Santander Bank-Sponsored Competition Funds Eight New Higher Education Partnerships

Washington, DC
Tuesday, October 4, 2016



For Immediate Release

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces Winning Institutions
Santander Bank-Sponsored Competition Funds Eight New Higher Education Partnerships

The White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced the Innovation Fund grant winners of the Santander Bank, N.A.-sponsored competition of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. These Innovation Fund winners will be celebrated at an event in Newport, Rhode Island at Salve Regina University, one of the eight grant winners.

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas, President Obama’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere is to facilitate student mobility throughout the Americas with new programs that will increase the number of U.S. students going to the Western Hemisphere to 100,000 and bring 100,000 students from the Western Hemisphere region to study in the United States on an annual basis by 2020.  The goals of the initiative are to enhance hemispheric competitiveness, stimulate regional education cooperation, and prepare students to be more globally competent for the 21st century workforce.

This is the third in four sets of Innovation Fund grant competitions supported by Santander Bank through its Santander Universities program. This competition was open to higher education institutions in all countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and to all academic fields of study. The winning institutions will create new innovative partnerships that will increase student mobility to and from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, provide technical training, and prepare students to be more globally competent for the 21st workforce.

The Innovation Fund grant awards facilitate new institutional partnerships between higher education institutions throughout the Americas. The Innovation Fund awards are $25,000 each and will leverage commitments from winning university teams to increase student mobility, provide training in various academic fields, and provide students with unique opportunities to participate in study abroad programs. It is expected that over 120 students will study abroad as a result of the eight awards given.

The Innovation Fund grant awards were given to:

College of Staten Island, CUNY, New York, United States
Strategic Partner:  Universidad de Iberoamerica, Costa Rica
Project Title: Transcultural Learning and Global Health Sciences: Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica and New York City, USA

The College of Staten Island will extend the traditional study abroad model to a student-centered, service-learning and collaborative-research dual exchange in health sciences. The program will familiarize students studying nursing, physical therapy, or other related fields from the U.S. and Costa Rica with the theoretical framework underpinning transcultural health care provision, provide hands-on experiences through direct field observations, increase language skills, broaden and deepen students’ understanding of Latin American and U.S. cultures, and strengthen ties between the College of Staten Island and Universidad de Iberoamerica. Students engaged in this program will complete projects leading to participation in the CSI Undergraduate Research Conference.

Louisiana State University, Louisiana, United States
Strategic Partner:  Universidad Nacional de Agricultura, Honduras
Project Title: Building Friendship, Collaboration and Innovation through Shared Student International Agricultural Experiences:  A Study Abroad Exchange Program for Students from the National Agriculture University of Honduras and the Louisiana State University College of Agriculture

Louisiana State University (LSU), in partnership with Universidad Nacional de Agricultura (UNAG), will build a study abroad program for students from both institutions to receive degree credit. The program will allow students to develop new connections and knowledge about agriculture in both Louisiana and Honduras, and more importantly, develop and cultivate in students the competencies required for success in international agriculture in the 21st century. UNAG will specifically recruit students from underrepresented target groups who have demonstrated interest and ability to succeed in a university setting, including low-income households from the poorest municipalities in the country, rural farmer’s associations, indigenous and Afro-Honduran populations.

Marian University, Indiana, United States
Strategic Partner:  Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Project Title: Women’s Rights and Women’s Empowerment in the Western Hemisphere: A Global Perspective

Marian University will create a new, interdisciplinary study abroad and research program for U.S. undergraduates in Brazil focusing on the core principle of equality of the rights of women. Students from a wide range of academic disciplines will study the impact of international charters and diverse efforts of people, organizations, and communities in Brazil and the United States to eliminate discrimination against women, empower women and girls, and achieve equality between women and men in the specific context of Brazil. The program is designed to give students problem-centered experiences, knowledge, and skills—and most importantly, creative partnerships with their international peers—to wrestle with the issue of gender equity in the world today.

