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Colin Powell School Hosts Students in New Exchange Program with the State of Yucatan

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
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Colin Powell School Hosts Students in New Exchange Program with the State of Yucatan

In the last week of March, Dean Vince Boudreau and Professor Jim Biles of the International Studies program traveled to the State of Yucatan, Mexico. There, after months of planning with the government and state-sponsored Council for Science, Innovation and Technology of the State of Yucatan, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership officially signed a memorandum of understanding to partner in a multi-faceted exchange program that will enrich and empower students in both countries.

The program will launch in mere weeks, beginning with a month-long summer leadership training course for a cohort of Mayan women—all college graduates—who are interested in pursuing graduate studies. The students will identify a social or socioeconomic problem in their villages, form working groups and initial development while still in the Yucatan, and then spend four weeks with the Colin Powell School working on solutions. While in the United States, the women will also undertake intensive English language classes, learn more about graduate study at CCNY, and have the chance to explore New York City. After this “incubation period,” the students will return home with new knowledge, networks, and tools to complete their projects, and will have a better sense of what The City College of New York has to offer, and which graduate programs best fit their interests and professional goals. 

The four-week program serves to acclimate the students to our university environment with the intention that many of these same students, one year down the road, will enter our graduate programs, supported by government-funded scholarships in their home country. But for all the students—those who return as CCNY graduate students and those who do not—the one month program will help develop a program of activity that they can implement when they return home, and cultivate a supporting network among the cohort members. 

Additionally, Colin Powell School students, working as summer interns, will either partner with the visiting students on their projects, or provide support for the project development. The partnership with the Council for Science, Innovation and Technology of the State of Yucatan will also afford NYC-based Colin Powell Students new opportunities for study abroad and service-learning courses, already emphasized by the International Studies program. 

The partnership is funded by the government in the State of Yucatan for the next three years. We intend on expanding the numbers of Mexican students entering the bridge program, possibly doubling the size of each incoming cohort, and offering scholarships for students entering our graduate programs. We also hope to develop a deeper set of opportunities for NYC-based students to travel and work in Mexico alongside CCNY professors, a plan modeled on the success of service-learning trips Professor Biles has organized in Yucatan over the past several years. 

The exchange program with the State of Yucatan is built on a solid foundation of passionate, engaged faculty at the Colin Powell School, and interdisciplinary relationships with City College divisions, programs, institutes, and initiatives. And it's driven by our mission: adopting problem-based approaches to education; promoting the values of service, engagement, and leadership; and fostering solutions that further, equality, prosperity, stability, and peace around the globe.