07 Jul 2017

Saint Augustine’s University wins $25,000 grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas/Marlene M. Johnson Innovation Challenge

The U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) as one of the latest 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grant winners sponsored by NAFSA and CAF Development Bank of Latin America in honor of NAFSA’s retired Executive Director and CEO, Marlene Johnson. SAU was the only HBCU to receive funding as a lead institution among 14 award recipients

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas—the leading education initiative in the Western Hemisphere—is to increase the number of U.S. students studying annually in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000 and to bring 100,000 students to the United States by 2020. Innovation Fund grants fuel partnerships between higher education institutions in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create new student exchange and training programs. 

With the grant, SAU will expand its existing bi-directional study abroad programs through a partnership with the University of Health Sciences Antigua, which will focus on collaborative research projects and opportunities in STEM disciplines. Additionally, SAU will collaborate with Université Episcopale D’Haïiti’s Bishop Tharp Business and Technology Institute to develop a service-learning program focused on the study of the unique attributes of French/Haitian Creole language and culture. SAU will collaborate with partnering institutions to devise curriculum, prepare activities and acquire equipment required for the international research component, providing students with the opportunity to gain enrichment from the cultural and linguistic traditions unique to Haiti.

SAU was one of 14 American higher education institutions awarded grants; Michigan State University, University of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia University, among others, were also selected. NAFSA Executive Director and CEO, Esther D. Brimmer stated, “We have full confidence that these programs will help students gain the global competencies they need to reach across borders and become globally engaged leaders.”

Dr. Kanton Reynolds, Director of International Programs at SAU entered the University into the competition. He stated, “Being selected as a grant recipient for the Marlene M. Johnson Innovation Challenge is a tremendous honor for our university. It demonstrates our commitment to collaboration across institutional boundaries to facilitate global educational opportunities for our students. This grant will allow SAU to create the infrastructure required to facilitate substantial study abroad programs in STEM disciplines, as well as implement leadership and service-learning concepts that address the cultural adaptability needs of our students while reflecting the diversity imperatives of our university.”

The Innovation Fund grant marks the third major financial contribution to the SAU in a month’s time; Christ Church of Raleigh, NC recently donated $75,000, and alumni and supporters of the University recently raised over $355,000 during the University’s reunion weekend. 

About 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, corporations, foundations, regional governments, and Embassies working together to inspire U.S. universities and colleges to team up with universities and technical education institutions in the Western Hemisphere to create student exchange and training opportunities.  Innovation Fund grants build institutional capacity, increase student mobility, stimulate regional education cooperation, and contribute to workforce development.  Since its inception in January 2014, the Innovation Fund has awarded 118 grants to teams of 235 higher education institutions from 25 countries in the Western Hemisphere region. Innovation Fund grant-winning partnerships increase student exchange opportunities and strengthen connectivity between higher education networks throughout the Americas. Learn more:   www.100kStrongAmericas.org. Follow the Innovation Fund on Twitter and Facebook via #100KStrongAmericas

About Partners of the Americas
The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC.  Learn more: www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica. 

About NAFSA: Association of International Educators
With 10,000 members worldwide, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education program and policy. Learn more: www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org or via Twitter @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.

About CAF Development Bank of Latin America
CAF Development Bank of Latin America is a development bank created in 1970, made up by 19 countries—17 in Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal—as well as 14 private banks in the region. It promotes sustainable development through its lending, and support in the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of Latin America. CAF is also well known for its work in equity and social inclusion, environment, workforce development and climate change among other areas.