Salve Regina University, Rhode Island, United States
Strategic Partner: Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, Dominican Republic; Center for International Educational Exchange (CIEE), U.S.
Project Title: Spanish for the Health & Service Professions:  Preparing Students to Serve Local Communities through Immersion & Service in the Hispanic Caribbean

Salve Regina University will develop a Minor in Spanish for the Health & Service professions. This is the first time the institution has tied a specific study abroad program as a requirement to a minor and chosen the specific destination with an eye to the local demographic. The new program will incorporate required degree credit, summer study and service program in the Dominican Republic. By developing students’ Spanish language skills and knowledge of Hispanic Caribbean cultures, students will be prepared to better serve the local populations in Rhode Island, southern New England, and other metropolitan areas nationally. In addition, by focusing on majors that traditionally have a curricular barrier to semester study abroad and offering a cost-effective, purposeful, summer option for immersive study abroad, the program will achieve a substantial increase in mobility rates to the Western Hemisphere while putting in place an infrastructure for continuous growth from these majors between the regions in subsequent years.

Towson University, Maryland, United States
Strategic Partners: Universidad de Piura, Peru
Project Title: “It Isn’t Easy Being Green: Peruvian and U.S. Students Tackle Local Environmental Sustainability in a Transnational Context”

Towson University proposes an innovative, reciprocal study abroad program in Maryland and Peru. Students will spend several weeks on both campuses in intensive language learning courses and engaged in service-learning projects in environmental sustainability. Students will collaborate on environmental projects completed on campus and in the communities of Piura, Peru and Towson, Maryland that will lead to concrete and operational solutions to particular problems. The design of the program will also capitalize on Internet technologies in order to maximize the learning opportunities and potential for collaboration among participants.

Universidad EAN, Colombia
Strategic Partner: University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas, United States
Project Title: Faculty-led Study Abroad for Environmental Engineering

Universidad EAN and the University of Texas San Antonio propose to establish a short-term, reciprocal, faculty-led program in the area of Environmental Engineering, covering specific topics of Soil Contaminant. Students will have the opportunity to advance their language requirements for graduation, assess the different possible approaches to solve common sustainability problems, and share best practices in the field.

Universidad Tecnologica de Tijuana, México
Strategic Partner: Southwestern College, California, United States
Project Title: ILMEXUS: Building a Cali-Baja Binational International Logistics Workforce

Universidad Tecnológica de Tijuana’s program takes advantage of the geographic proximity between the two border institutions to reduce the cost of study abroad, tie the program to the business needs of the field of international logistics, and pave the way to a double degree. Through the program, students will have the option to complete an international internship in one of the supporting companies. The program is catered towards students in the field of international logistics, who possess the linguistic fluency, bicultural background, and technical knowledge to operate efficiently on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Vancouver Island University, Canada
Strategic Partner: Pitzer College, California, United States
Project Title: Vancouver Island and Pitzer College Indigenous Student and Innovation Exchange

Through the program, Vancouver Island University and Pitzer College will bring together two established indigenous mentorship programs to increase Aboriginal student access to and retention in post-secondary education. The program goes beyond the standard approach to academics, drawing on Native North American scholars and Elders’ wisdom to contribute cultural knowledge and traditional ways of learning within the academic environment. Students in the program will be encouraged to find their voice and vision for cultural reclamation and sovereignty. The primary goal of this partnership is to develop an exchange program for indigenous youth to learn more about higher education in both the United States and Canada.


The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is a public-private collaboration of the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in January 2014.  Since then, 78 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 168 higher education institutions from 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Follow the Innovation Fund on Twitter and Facebook via #100KStrongAmericas.

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964 under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at or via Twitter @partnersamerica.

With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education. Learn more at and and on Twitter at @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.

Santander Bank, N.A. is one of the country’s top retail and commercial banks by deposits and a wholly owned subsidiary of Banco Santander, S.A. - one of the most respected banking groups in the world. With its corporate offices in Boston, Santander Bank’s more than 670 branches and nearly 2,100 ATMs are principally located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The Bank’s 9,400 employees are committed to helping our more than 2.1 million customers make progress toward their financial goals with the support of our call centers, interactive online banking platform and easy-to-use mobile app. Madrid-based Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN), serves more than 117 million customers in the U.K., Europe, Latin America and the U.S. Through its local affiliates, including Santander Bank, Banco Santander is the largest corporate contributor to higher education in the world, investing over $165 million annually in colleges and universities across more than 20 countries, including the U.S. For more information on Santander Bank, please visit