Increasing the diversity of the study-abroad pool is a key facet of the IDEAS grants.

Georgia State is one of 24 universities (out of 115 applicants) receiving U.S. State Department grants to encourage students of diverse backgrounds to study overseas.  

The so-called IDEAS grants — Increase and Diversify Education Abroad — are used to help ensure a broader set of American students can engage internationally and contribute to U.S. competitiveness and foreign-policy goals.  

Georgia State’s $35,000 grant will be used to boost outreach to Black male students in partnership with the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative, a multifaceted program to improve graduation rates and outcomes through leadership development, skills enrichment, mentorship and student support. 

“When American students study abroad, they support critical U.S. foreign policy goals by building relationships with foreign peers, sharing American culture and values, and developing valuable career skills,” said Marie Royce, assistant secretary of state for the department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in a news release 

The grant will include the creation of a contract study abroad advisor position to work more closely with Black male students and faculty on campus, according to the GSU Office of International Initiatives 

Georgia was the only state with two grant winners from the Capacity Building Program for U.S. Study Abroad.  

Kennesaw State University also received a grant to promote its  Ghana: Gateway to Africa study program, which targets first-generation students, those with disabilities and minorities.  

“We are very excited about the IDEAS Grant which gives a great opportunity to target and facilitate an increased participation of underrepresented students,” Samuel Abaidoo, professor of sociology and co-principal investigator of the grant, said in a release. 

To ensure access to such communities, the recruitment process enlist help from the University System of Georgia Africa Council, Savannah State University and Albany State University 

In Spring 2021, selected students will participate in a three-week program in Ghana on the West African nation’s culture, economy and relationship with the U.S., according to KSU’s Division of Global Affairs 

In 2012-13, Kennesaw State focused on Ghana as part of its “Year of…” program, eventually prompting a visit from then-President John Dramani Mahama. Global Atlanta traveled to Ghana in advance of the program to look at ties between Atlanta and the country.  

The grants come at a time when virtually all study-abroad programs have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which cut short many students’ semesters abroad.  

Many U.S. companies and institutions are also re-evaluating how to provide better access to minorities in the wake of sweeping protests over racial violence and police brutality in many American cities.  

Editor’s note: Kennesaw State University’s Division of Global Affairs is an annual sponsor of Global Atlanta. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...