Miami Dade College Receives Grant to Connect Young People Across Regions Through Virtual Exchange

A grant from the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative will enable Miami Dade College to prepare young people in the United States, Middle East, and North Africa for the future through a unique global learning experience.

Miami, May 14, 2024 – Today, the Stevens Initiative announced Miami Dade College (MDC) is one of 11 schools, higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations selected to receive funding to run virtual exchange programs that connect young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa.

MDC’s Climate Stories is an eight-week virtual exchange between college students from Jordan and the U.S. to discuss climate change and its various causes and effects, connect through intercultural communication, and create changemaking podcasts that promote climate action among today’s youth. The program is supported by the J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative (JCSVEI). JCSVEI is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute.

Virtual exchange connects young people from around the world for learning and collaboration, immersing them in digital spaces to gain practical skills and build friendships along the way. It is a powerful tool to reimagine what global learning looks like, how it can be conducted, and how many people participate.

“We are honored to welcome 11 new grantees today. Together, we are embarking on a journey of discovery and continued growth in the virtual exchange field. This marks a major milestone towards our vision of a world where virtual exchange is part of every young person’s life,” said Christine Shiau, Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative. “Each grantee embodies the spirit of innovation and collaboration necessary to help young people unlock their creativity, foster critical thinking skills, form friendships, and feel connected to the world. Their dedication to lifelong learning will help us create opportunities that transcend boundaries, inspiring a brighter, more interconnected future for all.”

The 2024 J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative Grantees will reach nearly 10,000 young people across the U.S. and Middle East and North Africa. Other grants include:

  • Digital Promise’s Building Apps Across Cultures
  • Florida International University’s Virtual Tabadul: Creating Language-Learning Community Through Virtual Reality
  • Global Nomads Group’s (GNG) Overcoming Bias in AI
  • Seattle University School of Law’s Transitional Justice Legal Exchange
  • Shenandoah University’s (SU) Virtually Going Global
  • Take Action Global’s Taking Climate Action Together
  • Texas International Education Consortium’s Community Climate Connect
  • United Planet’s Youth2Youth Impact Investing
  • University of Florida’s Hands-on Energy and Thermo-fluids (HEAT) Program
  • World Learning’s STEAM Innovations

The Stevens Initiative is an international leader in virtual exchange, which brings young people from diverse places together to collaborate and connect through everyday technology. Created in 2015 as a lasting tribute to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the Initiative invests in virtual exchange programs; shares research, resources, and promising practices to improve impact; and advocates for broader adoption. Learn more:

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) builds relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through academic, cultural, sports, professional and private exchanges, as well as public-private partnerships and mentoring programs. These exchange programs improve foreign relations and strengthen the national security of the United States, support U.S. international leadership, and provide a broad range of domestic benefits by helping break down barriers that often divide us. Visit

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world.  Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Media Contact: 

Stevens Initiative Media Contact: Maura Daley, Assistant Director, External Affairs,