Diversity & Inclusion

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  • yucatan student in forest
  • group of students at riverside seoul

CIEE’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

CIEE was founded in 1947 to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. We advance that mission by bringing the world together through meaningful exchange programs that build bridges of mutual understanding between people from different cultures. Embracing differences and celebrating diversity is at the heart of all we do.

CIEE is committed to creating an inclusive environment in which our participants and staff represent the full spectrum of backgrounds and experiences, and where every individual is welcomed, supported, and empowered to share their unique perspective.

CIEE demonstrates that all people, of all backgrounds and identities, belong at CIEE by constantly striving to:

  • Nurture an inclusive company culture with a staff that reflects and values diversity
  • Increase access, support, and inclusive programming across all our international education and exchange offerings

For details of our strategy and efforts, read CIEE’s statement of commitment to diversity and inclusion.

What do we mean by diversity?
We mean diversity of identity and background, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual and affectional orientation, gender identity and its expression, religious backgrounds and beliefs, marital status, family structure, pregnancy and maternity, age, mental and physical health and ability, political perspective, and educational and socioeconomic status.

Who at CIEE is working on issues of diversity and inclusion?
From CIEE’s Board of Directors to our participant-facing staff, all of us at CIEE consider it our responsibility to help recruit diverse talent and support an inclusive organizational culture that respects and encourages the sharing of diverse ideas and approaches to advancing CIEE’s mission.

To support a rapidly changing demographic of study abroad participants, in 2019, CIEE’s Study Abroad division established the Inclusive Excellence Task Force (IETF), a group that meets regularly to review data collection on bias and discrimination incidences, and to design mitigations that ensure inclusiveness. The IETF also designs staff training materials and assists in the creation of resources.

Increasing Access to Opportunities

CIEE strives to increase access to the world for students from all countries, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds to prepare the next generation of American and international leaders with the global perspective needed to affect positive change in our interconnected and multicultural world.

To this end, we aim to increase access to study abroad and intercultural exchange programs by breaking down barriers of cost, culture, and curriculum that can stand in the way of participation.

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Access Initiatives for Study Abroad High School and College Students

hsusa student with host family

Access Initiatives for BridgeUSA Exchange Visitors

Supporting the Dynamic Needs of a Diverse Population

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Support for Students Abroad

Data-driven Approach to the Mitigation of Student Risk
In an iterative process, CIEE:

  • Collects data (through incident reports, staff surveys, and other sources) to identify the main challenges that staff and students are facing at each location
  • Defines the problems most urgently in need of intervention.
  • Proposes mitigation strategies, such as staff coaching or the creation of online resources, to combat the bias and discrimination being reported onsite.
  • Measures the effectiveness of implemented interventions against measurable goals, adjusting tactics as needed.

Staff Training
CIEE ensures all Study Abroad staff devote time each year to developing skills and a deeper understanding of topics related to diversity and inclusion. In the past 12 months, all Study Abroad staff have taken the following training sessions:

  • Racism 101
  • Understanding Bias and Managing Micro-Aggressions
  • How to Conduct Challenging Conversations and Foster Civil Discourse
  • Conducting an Inclusive Orientation
  • Brave Classrooms and Spaces
  • Inclusive Student Life Activities
hsusa students at orientation in new york

Support for Participants in the U.S.

CIEE provides BridgeUSA participants an in-depth online orientation about living and working in the United States and CIEE remains in touch with them throughout their program. Should participants run into any issues in their work or living situation, including problems with discrimination or biased treatment, CIEE has on-call support 24 hours a day to address issues and help participants problem solve.

City Specific Resources

Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in their study abroad city.

Fostering Respect for All Cultural Identities

CIEE engages in an ongoing process of updating study abroad and exchange program elements, including courses, workshops, extra-curriculars, communications, and enrichment activities, so they reflect our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

amsterdam students eating on river

Examples of Inclusive CIEE Programming

  • CIEE’s signature Intercultural Leadership and Communication (ICL) course was recently updated to include:
    • greater focus of identity creation and communication
    • more focus on academic writings from theorists and historians from underrepresented communities
    • Black Lives Matter history and context
  • Discussions of cultural identity are woven throughout the programming at CIEE’s Ambassador Johnny and Mrs. Angie Young Fellows Civic Leadership Summit

Developing a Diverse Workforce

ciee staff in washington

CIEE is committed to recruiting and retaining diverse staff at every level of the organization, including advisory groups and the board of directors. We strive to open doors for all people from all backgrounds and identities, and we believe a workforce that reflects the demographics of those whom we serve is critical.

To create and maintain a diverse and inclusive work environment, Human Resources provides support and education, while senior leaders and managers in every department are required to measure their success in advancing our diversity and inclusion objectives.

Historically CIEE has benefited from strong employee diversity in many areas (e.g., gender, national origin, age, and sexual orientation), while other measures of diversity have not kept pace with changing demographics. As we rebuild, we are focused on expanding our racial and ethnic diversity. We make sure that everyone is treated equally, and all applicants are given a truly fair opportunity to join CIEE's team. Therefore, we aspire to have a domestic workforce that includes at least 30% people of color by 2026, and at least 50% people of color by 2031.

Participant Diversity


of 2020-2021 college study abroad participants identify

(Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American/Alaska Native, or multiracial) 32% of our 2020-2021 college study abroad participants are Pell recipients.


of the 2020-2021 high school summer study abroad student cohort are students from diverse racial/ethnic groups


of the 2021 participants in CIEE’s Teach Abroad programs are from diverse racial/ethnic groups

Staff Diversity


Domestic Employee Diversity


Diversity of Domestic New Hires