Global Nomads Group was among the first recipients of a prestigious grant from the Stevens Initiative, named for U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who devoted his life to building bridges through open and respectful dialogue.  Over the past five years, the Stevens Initiative has invested $2.5M in Global Nomads’ educational programs and has been a catalyst in growing the virtual exchange field.

Specifically, the Stevens Initiative has supported Global Nomads’ programming to link classrooms in the U.S. with their counterparts in the Middle East and North Africa to facilitate meaningful dialogue between youth in regions where harmful stereotypes and divisive preconceptions had framed the narrative for decades.

Together, we have helped students in our virtual exchange programs to: learn to respect similarities and differences, develop curiosity and thinking analytically about global peers, improve their perspective-taking and cross-cultural collaboration, build their capacity to communicate and collaborate with peers of diverse backgrounds, and increase their action orientation.

These powerful student outcomes have been expertly documented by Global Nomads’ external evaluator, Cogent Evaluation, and corroborated by RTI International, an independent, nonprofit research institute. The Stevens Initiative shares our data-driven orientation, and we have been a thought partner in their evaluation working groups aimed at continuously improving methods to assess the impact of virtual exchange for youth participants.

Global Nomads is honored that the Stevens Institute has renewed its funding for the 2021-22 school year. This latest grant will support Student to World, our virtual exchange program that allows youth to participate in an individual self-paced program or as part of a classroom, after-school, community-based organization, or club program. A flexible online course, Student to World engages youth in learning about pressing global issues and creating an action plan to bring about positive change in their communities. 

Student to World participants (ages 12-18) can either enroll in a text-based online course or a video series course, explore topics such as Overcoming Bias, Human Rights, and Mental Health, and exchange stories with one another that make global issues personal, relevant, and actionable.

Our new video series format is designed to meet the needs of marginalized groups, accommodate competing demands on student and educator time, and provide accessibility features such as American Sign Language, captions, and image descriptions. All participants have the opportunity to take part in culminating Live Events to connect with global peers in synchronous 1-hour sessions.

Virtual exchange has the power to transform a young person’s life no matter their age, and, because of that, the Initiative has prioritized funding and research in the K-12 space, including by continuing to fund GNG. “As a pioneer in virtual exchange, Global Nomads Group has demonstrated how dialogue between cultures can help develop tomorrow’s leaders,” said Christine Shiau, Director, the Stevens Initiative.  “Their dedication to creating programs that promote collaboration, empathy, and understanding across difference is notable, and their work has impacted young people around the world. We’re proud to call Global Nomads Group a partner and to support their virtual exchange programs.”


The Stevens Initiative is an international effort to build global competence and career readiness for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa while growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange: online, international, and collaborative learning. The Stevens Initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with funding provided by the U.S. Government, and is administered by the Aspen Institute. It is also supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

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