IFLE Newsletter - September 2021

US Department of Education Newsletter

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Volume 7 | Issue 3 | September 2021

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Joint Statement in Support of International Education

Secretary Video Remarks

The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education have issued a Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education, with support from the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security. The joint statement is the first such public affirmation in over 20 years. The government agencies involved have committed to undertaking actions that will provide a renewed focus on international education, with 10 key principles of support. Key principles highlighted in the joint statement include

  • a coordinated national approach to international education, including international students on U.S. campuses, study abroad for Americans, and the internationalization of U.S. classrooms;
  • a welcoming environment for international students coming to the U.S., and the encouragement of a diversity of participants, disciplines, and types of institutions where they can choose to study, teach, and contribute to research;
  • encouragement for U.S. students, researchers, scholars, and educators who reflect the diversity of the U.S. population to pursue overseas study, internships, research, and other international experiences;
  • promotion of expanded access to international education, including the use of technology where in-person experiences are not feasible, to connect U.S. students, researchers, scholars, and educators with their peers abroad; and
  • partnerships of the U.S. government with higher education institutions, schools, state and local governments, the business community, and others to support international education.

The joint statement underscores the important role that international education has to play in promoting mutual understanding among people from different nations, helping ensure that Americans from all walks of life better understand the world and are prepared to effectively engage with their neighbors, and building lasting relationships among peers and future leaders across the globe. These principles will help Americans welcome international students to the U.S. and develop the global and cultural competencies they need to successfully navigate the ever-changing global landscape. 


To read the Joint Statement of Principles in Support of International Education, click the Read More link below. You can hear Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlight the statement in their respective opening remarks made for the 2021 EducationUSA forum. You can also read ED Homeroom's blog post about the joint statement.

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Introductory Webinar to International and Foreign Language Education Programs

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The International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) office hosted a webinar about the 11 international and foreign language education grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education. The webinar premiered on Sep. 1, 2021, and is available for viewing anytime on YouTube.


The webinar is designed to meet the informational needs of various audiences, including potential applicants interested in a specific grant program, current grantees who might be interested in applying for a different or additional IFLE grant program in upcoming grant competitions, or the general public that is primarily interested in learning more about the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs funded by the Department of Education.


The webinar covers

  • the purpose of each Title VI and Fulbright-Hays program;
  • examples of innovative projects conducted by current institutional, participant and fellowship program grantees;
  • practical information, including eligibility requirements and competition timelines; and
  • program characteristics to inform decisions about which programs are most suitable to meet the needs of various institutions and individual applicants.

Click the Watch Video link below for comprehensive information about the 11 Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs.

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Updates from Fulbright-Hays: Celebrating 60 Years and Highlighting Fiscal Year 2021 Grantees

F-H SA Mexico Museo participants

Did you know? This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright-Hays Programs! Join us in recognizing this milestone during International Education Week 2021, where we will feature program alumni and reflect on the distinguished legacy of Fulbright-Hays programs. International Education Week will take place Nov. 15–19, 2021. Stay tuned!


The Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program provides U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities an opportunity to improve their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries through short-term seminars abroad. This summer two cohorts of U.S. educators traveled to Iceland and Mexico to participate in educational seminars organized by the Fulbright Commissions in Reykjavik and Mexico City.


In Mexico, 16 post-secondary U.S. faculty and administrators spent the month of August exploring African heritage in Mexico. The group participated in 20 formal meetings as well as numerous talks and site visits across Mexico City, Puebla, Veracruz, and Oaxaca. Through a varied itinerary, participants explored the rich and significant influence of African history and culture throughout Mexico — from the colonial period to the present.  In Iceland, 16 U.S. K–12 educators engaged in curriculum development projects while learning about Icelandic culture, history, environment in the Arctic, education, and the arts. During the three-week seminar, participants were able to explore many regions of Iceland, and attend lectures at the Ministry of Education and Culture and the University of Iceland. Seminar participants also learned about Icelandic environmental policies and sustainable urban development. The seminar participants were especially fortunate to meet with the President of Iceland, H.E. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson!


New Fulbright-Hays Awards Announced for Fiscal Year 2021

IFLE is pleased to announce the new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2021, for the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) and Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) programs. For FY 2021, IFLE recommended funding for 21 GPA projects, and a record 142 DDRA fellowship awards. To learn about funded projects and grantees please visit the GPA Grantee Abstracts and the DDRA Awards webpages. Congratulations to all of our DDRA and GPA award recipients! 


Keep an eye out for upcoming competition announcements for Fiscal Year 2022 Fulbright-Hays programs by checking the IFLE website and following us on Twitter at @GoGlobalED.



