The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) was founded in 1947, in the wake of World War II, to advance peace through people-to-people exchange. To celebrate 75 years of building bridges of respect and mutual understanding across cultures, CIEE presented 75 CIEE Bridge Builder Awards to those individuals and institutions – from host families to study abroad advisors, from politicians to employers – whose efforts and influence over the last 75 years have strengthened international education and exchange.
Indiana University and Kathleen Sideli were both honored to be chosen as recipients for advancing peace by strengthening intercultural exchange programs.
IU was one of only eight U.S. based colleges and universities to receive this honor for connecting students with transformative experiences abroad. IU has been an active and engaged partner with CIEE since the 1970s. When CIEE began offering its first study abroad programs in Paris, Rennes, Seville, and St. Petersburg, IU served as a School of Record. Later, as CIEE expanded its programming into Central Europe and Latin America, IU embraced the new sites, granting direct IU credit for those programs. Later, IU did the same for new programs CIEE developed in Asia and Africa. To date, more than 3,000 Indiana University students have studied abroad with CIEE.
When, as part of a IIE Generation Study Abroad pledge, CIEE introduced a Passport Caravan program that provides free passports for students underrepresented in study abroad, IU embraced that effort, by matching CIEE grants and helping CIEE reach hundreds of underrepresented IU students through widely publicized and well-organized campus events.
Over the years, senior staff from the IU’s Office of Overseas Study as well as IU faculty have routinely served on CIEE committees, attended CIEE conferences, participated in program evaluations and contributed as presenters. Over the past two decades, IU staff have also served on both the CIEE Academic Consortium Board and the CIEE Board of Directors, notably, another Bridge Builder Award recipient, Kathleen Sideli.
CIEE honored Sideli as a Champion of International Exchange for her decades of actively supporting and growing study abroad, both at Indiana University, where she is Associate Vice President for Overseas Study, and nationally through various organizations.
Sideli was a founding member and the first president of the Forum on Education Abroad; has contributed to NAFSA and other publications; and launched the National Data Collection Initiative through the IIE and NAFSA’s Section on U.S. Students Abroad (SECUSSA). She also served on the National Review Panel of the Gilman International Scholarship Program, the Curriculum Committee of IES Abroad, and other advisory boards.
Sideli’s relationship with CIEE is long-standing. She received CIEE’s recognition for “Outstanding Contribution to the Field and Dedication to the Mission of CIEE” in 1999. She became a member of the CIEE Academic Consortium Board (ACB) in 2002 and was elected ACB Chair in 2008, representing the ACB on the CIEE Board of Directors until 2010. She subsequently officially joined the CIEE Board of Directors in 2012.
“In addition to directly impacting the lives of students—many of whom are still in touch with me—I have visited over 30 countries and been in leadership positions with international education organizations, most currently with CIEE. Study abroad has dominated my life for over 50 years, and I have loved every minute of it. It is my belief that study abroad is one of the best ways to bring people of the world together so they can eventually tackle the myriad global issues facing us all.” – Kathleen Sideli
This award comes just as IU will soon be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of IU’s Office of Overseas Study along with Sideli’s retirement after more than four decades of service to the unit.