ajeet symbolize so much of what we saw throughout this beautiful country: That the power of one or two strong-willed individuals can rally like-minded others, and a momentum for change grows.


Despite the seeming cliché, our Summer abroad was a “Summer of Hope” made evident by the social values and outright play being taught at Guria, by the more formal schooling provided to Dalit children via Madurai Seeds or to largely illiterate women by the Self Employed Women’s Association in Ahmedabad, through the water conservation/reclamation and sustainable farming/cattle-breeding methods/ taught by numerous NGOs in different rural and urban communities, via the transformation of “grandmas into lions” by the electrical and solar-engineering programs of the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, or Kolkata Sanved’s innovation to empower survivors of trafficking by providing them an outlet for emotional and creative expression through dance movement therapy, or the women of Dooni Village working with Srijan to develop their own milk sales collective and cattle vaccination program saying, “We took the power, no one gave it to us!” Some of these efforts impact a few square blocks, some a village, some multiple states, and some are national or even international in scope: All of them matter equally in the generation of hope.


But perhaps the greatest hope was not sighted: That day when the efforts of the one— or the few— good-minded become less vital as society becomes more just or when greater support for those most in need finally and permanently becomes established. This reality is obviously not unique to India, so perhaps Manju’s question to her charges may be better reflected onto ourselves: “What kind of person do I need to be” to bring about a better tomorrow in my family, in my classroom, or for my neighborhood, city, and beyond?


We departed India having learned so much about the country, its cultures and faiths, its people and related development efforts, but this information sparked the beginning of a greater learning about ourselves as well.


Giancarlo Malchiodi is a Teacher of English in New York City who participated in the 2016 Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad in India. The Seminars Abroad program provides U.S. educators the opportunity to study abroad and develop new cross-cultural curricula for their classrooms and school districts back home. The 2017 Seminars Abroad program competition is NOW OPEN. Learn more in the "Program News" section above and at the link below.

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We want to hear from you! Do you have suggestions for webinar topics? Ideas for things to include in future newsletters? Send them to Carolyn Collins at carolyn.collins@ed.gov.


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