The Canadian Studies Center, housed at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, has been selected to receive funding support from the U.S. Department of State’s Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students (IDEAS) Program. The University of Washington is one of 44 colleges and universities across the United States that will use the IDEAS grants to create, expand, and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. This U.S. Government program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported in its implementation by World Learning.
The $35,000 grant, developed in partnership with the UW Center for American Indian & Indigenous Studies and titled “International Indigenous Paths: Building Community Across the Canada-U.S. Border,” will develop pathways and programming that allows student advisers and host schools to create an encouraging, conducive environment for Indigenous students. The one-year grant begins September 2022.
“American Indian and Alaska Native students at the UW are the most underrepresented group in both enrollment and study abroad,” said Canadian Studies Center Exchange Programs Manager Marion Ferguson, who saw a gap – and opportunity – while overseeing the Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange Program. “While students in that program have a clear interest in learning about their First Nations and Native American neighbors, few Indigenous students have participated or applied.” Although other non-white student groups at the UW have increased their study abroad participation in the past decade, she noted, Indigenous participation has remained stagnant.
The International Indigenous Paths program will be an innovative pathway for Indigenous students at the UW to increase their participation in study abroad by creating a familiar, supportive, and welcoming community at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Through collaborations with key units at both universities and our demonstrated commitment to Indigenous students, it aims to equip a cohort of Indigenous undergraduates with the tools to successfully navigate the study abroad experience and pave the way for future students to do the same.
Canadian Studies Center Faculty Director Patrick Christie will lead the project with Ferguson and Nadine Fabbi, Managing Director of the Canadian Studies Center, as Co-Primary Investigators. Other collaborators include the UW Center for American Indian & Indigenous Studies and UW Study Abroad. Activities will range from helping students navigate international travel, gain information and tools to apply to study abroad programs, and community-building on site at the University of British Columbia. The program will partner with the Native UW Scholars Program, known as NUW, to guide students through the process of preparing for cross-border travel to Canada.
“As a U.S. Department of Education designated National Resource Center, this grant project supports our Center’s vision to serve as a platform for enhancing Indigenous perspectives and voices in international relations including right here in our Salish Sea region. The Center is excited to work with our partners to create a path between UW to UBC for our Indigenous undergraduate students,” said Fabbi.