Stevens Initiative grants funding to Ajman University


Young people from the US and the Middle East and North Africa will expand world views through virtual exchanges implemented by new Stevens Initiative grantees

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Published: Fri 24 Jun 2022, 11:50 AM

Stevens Initiative announced that Ajman University is one of its newest grantees to receive funding for virtual exchanges between young people in the US and the Middle East and North Africa. Ajman University’s Actualising Youth Mobility to lead and innovate in the 21st century is one of four new Stevens Initiative-funded exchanges. Funding has been awarded to select institutions based in the UAE, including Ajman University, for virtual exchanges that will give young people experiential learning opportunities to explore topics impacting their local and global communities.

Ajman University’s AYM: Actualizing Youth Mobility to Lead and Innovate in the 21st Century is a collaborative virtual exchange programme that fosters intercultural understanding, creative collaborations, and meaningful communication among students. The programme enables students to explore the everyday cultural contexts of their peers from around the world. Innovative themed prompts encourage students to voice their opinions on global concerns, engage in purposeful dialogue with their peers, and propose sustainable solutions to global issues. This stimulates critical thinking, preparing students to successfully lead and innovate in the 21st century.

Christine Shiau, director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute, said: “We are excited to add these new programmes to a long list of unique virtual exchanges that contribute to our vision of providing an opportunity to empower young people to drive positive change for our future. Each grantee works to create the next generation of globally-minded leaders, using virtual exchange as a tool to teach young people about the world around them."

Virtual exchange prepares young people for their future lives and careers by exposing them to global, collaborative environments where they can develop friendships, build skills, and take on new perspectives. Together, these new virtual exchange programmes will immerse young people in topics such as linguistics and the study of symbols, storytelling, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and some of the world’s most pressing global concerns.

With the addition of Ajman University, the initiative will expand its total reach by summer 2023 to nearly 75,000 young people in 17 MENA countries and the Palestinian Territories, and in 49 US states, Puerto Rico, five tribal communities, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C. Overall, 91 grantees have partnered with the Initiative between 2016 and today.

Dr Karim Seghir, chancellor at Ajman University, said: “Ajman University is delighted to partner with the Stevens Initiative in this innovative venture that uses the power of technology and global collaboration to create meaningful exchanges among youth across boundaries and cultures. Ajman University is committed to nurturing our students into leaders with a strong grasp of multiculturalism, global issues and perspectives, so that they can contribute to a sustainable future for their communities and for the world."

Other grants include:

  • American University of Sharjah's Transformative Sustainability Project (TSP) gives undergraduate college students in the UAE and the US the tools to transform their local and global contexts into more sustainable communities in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • American University of Sharjah’s Virtual Language Exchange provides participants in the UAE and the US a unique cross-cultural experience by examining diverse worldviews, languages, and cultures while critically thinking about media representations that shape their world knowledge.
  • RAK American Academy’s Scheherazade Project brings together 10th and 11th grade girls from the UAE and the US to explore the role their female ancestors played in their lives.

Learn more about the Stevens Initiative, which receives support from additional funders and is administered by the Aspen Institute at

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