InterExchange Foundation Awards Christianson Grants to Three Deserving Americans

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The InterExchange Foundation is pleased to announce the three new recipients of Christianson Grants in 2013. The recipients received grants for their work in Disaster Relief, International Education & Development and Social Justice & Refugee Rights.

The InterExchange Foundation is pleased to announce the three new recipients of Christianson Grants in 2013.

Disaster Relief, Haiti

Diplomacy and humanitarian aid are part of every day life in Port au Prince, but for Katherine B., “traditional diplomacy must be accompanied by cross-cultural exchange and understanding…I know that understanding is often impossible without true immersion and partnership.”

Katherine is currently working as a Communications and Programs Coordinator for AMURTEL Haiti in an assignment lasting from January 2013 to January 2014. Based in Port au Prince, an area that continues to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake, AMURTEL manages a children’s home and schools as well as microfinance and disaster relief programs, which provide both immediate and long-term assistance for community members. Working alongside Haitian staff, Katherine sees the benefits of her hard work while also developing valuable skills she can apply to her career in the U.S.

The Christianson Grant will allow Katherine to remain in Haiti for an entire year where she hopes to make a lasting impact on her host community, improve her Spanish, and learn about Haitian culture.

International Education and Development, Spain

As a Fulbright scholar in 2012, Michael H. worked as an English language instructor and Model UN coordinator in Spain. Michael has received a Christianson Grant that will enable him to apply the skills he gained in his previous position to an unpaid internship at Helsinki Espana in Madrid. Helsinki Espana is a non-governmental organization that educates young adults about human rights issues throughout the world. In his new role, Michael will continue to follow his passion in international education and development by coordinating classes and workshops on human rights for primary, high school and university students and assisting with many other aspects of running the organization.

Michael says, “The Christianson Grant is the perfect opportunity for me to continue to pursue my passion for the intersection between International Development and Education…There is nothing more invigorating than standing up in front of a classroom of students ethnically or culturally different from yourself, and truly learning from each other.”

Social Justice and Refugee Rights, Ecuador

As a full-time volunteer in Ecuador, Elizabeth W. looks forward to the challenges and lessons of immersing herself in a new cultural setting and preparing for a career in human rights advocacy.

Growing up in a rural county in North Carolina, Elizabeth has been working to increase her global perspective by working with various communities in the United States and in countries like Tanzania, Mexico and Ecuador. As a volunteer and mentor for refugees, an ESL tutor and a volunteer interpreter, Elizabeth has learned “the importance of direct service work and volunteerism for working toward social justice in marginalized communities.”

Elizabeth will work for nine months as a full-time Volunteer Leadership Associate with Asylum Access Ecuador, an international nonprofit organization that promotes social justice and refugee rights. In Ecuador, Elizabeth will be working with the refugee community in Quito and across the country to promote cross-cultural understanding within Ecuadoran society.

Upon her return to the U.S., Elizabeth will utilize her experience with AAE towards a career in international refugee law and human rights advocacy. Elizabeth says, “This opportunity stood out to me because I hope to work in advocacy for immigrants and refugees in my own country and around the world, especially through improving access to services.”

The next Christianson Grant deadline is October 15, 2013. Applicants can visit the InterExchange Foundation website for more information about applying for up to $10,000 in grant funding for international projects of six months or more.

InterExchange is a nonprofit organization committed to improving international understanding by facilitating life-changing, exceptional cultural exchange experiences for young people, businesses and families around the world. As both a J-1 Visa sponsor designated by the U.S. Department of State and a cross‐cultural ambassador, we develop meaningful relationships with participants from more than 60 countries as well as with international cooperating agencies, host employers and families. We ensure that all in our community are treated with respect and consideration and are supported by staff with firsthand experience living and working abroad.

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Media Contact: Ron Hernandez | 917.305.5460 | press(at)interexchange(dot)org

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