100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Announces Winning Institutions

Coca-Cola Foundation Funds New Higher Education Partnerships in Environmental Science

unnamedWashington, DC: October 25, 2016. The White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced the Innovation Fund grant winners of the Coca-Cola Foundation-sponsored competition of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund. This Innovation Fund grant competition focused on creating new study abroad programs between the United States and Latin America in the field of environmental science, with an emphasis on water. These Innovation Fund grant winners were announced during the opening reception of the Partners of the Americas’ Convention in Guadalajara, Mexico.


The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson remarked, “The Innovation Fund is providing amazing opportunities to universities and students. It is stimulating new partnerships among universities across the Americas. As a result, more students from the United States are studying in Latin America and collaborating on research teams across the region, and more students from Latin America are studying and working collaboratively in the United States – ultimately enhancing regional competitiveness. That is something we should all support, and we thank Coca-Cola Foundation for being one of our earliest, strongest supporters.”

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas, President Obama’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere is to facilitate new partnerships between higher education institutions to increase student mobility throughout the Americas with new programs that will increase the number of U.S. students studying in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000 and bring 100,000 students from the Western Hemisphere to study in the United States on an annual basis by 2020. The goals of the initiative are to enhance hemispheric competitiveness, stimulate regional education cooperation, and prepare students to be more globally competent for the 21st century workforce.

“Being part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund demonstrates that by working together we can achieve greater results and reflects the Mexican Coca-Cola Industry’s commitment to seek comprehensive and permanent solutions to address current global issues, generating a positive difference for future generations based on the generation of knowledge,” shared Vivian Alegría, Community Affairs and Coca-Cola Mexico Foundation Director.

This is the second grant competition supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation. This Innovation Fund grant competition was open to higher education institutions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and the United States which promote study abroad programs in the field of environmental science, with an emphasis on water. The winning institutions will create new innovative partnerships that will increase student mobility to and from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States; provide technical training; and prepare students to be more globally competent for the 21st century workforce.

The Innovation Fund grant awards facilitate new institutional partnerships between higher education institutions throughout the Americas. The Innovation Fund awards are $25,000 each and will leverage commitments from winning university teams to increase student mobility, provide training in various academic fields, and provide students with unique opportunities to participate in study abroad programs. It is expected that over 115 students will study abroad as a result of the eight awards given.

The Innovation Fund grant awards were given to:

GateWay Community College, Arizona, United States

Strategic Partner: Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico

Project Title: US/Mexico Bidirectional Study Abroad Program in Water


GateWay Community College has partnered with Universidad de Guanajuato to create a bi-directional study abroad program in water. The comprehensive student experience will include classroom instruction, hands-on lab activities, local water source excursions, industry presentations and tours, networking receptions, contextualized language instruction, and cultural events. Water Resources Technologies knowledge gained and exchanged will not only impact the students involved, but it will allow faculty from each country to enhance and expand their programs to better prepare students to work in the water industry.

Oregon State University, Oregon, United States

Strategic Partner: Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile

Project Title: Mountains to the Sea: Conservation and Management of Water and Forest Resources in Chile


Oregon State University and Universidad Austral de Chile have fostered a strong bilateral partnership that will leverage the grant funds to reach a broad cross-section of students. The study abroad program will take advantage of a unique integration of ecological and hydrological research, with management efforts in native and plantation forests, in order to provide a unique opportunity for students to compare the Pacific Northwest and Chilean ecosystems, which has played a key role in the development of convergent evolution theory, biogeography, and plant ecology. Guided by a bi-national academic team, the field course will engage U.S. and Chilean students in issues of ecological sustainability, stewardship of water resources, and the implications of climate change for our forests and watersheds.


Pitt Community College, North Carolina, United States

Strategic Partners: Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico; Eastern Carolina University, United States

Project Title: WATER Scholars: Water Awareness through Environmental Research


The overarching goal of the Pitt Community College and Universidad Veracruzana program is to help students develop global competencies regarding the impact that water conservation has on the environment in both the U.S. and Mexico. This project will provide opportunities for students to engage in bi-directional study focusing on water ecology and service learning through faculty-led, guided water ecology research activities located in eastern North Carolina and in Veracruz, Mexico.


Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, Parana, Brazil

Strategic Partner: University of North Texas, Texas

Project Title: Ensuring the local availability of clean water through graduate student research
and learning in Parana and Texas


Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa, in partnership with the University of North Texas and with the support of the Water and Sanitation Company of the State of Parana (SANEPAR) in Brazil and the City of Denton’s Texas Water and Wastewater treatment plants, will implement a unique graduate study abroad program that will focus on addressing a problem of critical importance for Brazil and the U.S. Through the program, students will learn the environmental impacts of ammonia in water supply sources, its effects on the water treatment process, and the availability of water for human consumption.


University of Arizona, Arizona, United States

Strategic Partners: Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil; Universidade Federal Minas Gerais, Brazil; Universidad de Concepción, Chile; Universidad Autónoma Nacional de México, Mexico

Project Title: Graduate Student Mobility for Water Quality and Reuse in the Americas


Through the grant, the University of Arizona will establish a thematic cluster consisting of five higher education institution partners from four countries that will collaborate to develop a harmonized and complementary curriculum in environmental engineering and science to prepare the next generation cadre of professionals to be equipped to address the problem of water reuse, and to develop and implement water reuse technologies and practices in an international setting. The coordinated curriculum is intended to facilitate two-year dual degree MS programs, which will promote and enable graduate student mobility between universities in the cluster.


University of Illinois Springfield, Illinois, United States

Strategic Partner: Universidade Estadual de Maringa, Brazil

Project Title: Conservation or Restoration: Studying Two Large Rivers in the Americas


The University of Illinois Springfield program provides both a study abroad experience with an undergraduate research experience in the area of environmental science and water, in particular, river ecology. It combines an online course, based on the local environmental water resources of the U.S. and Brazil, with an ongoing international collaborative research agenda in the context of a bi-directional student exchange program. Students will work with real datasets, learn from river ecologists and river management professionals, and experience field studies on two large rivers in the Americas.

University of Texas El Paso, Texas, United States

Strategic Partners: Universidad Autónoma de Mexico – Centro de Investigaciones sobre América del Norte at the, Mexico; Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Canada

Project Title: A Holistic Approach to Environmental and Water Challenges in the Mexico City Metropolitan Region: A Study Abroad Opportunity for Non-Traditional Minority Students


The University of Texas El Paso’s program is designed to provide an integrated and appropriate study abroad experience that combines enhanced classroom and data-gathering field research experience. It will offer students a holistic overview of the water management challenges facing the México City metropolitan area and Paso del Norte, a region that includes El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, in the Mexican Chihuahua border region. The activities will set the foundation for a sustainable and collaborative research-based study abroad program that addresses the challenges faced by non-traditional minority students while preparing the environmental scientists and policymakers of the future.

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States                        

Strategic Partner: Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile

Project Title: Establishment of a University of Wisconsin- Green Bay (US)-Universidad del Desarrollo (Chile) Bi-Directional Travel Course: Environmental Engineering Issues- Water Emphasis


The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Universidad del Desarrollo bi-directional travel course presents innovations in the type of study abroad opportunity, the student experience, and the process of institutionalizing the partnership. Through the program, U.S. and Chilean students will travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin and Santiago, Chile, both of which will provide the perfect living laboratories for experiential learning opportunities in water contamination and associated impact on environmental and human health. The course curriculum, which is comprised of a water-specific environmental engineering and policy theme, coupled with site visits to water-related civic and industry infrastructure makes this a one-of-a-kind educational experience for students.





The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the dynamic public-private sector collaboration between the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced by Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry in January 2014. Since then, 86 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 168 higher education institutions from 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Innovation Fund grant winning partnerships are creating new study abroad opportunities and increasing student mobility to and from the Americas in support of the President’s signature education initiative for the Western Hemisphere. Follow the Innovation Fund on Twitter and Facebook via #100KStrongAmericas.


The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964 under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica.


With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education. Learn more at www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org and on Twitter at @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld.


The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands including, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, POWERADE, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia, Dasani, FUZE TEA and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world’s top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information about Coca-Cola in Mexico visit: www.coca-colamexico.com.mx, follow us on twitter: @SomosCocaCola, visit our blog Coca-Cola Unbottled or find us on Linkedin https://mx.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.