Howard University Expands African Language Training Opportunities

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Howard University's (Howard's) Center for African Studies, a Title VI National Resource Center, provides African-focused teaching and research. Howard reported that its African language instruction has reached more students than ever and influenced the growth of the university as a whole. In fact, 70% of students taking African languages credit Howard’s African languages offerings as an important factor in their decision to attend the university. Additionally, since 2015, Howard has added four new African languages to its offerings, and an additional 20 classes across seven African languages.


To learn more about the impact of African languages at Howard University, click the Read More" link below. Click here to learn more about the Title VI National Resource Center program.

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Podcast Uses Title VI Funding to Leverage Slavic Expertise

Slavic Connexion screenshot -- CREES Title VI funded activity

Students at the University of Texas, Austin founded a successful recurring podcast called The Slavic Connexion. The podcast now has over 120 episodes and 50,000 downloads. Exploring all things Slavic, the hosts have been able to network and gain important interviewing skills as they interact with prominent guests worldwide, on topics ranging from media to literature, to politics, and even Bulgarian yogurt! 


Title VI National Resource Center funding enabled the university's Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) to support the student initiative by purchasing needed equipment, offering honoraria to guests, and funding student professional development awards. Additionally, as the podcast has grown and the demand for content has increased, Title VI funding afforded CREEES the opportunity to secure additional editors and production help to maintain a steady publishing output. The podcast today serves as an example of successful student engagement and public outreach while also attracting new faculty and student talent to the university and to CREEES.


This resource was developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI National Resource Centers Program.

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Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship Alum Shares His Experience

Daniel Fajardo in Brazil

Daniel Fajardo studied Brazilian Portuguese with the support of several Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships through Florida International University's (FIU's) Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center.


What impact did the FLAS award have on your academic path and obtaining your degree?

It is the best thing that happened to me while studying at FIU. FLAS was the support I needed to be able to graduate summa cum laude and begin my masters in global risk and corporate responsibility. My family lives in Colombia, and the grant I received from the fellowship was the economic assistance my mother and brothers could not give. In summary, the money to pay for my courses, the stipend to cover extra expenses, the grant to cover my fellowship trip to study at the Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos (IBEU) in Copa Cabana, the friends I made, and the knowledge I acquired are some of the things I owe to the program.


What do you do now? Did learning Portuguese and studying abroad play a role in your career path?

I currently work in the accounting department at WTDC, a full-service logistics company specializing in international distribution and global transportation. Speaking Portuguese, English, and Spanish is a great asset to have when dealing with international clients. Communication is more fluid and direct.


The FLAS fellowship helped me study Portuguese, but most importantly, it allowed me to witness and assimilate into the Brazilian culture while I was living with the locals. It is a fact that when you understand a language and experience other people’s cultures, you make deeper connections and long-lasting relationship with friends, coworkers, and clients as well.


What advice would you give to students trying to learn a new language?

Enjoy the process. Do not focus just on learning every word of the language and improving the pronunciation. Think long term and try to understand the culture behind that language. In a world where everybody is learning English, speaking different languages will not be as important as being able to connect, empathize, and understand other people’s cultures.


What was your biggest takeaway from participating in the FLAS program? 

People only need an opportunity to be great and the tools to do so. The FLAS fellowship helped me and some of my friends to graduate from FIU, travel, experience other countries’ cultures, and find a job. FLAS gave me the opportunity to show my family in Colombia and my friends here in Miami that sometimes what a student needs to graduate and become an asset to society is to have the will to be great and the courage to follow through.



World Languages Week: A Free Virtual Global Career Expo

World Languages Week logo

The Center for Urban Language Teaching and Research (CULTR), a Title VI Language Resource Center at Georgia State University, is excited to announce the seventh annual World Languages Week. This free, global career expo will take place Oct. 1822, 2021, in a virtual format. 


Each year, World Languages Week brings together representatives from businesses, non-profits, government, and education to connect with over 1,000 high school and college students about the global skills essential to their industries. The expo showcases diverse speaker panels and topics to highlight the value of language skills, cultural experiences, and diversity, equity, and inclusion for all learners in the global economy. Registered schools and individuals are welcome to attend any and all sessions throughout the week. The event will feature representatives from UPS, FBI, Truist, U.S. Department of State, Peace Corps, and more. Click the link below to read more about this exciting opportunity and to register.


This event is supported in part by funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI Language Resource Centers Program.

