Fellowship Program Supports Central American Leaders

NEW YORK and SEATTLE, October 4, 2016—Seattle International Foundation (SIF) has renewed its partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE) to support impactful leaders driving change in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Now entering its second year, 93 leaders from diverse sectors in these four countries have been selected to participate in the Centroamérica Adelante program based on their accomplishments and their ability to contribute to the development of the region. Leaders will take part in a year-long fellowship comprised of workshops, coaching, networking, in-person experiential learning and online skills development to help them increase their impact in the communities they serve and build alliances to extend their reach.

The 88 Centroamérica Adelante Fellows who participated in the first year of the program – 25 from El Salvador, 27 from Guatemala, 18 from Nicaragua, and 18 from Honduras – work in local, regional and international non-governmental organizations, private companies, television and radio broadcast media, government agencies, and multilateral agencies. The Fellows collectively represent a vast array of social change work, including human rights, violence prevention, social services, microcredit, healthcare, and corporate social responsibility (CSR), among others. They serve diverse populations that are most in need, such as at-risk youth, survivors of gender-based violence, women, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities, among others.

As they approach the end of the hands-on training activities, they have already begun identifying areas of common ground and opportunities for mutual collaboration. Examples of collaborative efforts include: starting a group-led dialog with CSR representatives on social change needs; building capacity for administrative services across organizations; and sharing fundraising and financing resources.

“It has been inspiring for me to see the number of people willing to work for social change, people who are part of our country’s hope and whom we didn’t know before. Before Centroamérica Adelante we hadn´t met these civil society heroes. It has been very enriching to know the challenges everyone faces and to know that, from our own life experiences, we are all working towards and hoping for a better country. Centroamérica Adelante has meant personal growth for me and it has also given me the satisfaction of being able to help others with my own experience,” said Sandra Morales, the Executive Director of Voces Vitales in El Salvador.

SIF's core approach to development in Central America includes investment in leadership development, organizational capacity building, and creating social change networks with the ability to transform economies, communities and societies. SIF also recognizes partnerships and local leadership as critical elements to successful development efforts. Since 2008, SIF has provided over $2.5 million in grants to organizations supporting leadership development in Central America.

The IIE team in Mexico City manages the program in collaboration with SIF staff in Seattle, and all training activities take place in Central America. Leveraging nearly 100 years of experience overseeing leading scholarship and training programs, IIE partners with SIF to implement the program, including outreach to potential applicants, identifying trainers, providing facilitation and coordinating program logistics. The language of instruction for the program is in Spanish; however, Fellows interested in improving their English skills are given the opportunity to do so.

“At the Foundation, we believe the complex problems of Central America are best addressed by local leaders. By investing in local leaders, we are investing in the people best positioned to make long-lasting change in their communities,” said Mauricio Vivero, CEO of SIF. “NGO leaders in particular are making progress on key issues. Meanwhile, they have few opportunities for capacity-building and network support. This program addresses that need,” Vivero continued.

“The Institute of International Education and the Seattle International Foundation share a belief in the enormous potential of developing leaders committed to building inclusive, thriving communities throughout our interconnected world,” said Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE. “We are honored to partner with the Seattle International Foundation on this bold initiative, and look forward to helping to advance the careers and impact of Central America’s most promising leaders.”

IIE has extensive experience assisting community organizations around the world to build their capacity and expand their reach, and ultimately improve their ability to aid underserved populations across the globe. IIE is leveraging its network of dynamic trainers, alumni, consultants and professionals at universities, foundations, corporations and civil society organizations to reach out to a wide audience of prospective participants, develop the curriculum, and deliver high quality, dynamic opportunities and trainings.

To receive updates about Centroamérica Adelante program and/or to express interest in nominating an individual or applying to be a Centroamérica Adelante Fellow, visit the program website or contact: cenamadelante@iie.org.


About the Seattle International Foundation

Seattle International Foundation (SIF) supports worldwide poverty alleviation efforts through grant-making and other activities, with a strategic focus in Central America. SIF was founded in 2008 as a supporting organization to The Seattle Foundation for the purpose of increasing and enhancing international philanthropy and development efforts from the Pacific Northwest. Since 2008, SIF has granted more than $19 million to 188 high-impact organizations, including more than $11 million in grants to Central America. To learn more visit seaif.org.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. Our international approach to education—diverse, borderless, impactful—is a proven way for governments and companies to invest in global talent and solidify overseas relationships. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government and private sources. IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.

Since the 1970s, IIE’s Mexico City office has provided educational opportunities to disadvantaged sectors of society, and has helped train current and future leaders in a wide range of fields. The office serves as IIE's regional center for Latin America, and arranges targeted training programs to build practical and professional skills vital to the region’s economic growth and technical needs.