Announcing the First Study Abroad Leadership Workshop for Minority Serving Institutions

Philadelphia, October 2, 2015—The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) and CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange have partnered to help Minority Serving Institution (MSI) presidents expand study abroad at their respective institutions. The Center and CIEE will host MSI presidents at a full-day leadership workshop on Nov. 4 in Berlin, Germany that coincides with CIEE’s 2015 Annual Conference, The Reinvention of Study Abroad: Setting the Course for 2020. The conference itself will run from Nov. 4–7.

The Study Abroad Leadership Workshop for Minority Serving Institutions will lead forward-looking MSI presidents through an examination of the importance of exposing MSI students to global education opportunities. In addition, the workshop will provide guidance on overcoming the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture and help develop ideas for expanding access to study abroad for all students, regardless of background or academic major.

“Our goal at the Center is to make MSIs global leaders in education: what better way than promoting study abroad? The benefits of studying abroad are undeniable—it’s just a matter of making it a reality for all students,” said Paola ‘Lola’ Esmieu, assistant director for programming at CMSI.

According to a 2014 report by the Institute of International Education, less than 10% of undergraduates study abroad before graduating. Of that already small portion, over 75% are White, while only 7.6% are Hispanic, 7.3% are Asian, and 5.3% are Black. Yet experts agree that international experience has become vital to global competition for jobs, not to mention cultural understanding. Expanding study abroad at MSIs can help bring equity to these statistics.

“As the globe becomes increasingly connected, exposure to other cultures and ideas should become a cornerstone of our students’ education,” said Marybeth Gasman, director of CMSI and professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. “MSIs already celebrate diversity, so not only does study abroad make sense for them, but they also have a lot to offer in that area as well.”

Confirmed attendees of the CIEE and CMSI workshop include Wayne Frederick (Howard University), Joseph I. Castro (California State University-Fresno), Mildred Garcia (California State University-Fullerton), Henry Tisdale (Claflin University), Elmira Magnum (Florida A&M University), Vinton Thompson (Metropolitan College of New York), David Wilson (Morgan State University), Roderick L. Smothers (Philander Smith College), George Wright (Prairie View A&M University), and Penn Graduate School of Education alumnus, Michael J. Sorrell (Paul Quinn College). All invited MSI presidents will also be given the opportunity to attend the full CIEE Annual Conference.

“The importance of study abroad for every student today is well established, yet we know that many institutions are finding it difficult to create a robust set of international programs for students and faculty. We heard from all of our member schools that the importance of having support from top university leaders cannot be overstated,” explained James P. Pellow, president and chief executive officer of CIEE and Penn Graduate School of Education alumnus. “With the Penn Center for MSIs being the leader in championing high-quality programs for Minority Serving Institutions, this partnership to sponsor the first Study Abroad Leadership Workshop for Minority Serving Institutions is an important contribution to the field and to shaping the lives of many students from MSIs.”

Visit CIEE’s website for more information on their 2015 Annual Conference.


 Kathleen Goodwin

Executive Director, Marketing Communications, CIEE


Paola ‘Lola’ Esmieu

Assistant Director for Programming, CMSI

1-215-746-3845 |

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

 The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. The Center’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. For further information about the Center, please visit

About CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange

 Founded in 1947, CIEE is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, serving more than 350 U.S. colleges and universities, 1,000 U.S. high schools, and more than 35,000 international exchange students each year. CIEE operates 61 study centers in 43 countries, and sponsors international faculty training programs, teach abroad programs, and various specialty and custom programs for secondary, post-secondary, and international students. Visit

About the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at the University of Pennsylvania

 Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals, unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit