Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund 2012 and Winners
Hello from Washington. I’m Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. We just launched the 2012 Alumni Innovation Fund competition. Working closely with our embassies abroad, the winning teams will take on some of the world’s most pressing issues. And I can’t wait to see what proposals we get from our alumni this year! Last year’s contest was highly competitive. Thirty-eight winning teams were selected from more than 700 submissions. And we’re already seeing some extraordinary results.
Argentina’s winning group organized a gathering of International Visitors Leadership Program alumni. The event led to the creation of a regional alumni association called the IVLP Network of the Americas, or IANA, which has already published papers on intellectual property rights, climate change, and encouraging innovation in developing countries.
In Lebanon, a project called “Remembering Lebanon’s Marginalized Communities” builds understanding among the country’s diverse religious communities. To launch its effort, the group hosts the successful Interreligious Academy for local university students, which has received extensive coverage on Lebanese TV.
To tackle human rights and gender-based violence issues, Rwandan alumni launched two human rights clubs to work with youth, and at least three more are planned.
Bangladesh had two winning projects: the Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative and the South Asian Youth Leaders Summit. Both groups are working to develop the next generation of environmental and economic leaders.
And Russia’s new Online School for Responsible Bloggers trains and supports bloggers. This project helps young people improve the quality and the reach of their blogs.
These are just a few examples of the Innovative Engagement projects that are going on around the world, representing a vast and diverse network of State Department Program alumni. And you can join them! To submit proposals for this year’s competition, log on to alumni.state.gov/aeif. I can’t wait to see your creative proposals! Thank you.