Washington, D.C. – The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation has announced a grant to Cultural Vistas to provide scholarships for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to travel to East Africa in 2024 for short term immersion courses. Funding will support Connect with Rwanda: Understanding International Development in East Africa, an annual program that is part of Cultural Vistas’ Bridge to Access initiatives, which aim to reduce the barriers of participation for persons historically under-represented in international exchange experiences.
“We are delighted to partner with Cultural Vistas and HBCUs like Morehouse College and Spelman College to provide scholarships for students participating in this unique new program. East Africa has long been neglected by study abroad administrators and we believe this program will increase understanding of the people, culture, history, and language of this region,” said Bill Gertz, Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation Trustee and Chairman of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).
The program, which began in 2023, as a partnership between Cultural Vistas and the Global Livingston Institute, aims to expand beyond its founding participant universities to include new HBCU partners. Funding from the Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation makes this growth possible.
“Cultural Vistas is proud of our partnerships with Minority-Serving Institutions in the U.S., which over the past few decades have enabled hundreds of students to experience their first professional exchange abroad. We are very grateful to the Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation for its support of our newest programs for these students to Rwanda, which will make such professional and leadership development possible for a whole new generation of students,” said Jennifer Clinton, President and CEO of Cultural Vistas.
The foundation has roots in Sir Cyril Taylor’s commitment and connection to the continent of Africa, where he spent time as a small child and later as a young adult. He was one of those lucky and rare individuals whose whole life was an international exchange.
Many young people today have no possibility to even consider going abroad without explicit financial support, time to travel, and opportunity itself. Additionally, the continent of Africa is not amongst the top destinations for study abroad nor for immersive global exchange. Cultural Vistas believes that together with its partners, it can change that trajectory.
Dr. Dimeji Togunde, Vice Provost for Global Education at Spelman College, an HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia, states that Cultural Vistas’ East Africa Program “aligns with our commitment to enhance students’ intercultural awareness and leadership skills. Spelman students were able to immerse themselves in the rich culture and history of Rwanda through their engagement with local and urban communities.”
About Cultural Vistas
Cultural Vistas leverages the power of international exchange to connect lives, enhance skills, and drive positive change. Since 1963, our international exchange programs have nurtured over 160,000 alumni in more than 130 countries around the world. They inspire us to envision a world full of culturally curious and globally adaptive leaders who are equipped to address the complex challenges we face. Learn more at culturalvistas.org.