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Exchange 2.0 is a critical next step in international education and exchange that leverages the power of new technologies to vastly increase the number and diversity of students who have a profound cross-cultural experience as part of their education. At this event, policy-makers, funders, researchers and program implementers from the Exchange 2.0 coalition met to present and discuss new research on the impact of virtual exchange programs and explored opportunities for public-private collaborations to scale up this untapped resource.

Read the event coverage, USIP Hosts Conference Looking At Impact, Expansion of Virtual Exchanges

Exchange 2.0 is a critical next step in international education and exchange that leverages the power of new technologies to vastly increase the number and diversity of students who have a profound cross-cultural experience as part of their education. The pressing need to multiply constructive people-to-people connections and build bridges across divided cultures is clear. And yet, in recent years, the pressure to expand exchange opportunities has collided with a resource-constrained environment in which all programming outside core priorities has come under renewed scrutiny.

Virtual exchange provides a possible solution: high-impact, affordable, cross-cultural exchange programs with the potential to reach the more than 98 percent of young adults who will not participate in a physical exchange or study abroad program.

At this event, policy-makers, funders, researchers and program implementers from the Exchange 2.0 coalition met to present and discuss new research that demonstrates the shift away from hostile attitudes that virtual exchange programs can produce. These experts also explored opportunities for public-private collaborations to scale up this untapped resource for reaching out to publics in countries where relations are strained and long term conflict management strategies are needed. 

2:00pm – 2:20pm: Welcome & Introduction

  • Jim Marshall - President, USIP
  • Sheldon Himelfarb, Director, Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict, & Peace-building, USIP

2:20pm – 2:45pm: Her Majesty Queen Noor Al Hussein

2:45pm – 3:30pm  Research on the Impact of Virtual Exchanges

  • Rebecca Saxe, Founder & Director, Saxelab Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, MIT

3:30pm – 3:55pm: Tara Sonenshine, Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State


4:00pm – 5:30pm: How Public-Private Partnerships Can Bring Virtual Exchanges to Scale

  • Adam Ereli, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Andrew Cedar, Director for Global Engagement, National Security Council
  • Jackie Bezos, Co-Director, Bezos Family Foundation
  • Lucas Welch, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Soliya
  • Maggie Mitchell Salem, Executive Director, Qatar Foundation International
  • Toni Verstandig, Chair, Middle East Programs, The Aspen Institute (Moderator)

5:30pm - 6:30pm: Reception

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