The Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) hosted a reception in Washington, DC to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. The December 2011 event highlighted Gilman Program alumni and recognized U.S. campus study abroad advisors for their contributions to the program’s success.
In the past decade, the Gilman Program has enabled nearly 10,000 outstanding students with financial need, representing nearly 950 academic institutions from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., to study in 125 countries. The Gilman Program diversifies the kinds of U.S. students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go by providing study abroad scholarships to undergraduates who might not otherwise participate due to financial constraints. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the Institute of International Education.
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Adam Ereli spoke about the impact of the program. Speaking to the gathering of university presidents, advisers, and Gilman International Scholarship alumni at the December 2011 event, Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson said, “Diversity has been a cornerstone and a pillar of the Gilman scholarship program.” He noted that, last year, more than 60 percent of Gilman scholars hailed from ethnic minority groups - a percentage that has grown since the inception of the program.
“The Gilman program goes beyond ethnic diversity,” Carson said. “The program is actually diverse in multiple ways. Gilman scholars pursue different academic interests, travel to different destinations around the world, come from different cities and states and very different communities in those cities and states, and represent every different type of academic institutions,” Carson said. “All of these things represent the broad and important diversity of the United States.”
Highlights: Ten years of the Gilman Program
For 10 years, the Gilman Scholarship Program’s goal has been to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Through the Gilman Program, young Americans who would never have the opportunity to leave the U.S. are able to hone a second language, conduct research abroad, and prepare themselves for the global economy while serving as citizen ambassadors in their respective host countries.
The Program reaches a very diverse audience including ethnic minority students, students with disabilities, students studying foreign languages (often critical need languages), and those attending both public and private institutions. Gilman recipients hail from every state in the U.S., as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and are encouraged to study in non-traditional locations such as the Middle East/North Africa region, Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Gilman Program is the largest undergraduate study abroad scholarship in the nation, now awarding over 2,300 scholarships annually. In 10 years, the Gilman Program has received over 31,000 applications and has awarded more than 8,800 scholarships to students studying in 125 countries and enrolled in nearly 950 U.S. institutions.
Profiles: Gilman Alumni
Meet just a few of the 10,000 students that the Gilman International Scholarship Program has helped to study abroad:
- A student from DePaul who studied Arabic in Egypt and is now involved in a social media online website that helps promote citizen journalism across the globe.
- A student from Vanderbilt University who launched a career in sustainable development by studying in South Africa and interning at the Sustainability Institute.
- An engineering student from UT – Austin who did research in the UK, and went on to co-found an R&D solar cell company that recently won a Department of Energy SunShot award.
- A pre-med student from UCLA who conducted microbiology research at a university in Chile.
- An international relations student from UC San Diego who studied in China and led a multi-national student project to conduct research on the EU’s counter-terrorism policies.
- A student from Vassar who wrote a play about the impact of AIDS while studying literature at Oxford, and went on to conduct an AIDS awareness program in the Dominican Republic and is now teaching non-profit management at NYU.