Recently in Bangkok the International Association of Universities (IAU), the UNESCO-based association of higher education institutions, held its 15th General Conference that takes place every four years. The event brings together its nearly 700 institutional and organizational members from around the world to focus on pressing matters facing global higher education. As an affiliate member, IIE participated in the event with team members represented from both the Bangkok and New York offices.
The focus of the conference was to exchange strategies and practices that demonstrate how HEIs contribute to innovation and sustainability. Offering macro perspectives from leaders in education across the globe, the three-day conference included a platform for HEIs to discuss what they can do to lead and be catalysts for change in a continuously changing global landscape.
This August, 36 young women pursuing undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from universities across India and China completed the first year of the WeTech Qualcomm Global Scholars Program, an exciting new initiative made possible through Qualcomm’s support.
During the program, each Scholar received financial assistance through a US$5,000 scholarship and also had the unique opportunity to be mentored for a six-month period by a Qualcomm professional to further enhance her professional development and leadership skills.
As the Program Officer for Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech), administered by the Institute of International Education, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in this program since its inception in 2015 and see the transformation of these young women throughout the course of their mentorships.
International education is increasingly being viewed as a means to developing human capital and cultivating leaders that can drive change and progress, especially in developing countries. Fellowships, study abroad, global research and internship programs are examples of international education exchanges. Through an exchange of students and young professionals across national borders, these higher education opportunities provide access to relevant knowledge and skills necessary for having an impact of policymaking and for a career in public affairs.
While the impact on recipients’ career and personal development is indisputable, evidence on the impact on the national public sphere, particularly in marginalized communities, has yet to be ascertained. How can international fellowship and scholarship programs influence policymaking? Can alumni of such programs foster change at a local, national, and global level by serving as key agents in government institutions?
This past September IIE joined the Clinton Foundation and the Brookings Institution’s Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls’ Education (Girls CHARGE). Girls CHARGE is a collaboration of over 50 companies, civil society organizations, multilaterals and governments all committed to improving learning and leadership opportunities for young women and girls globally. IIE and our Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives are excited to be a part of such a powerful collective voice in advancing global action on women and girls education. Girls CHARGE partners have committed over $800 million to reach more than 15 million girls by 2019. IIE’s initial commitment is centered around expanding our HER program to help university become a reality for more than 60 girls in Ethiopia. Three of the HER girls received the highest university entrance exam results at their respective schools!
International exchange opportunities foster leadership, innovation, curiosity and compassion. Participants return from abroad with a commitment to positively transform society through peaceful global connections and a determination to solve some of the world's most pressing issues through innovation and collaboration. Read about five distinguished alumni of scholarships managed or administered by IIE whose international experiences gave them the courage and knowledge to forge new discoveries and change the world.
Zina Ammar grew up in Gafsa, Tunisia, where she learned how to make the region’s famous Margoum carpets from the women in her family. Zina eventually started her own carpet-making business, but her lack of confidence and business skills limited her success. Hoping to grow her business, Zina enrolled in Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Financial Education trainings at the Women's Enterprise for Sustainability (WES) Center for Women’s Business Development in her community.
International experience used to be a “nice-to-have” criterion in a graduate’s resume. Today, it has become one of the most important components of a 21st century education. Many new studies show a direct impact of study abroad on creativity, cognitive ability, and student success. In addition, studies show that study abroad plays an important role in developing a global mindset and skills necessary to succeed in the workforce. Below are studies showing the value employers place on international experience and whether a graduate’s career prospects actually improve as a result of this experience.
With the accelerating growth of engineering-related jobs globally and the predicted shortage of equipped employees, engaging more women is critical to both bridging the talent gap and providing companies with the diverse skills and perspectives necessary to thrive.
At the end of this month 100 HER girls in Ethiopia from Addis Ketema and Fittawarari will graduate from high school. We are proud of their accomplishments and excited about their futures! IIE is now raising funds to assist with their transition to university, and we invite you to lend your support by making a donation by June 15.
As part of IIE's Higher Education Readiness (HER) program, which provides young women in secondary school from underserved communities with a pathway to university, our team in the Addis Ababa office is organizing inspirational speakers to meet with the girls several times each semester. The speakers are Ethiopian women who have, despite challenges in their lives, become leaders in their field. The speakers are wonderful examples for the girls on what they can become if they focus, stay in school, and follow their dreams.