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Google Map of IFLE Grantees

FY 2020 Google Map of IFLE Grantees

Explore our Google map of FY 2020 IFLE grantees to learn about the Title VI domestic projects being implemented on campuses across the United States and the Fulbright-Hays overseas projects being conducted around the world. These projects strengthen international education experiences and foreign language for students, participants, and dissertation researchers.


This map provides a user-friendly way for viewers to get a sense of the extensive reach of the Title VI and Fulbright-Hays grantee institutions featured, as well as the diversity of our grantee institutions.



IFLE Welcomes Five New Staff Members!

Acquiring additional staff to ensure continued quality customer service, improve workload distribution, and expand IFLE’s program administration, outreach, and evaluation activities has been an organizational priority for IFLE senior director Cheryl Gibbs. With the support of the Office of Postsecondary Education and in collaboration with IFLE directors Gary Thomas and Sarah Beaton, IFLE successfully filled five staff positions during this past summer. We are very pleased to introduce the following individuals to the international education community:  


Brian Cwiek joins IFLE as an education program specialist in the Advanced Training and Research Division (ATRD). He holds a PhD in history and Central Eurasian studies from Indiana University, as well as master’s degrees in area studies from Columbia University and Indiana University. Prior to arriving at IFLE, Cwiek taught courses in history and East Asian studies as a visiting faculty member at several postsecondary institutions, including Bates College and Indiana University South Bend. Cwiek has conducted research while living abroad in China and Taiwan, as a U.S. Student Fulbright Program grantee. He has studied multiple less commonly taught languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Uyghur, and Tajik. In addition to teaching and research, he has a demonstrated track record for introducing and expanding area studies content in K–12 classrooms through curriculum development and educator training initiatives.  Cwiek has also worked to internationalize Indiana University East through curriculum design for their International Studies Program.


Ariana Maki joins IFLE as an education program specialist in the International Studies Division (ISD). Prior to joining the Department of Education, she managed capacity-building and cultural documentation programs at the University of Virginia, supporting Tibetan and Bhutanese populations. She brings with her years of experience as a higher education teacher, researcher, and occasional curator of Asian art. Maki is a strong believer in immersive educational experiences, having led students abroad in Europe and East and Southeast Asia. She lived in Bhutan for a number of years as a grant-funded researcher for the National Museum and the National Library and Archives, among other institutions. Maki is an alumna of the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program, through which she studied Tibetan, and the U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar program to Bhutan in 2019–20. She holds bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in art history, with a focus on Buddhist art in the Himalaya.


Amy Marrion joins IFLE as an education program specialist in ISD. Prior to joining the Department of Education, Marrion managed a dynamic portfolio of international opportunities for the School of International Service at American University. Marrion advised students regarding study abroad opportunities and spent several years coordinating an intensive English program that welcomed students from around the world to Washington, D.C. She has had the opportunity to study, intern, and teach abroad in England, Lithuania, and Ecuador, and is passionate about increasing access to international and cross-cultural experiences for educators and students. Marrion holds a master's degree in international education management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, a bachelor's in international studies and history from Elon University, and a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from American University.


Dana Sapatoru joins ATRD as an education program specialist. She holds a Ph.D. in economics education from Stanford University, a master's in international affairs from Columbia University, and a master's in economics from Central European University. Her professional work has focused on the design, implementation, and management of data-driven research projects in international education. During her career at the World Bank, Sapatoru applied her analytical skills and policy analysis expertise to understand the role and transformation of education systems in countries undergoing economic and political change, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. She has a special interest in studying the factors that affect individual postsecondary education choices and the impact of such choices on labor market outcomes (e.g., employability, wages, and career choices and paths). A native of Romania, Sapatoru has studied and lived in multiple countries in Europe (Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Scotland and Sweden). She loves to learn, dance, read, travel and bake anything and everything with filo dough.


Garrett Schiche joins IFLE as an education research analyst to provide subject matter expertise and oversight of program evaluation, performance reporting, and data analysis. He received a dual bachelor's in international studies and Spanish from the University of Wyoming, and a master's in international administration from the University of Denver’s Joseph Korbel School of International Studies. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, Schiche worked on community-based organizational development. After Peace Corps, he gained over 11 years of research and evaluation experience in humanitarian aid and development. He worked with the American Red Cross in Thailand on its Indian Ocean Tsunami Recovery Program and with Catholic Relief Services in Afghanistan and Pakistan managing emergency response programs. He then joined Lutheran World Relief in 2011, where he played a lead role in the development and operationalization of an organization-wide monitoring and evaluation system for over 100 projects, located in over 20 countries on four continents. Schiche is fluent in Spanish and Thai.



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