iEARN-USA Launches new Program to Ignite Learning and Build Global Citizens

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iEARN-USA will engage students in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, and Guatemala in cross-cultural, collaborative learning while they examine compelling real-world issues and explore ways they can make a difference.

New York City, NY, November 8, 2023 – Today, iEARN-USA (International Education and Resource Network) announced the launch of Compañeros de Clase Globales, a series of projects that will ignite learning and spark students’ curiosity about the world and their role in it by bringing the world into U.S. classrooms. Through this International Virtual Exchange program, iEARN-USA will pair elementary and high school classrooms in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, with peer classrooms in Guatemala, challenging students to explore real world issues and think about what it means to make a positive difference in the world.

It often feels that the world is facing insurmountable challenges. Virtual exchange can empower young people to be agents of change alongside their international peers. iEARN projects are designed to support students’ understanding of one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This provides an entry point for students across diverse countries and cultures. Additionally, across each project, classrooms explore a common idea such as robotics, building cultural competencies through shared literature, and investigating environmental issues that impact local and global communities. This dual alignment means classrooms can engage around a global “big idea” while simultaneously supporting the instructional standards in each classroom location.

iEARN-USA’s Compañeros de Clase Globales is funded by the Stevens Initiative, which is housed at the Aspen Institute and is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

Stefanie Ortiz-Cidlik, Executive Director of iEARN-USA, expressed her appreciation and excitement about this program saying, “We are grateful to the Stevens Initiative and the Bezos Family Foundation for their support of Compañeros de Clase Globales. Their support is helping iEARN achieve our mission to develop a global community that is breaking down cultural barriers and making a difference in the world. I truly believe that virtual exchange can be the spark that ignites a young person’s interest in the world. It’s incredibly cool to be able to meet and talk with peers from other countries and together learn about everything from different cultures, to different climates, to our shared human experience!“

“The Stevens Initiative envisions a day where every young person can say that virtual exchange empowered them to learn and connect with peers from around the world. This can only be possible with the support of the dedicated virtual exchange providers, strategic partners, and education and exchange leaders who have joined our global movement. The Stevens Initiative’s collaboration with iEARN-USA represents a pivotal moment for the future of virtual exchange, and we are proud to work alongside them as they work on the ground to make this vision possible in the years ahead,” said Christine Shiau, Executive Director of the Stevens Initiative at the Aspen Institute.

Ortiz-Cidlik went on to say, “Demand for virtual exchange can’t be met by one program alone because of the unique interests and needs of young people. By joining forces with the Stevens Initiative and other providers, we can magnify our impact and ensure that communities everywhere have access to programs that excite them.”

To learn more about iEARN-USA and how to join this or other virtual exchange programs, visit

is a founder and the U.S. center of the International Education and Resource Network. With nearly 5,000 classrooms in 145 countries and virtual exchange projects in 30 languages, iEARN is one of the largest, most experienced non-profit networks enabling K-12 educators and students to engage in global virtual exchange through project-based & collaborative learning. The iEARN model has been cited for impact and reliance through its founding; most recently, the World Economic Forum named the iEARN model one of its top 16 frameworks for the future of education.

The Stevens Initiative
is an international leader in virtual exchange, which brings young people from diverse places together to collaborate and connect through everyday technology. Created in 2015 as a lasting tribute to Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the Initiative invests in virtual exchange programs; shares research, resources, and promising practices to improve impact; and advocates for broader adoption. Learn more:

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ignite human potential to build understanding and create new possibilities for a better world. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve society’s greatest challenges. It is headquartered in Washington, DC and has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, as well as an international network of partners. For more information, visit

The Bezos Family Foundation
supports rigorous, inspired learning environments for young people, from birth through high school, to put their education into action. Through investments in research, public awareness, systems building and programs, the foundation works to elevate the field of education and improve life outcomes for all children.