The United States Agency for International Development recently gave a $50 million grant to the Georgetown Center for Intercultural Education Development to fund its Scholarships for Education and Economic Development program.
The university announced this gift on Feb. 3 in a press release.
USAID typically provides grants for programs aimed at helping people in poorer areas of the world. SEED is set to begin in August 2009.
“[SEED brings] disadvantaged youths from Central America and the Caribbean to study at community colleges for two years. It also has an employment program for the youths when they return to their countries,” said Chantal Santelices, director of CIED.
The program allows youths from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua to study agriculture, business, health, education, information technologies and other fields that will enable them to be successful upon return to their home country. The students will also be given the opportunity to enroll in English as a second language and leadership courses.
Santelices emphasized the importance of this program, as well as the nature of the grant given by USAID.
“This is a very important program for CIED. SEED embodies the mission of the center to train young people and find employment. [It emphasizes] social justice and empowerment through education and training,” she said.
USAID currently funds many similar initiatives in Latin America. It previously sponsored CIED’s Cooperative Association of States for Scholarships program, which preceded SEED. The CASS program provided training for more than 6,000 students from low-income and rural areas in Central America and the Caribbean. CIED and the university hope that with the help of USAID, the SEED program will be as or more successful.
“This grant funds the important work of CIED in carrying out educational opportunities for many students from foreign countries,” university spokesperson Julie Bataille said. “Georgetown is certainly pleased that CIED’s efforts are recognized with this grant funding – it speaks to the high caliber of their work and the success of the educational opportunities they provide to students who participate in their programs.”
USAID could not be reached for comment.