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Winners of exchange alumni grants announced.

Fifty winners have been selected to receive grants this year from the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF), an annual online project competition involving alumni of U.S. government-funded exchange programs. Winners were chosen by a panel that included representatives of the relevant regional bureau and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in a process that allowed voting by program alumni.

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ECA uses the program to remain engaged with exchange alumni. "By remaining engaged with our exchange participants, we sustain and multiply the impact of the initial exchange many times over," said ECA Alumni Affairs Division Director Lisa Heilbronn.

AEIF grants are used to carry out public service projects in which alumni apply the skills and knowledge they gained during their exchange. Participants submitted nearly 700 projects to the State Alumni website (http://alumni.state.gov) in this year's competition, involving more than 7,000 alumni from 115 countries. The projects support entrepreneurship, women's issues, outreach to underserved communities and youth engagement. One winning group in the Baltics will map heating bills through crowdsourcing, an idea it picked up during its exchange program in New York City. A project in Pakistan will involve women, youth and minorities in the democratic process, while one in Ghana will provide innovative training for Ghanaian women entrepreneurs.

One of the 2011 grant winners, Do Minh Thuy, is a Vietnamese woman who studied at the Indiana University School of Journalism under ECA's Fulbright Foreign Student Program. After returning to Vietnam, Minh won an AEIF grant that helped her form a network of high-profile media professionals who provide training to increase the professionalism and ethical standards of Vietnamese journalists.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently met Minh during a trip to Vietnam. At a celebration of Fulbright's 20th anniversary in the country, the Secretary noted that "... today, [Minh's] team has run workshops with over 2,300 participants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. So one person, one scholarship, has that kind of ripple effect in just one area of Vietnamese life."

More information on the AEIF and other programs that amplify the impact of exchange programs is at exchanges.state.gov/alumni/aeif.html.

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Title Annotation:In the News
Publication:State Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2012
Words:363
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