HIVER participant

HIVER: Building Bridges between U.S. and MENA Through Inclusive Virtual Exchange

At IIE, we believe international education and exchange should be a part of everyone’s educational journey. In fact, IIE is the first private organization to facilitate international exchanges — with our earliest programs dating more than a century ago. Today, we continue to develop and administer cutting-edge educational programs and resources that promote access to opportunity, including and especially among underserved populations. In our permanent pursuit of innovation, we have expanded our services into virtual exchange programs like The Harnessing Innovation Through Virtual Exchange for Enhanced Results (HIVER).

In 2021, The J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI) awarded IIE the grant to implement the Harnessing Innovation Through Virtual Exchange for Enhanced Results (HIVER). This program enables U.S. university faculty to collaborate with their counterparts in universities across the Middle East and North Africa to integrate a virtual exchange component into existing courses. Through classroom discussions, group projects, and leadership sessions, the HIVER program fosters cross-cultural dialogue, helping students find common ground, respect differences, address challenges, and think globally.

This virtual exchange enables students from diverse backgrounds and cultures, including first-generation, refugee, and female and minority students, to interact and learn from each other. In addition, virtual exchanges like HIVER offer an innovative and affordable solution among students facing the financial barriers typically associated with traditional, in-person programs.

We asked both HIVER students and faculty to reflect on the virtual program. Here are the highlights:

Integrating HIVER into our curriculum has not only expanded our academic horizons but also fostered a unique sense of global community among our students and faculty.”

Dr. Ali Keyvanfar, Faculty, Kennesaw State University, U.S.

Being part of HIVER gave me a chance to get to know people from different backgrounds and find out the best ways to communicate regarding the challenges of time zone differences and language. Working on a project with students from different majors was a new and different experience that helped me consider different perspectives and try to get to the most efficient solutions.”

Shahd Mostafa, Student, Helwan University, Egypt

This experience has enhanced my interpersonal skills and broadened my perspective, fostering a deeper appreciation for diversity. Moreover, my architectural skills have flourished through collaboration with international peers.”

Noor Majed Ali Foqha, Student, An-Najah National University, Palestinian Territory

HIVER lets me interact with American professors in remote locations from the other side of the world, which could lead to professional opportunities I might not be exposed to in a traditional classroom setting.”

Dr. Anan M. Abuhammour, Faculty, Yarmouk University, Jordan

HIVER is implemented by the Institute of International Education and is supported by the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI). JCSVEI is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute.