IU Bloomington to host one of passport program's largest giveaways in the country

  • Jan. 29, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington, in partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange, will give away passports to 280 preselected students during CIEE Passport Caravan: Your Gateway to the World from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall.

The giveaway supports an initiative to expose more first-generation, minority and low-income students to international experience.

IU is one of 11 colleges across the United States to participate in the CIEE Passport Caravan program, which is the first step toward reaching the council’s goal of issuing passports to 10,000 college students by 2020. Other participating colleges include the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania State University. The passport giveaway at IU will be CIEE’s largest. 

“We chose to partner with IU because IU is as committed as we are to removing the financial barriers that prevent students from traveling abroad,” said Beth Donaldson, CIEE’s vice president of global enrollment management. “We feel that this partnership will be successful in helping future graduates excel.”

The passports will be given to a select group of IU students who are part of academic programs in IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, including the Hudson and Holland Scholars, Groups Scholars and 21st Century Scholars programs. The students have been preparing for the event since the fall.

“I am excited and proud to be part of this initiative,” said Ochmaa Escue, director of overseas study and scholarship program with IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. “Having a passport gives many students the open-mindednesses of seeking opportunities to travel and study abroad, which will ultimately lead to personal, professional and academic growth. I have had many students say to me that they hadn’t even thought about going abroad until now. There is a famous saying by St. Augustine of Hippo: ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page.’”

Tracy Luther, a finance and accounting major in the Hudson and Holland Scholars and 21st Century Scholars programs, believes that studying abroad is integral to his ability to achieve his career goals. “It’s increasingly important to have a global perspective, especially when it comes to business. Having a passport means I can further expand my global perspective,” he said.

Martin McCrory, associate vice president for academic support and diversity and vice provost for educational inclusion and diversity, agreed that studying abroad has many benefits in the increasingly globalized world, including enhancing students’ degrees, establishing networks and ending stereotypes.

“It is important that first-generation, minority and low-income students have access to intercultural knowledge and communication skills if they are going to succeed in today’s global community,” McCrory said. “We are proud to help reduce barriers that make it difficult for these students to study abroad.”

In addition to the giveaway, CIEE Passport Caravan: Your Gateway to the World will include a special program from 1:30 to 2 p.m. There will be opportunities to learn about the collaborative partnership and passport program, enjoy musical performances and hear stories from students who have returned from studying abroad. Anyone wishing to attend should RSVP by Feb. 3.

For more information about the program, contact Ochmaa Escue at 812-856-1934 or

About the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs: The Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs strives to foster an inclusive environment that promotes and nurtures diversity, broadly defined, on all campuses of Indiana University. Our goal is to promote an environment where faculty, staff, students and postdocs can do, as often stated by former IU President Herman B Wells, “their best work.” To fulfill its mission, the office strategically focuses on the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students; the promotion of a welcoming and positive campus climate; and engagement in outreach and advocacy locally and nationally. 

Martin McCrory

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