CIEE and CMSI Inaugurate the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship in London, England

Philadelphia, Pa., July 31, 2017: On August 1, 2017, the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in partnership with the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) will host the inaugural celebration for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship Program in London, England. The event will celebrate 10 high-achieving student fellows from Minority Serving Institutions who are participating in a summer study abroad program in London focusing on leadership and intercultural communication. The Frederick Douglass Global Fellows (FDGFs) were nominated by their college presidents and selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants in a national competition.

The four-week program highlights the attributes and significance of global leadership with a special focus on developing techniques to apply these skills in their respective communities when they return to the United States. In addition, FDGFs will use their experiences to motivate other under-represented students to pursue similar opportunities. The program draws on the legacy of Frederick Douglass—the African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and international statesman who lived, lectured and studied in London in 1845—and encourage students to use his life as a model to becoming bold, globally conscious and service-oriented leaders.

Marybeth Gasman, Director of CMSI, shared, “The event will highlight the magnitude of this monumental collaboration between CIEE and Penn CMSI. It is one of several steps we are taking to increase study abroad opportunities for students at Minority Serving Institutions.”

The inaugural celebration will include a roundtable discussion that will feature guest speakers Dr. Mildred García, President of California State University-Fullerton; Dr. David Wilson, President of Morgan State University; and Ms. Nettie Washington Douglass, Co-founder and Chairwoman of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. The topic of the roundtable will be “What is possible for me is possible for you.” Speakers will share their experiences on the impact of a global perspective and how it has propelled them to endure through adversity to become leaders and influential figures within higher education. Ms. Washington Douglass will deliver the keynote address.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program is designed to strengthen the leadership and intercultural communication skills of each participant using a pedagogical approach that centers on experiential education and a global perspective.

“This FDGF program is unique in that it enables exemplary student leaders, nominated by their college president, who come from the most financially challenged backgrounds, to develop critically important leadership skills in an international setting,” said Paola “Lola” Esmieu, Associate Director of Programs at CMSI. “Our partnership with CIEE allows us to break down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to make study abroad accessible to students from MSIs, a demographic that is often disproportionately left out of national study abroad conversations.”

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship covers all program fees and travel costs for 10 students each year who are nominated by their college president and selected from a diverse group of MSIs. The fellowship is awarded based on a combination of personal leadership attributes, academic achievement and financial need. Future cohorts of FDGFs will study in Cape Town, South Africa (summer 2018) and Seoul, South Korea (summer 2019.)

Dr. Keshia Abraham, Director of Strategic Initiatives at CIEE, explained, “By anchoring this transformative program in the legacy of global citizenship exemplified by Frederick Douglass, we are intentionally fostering leadership development while emphasizing intercultural skills, enabling students to self-author their experiences abroad into lasting, encouraging examples for other students at Minority Serving Institutions and beyond.”

For more information, read more about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program here

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from the nation's Minority Serving Institutions. CMSI’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. Visit

About the Council on International Educational Exchange

CIEE was founded in 1947 to facilitate international exchange programs that help foster peace and understanding in our world and to open doors to such programs for students from all socio-economic backgrounds.  Today, CIEE serves more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities, 1,000 U.S. high schools, and facilitates over 40,000 exchanges each year. CIEE serves as the leading sponsor for the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (the J-1 visa program), promoting exchanges with over 100 countries. Additional CIEE programs include international faculty training, teach abroad, and various specialty and custom programs for secondary, post-secondary, and international students. Visit

Monday, July 31, 2017