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Loyola University New Orleans Awarded IDEAS Grant from the  U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad 

By Loyola University on Mon, 05/17/2021 - 20:06

Prestigious grant will fund new J-term study abroad at Jesuit university in Mexico City

(New Orleans, May 17, 2021) Loyola University New Orleans has been selected to receive a 2021 IDEAS grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad. Loyola is one of only 26 colleges and universities from across the United States selected for this prestigious honor designed to create, build or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of foreign policy goals. 

Loyola will use the grant money to launch a new January “J-term” 2022 study abroad program in Mexico, titled “Power in Movement: Social Justice Activism in and Between New Orleans and Mexico City.” Led by Loyola University New Orleans Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Dr. Kedrick Perry, the exciting new program is being developed in partnership with the Ibero-American University, a renowned Jesuit university in Mexico City, and is aimed at providing opportunities to those who otherwise may not otherwise enjoy study abroad. 

“J-term is something unique at Loyola. Our J-term centers around issues tied to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we wanted to take things a step further this year, taking students abroad with programs aimed at social justice,” Perry said. “Being able to travel abroad is transformational, especially if you have never done it before. It opens up your world view and is an amazing experience.”

Students and faculty involved in the program will spend two weeks living in Mexico City, learning from locals and gaining understanding of social justice movements in Mexico. There will be some classroom learning, but students will also learn about the city, taking history and culture tours. They will hear from guest speakers, including State Department officials and representatives from cultural institutions and NGOs in Mexico. They will also have the opportunity to mingle with Mexican students and faculty at the university. He hopes to offer the exciting new program to selected Loyola students at a very low cost, or even free.

“The program has been developed to educate and empower undergraduates who are first-generation, underrepresented, low-income students and those who have never traveled abroad before with an international social justice experience abroad,” said Mariette Thomas, director for the Center for International Education at Loyola New Orleans. “The objective is to increase the global leadership ability of these students, as well as to introduce them to social justice movements in Mexico City that mirror our own in New Orleans, Louisiana.” 

IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) is a prestigious grant program funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by World Learning. The program seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities to create, expand, and diversify study abroad programs for U.S. students.  

In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the State Department’s Capacity Building program also offers opportunities for faculty, staff, and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in a series of free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity building activities. Funded projects are supporting such activities as developing new international partnerships and programs, training faculty and staff, internationalizing curriculum, creating resources to engage diverse student groups in study abroad and creating virtual exchanges. As international travel continues to open up, the State Department aims to continue to expand opportunities for eligible accredited U.S. universities. 

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to expanding study abroad opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds studying at colleges and universities across the United States. Americans studying abroad serve as citizen ambassadors by building relationships within their host communities, demonstrating American values, and countering stereotypes,” said Heidi Manley, USA Study Abroad Chief, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

“They also gain critical job skills abroad that in turn benefit their home communities. We are committed to continuing our strong support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future.”