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GoAbroad reveals 2022 innovation award winners

GoAbroad announced 14 category winners of its annual GoAbroad Innovation Awards during the NAFSA conference in Denver.

The 14 winners were announced during the NAFSA conference in Denver. Photo: GoAbroad

United Planet won the Innovative New Volunteer Abroad Program for a program sending volunteers to Moldova to support Ukrainian refugees

Among the winners were SafeAbroad, taking home the Innovation in Crisis Response award for its Russia-Ukraine Early Warning Detection program, and Webster University, awarded the Innovative New Study Abroad prize, for its Indigenous Rights and the Rights of Nature in Ecuador project.

Other sustainability projects highlighted included the GREEN Program’s Microgrid Systems for Rural Development program in Nepal, the Coral Catch scholarship program empowering local women to protect and restore the coral reefs of Indonesia, and Roots Interns’ law internship with an NGO in South Africa focusing on gender-based violence.

Barcelona SAE won the Innovation in Diversity award for its TODOS (The Outcomes-Based Diversity Outreach Strategy) Sounding Board, seeking to create more equity and access in international education.

Kelly Heath, director of study abroad at Webster, said the institution was “thrilled” to receive the New Program award.

“This program provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for Webster students”

“This program provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for Webster students to gain knowledge about the relationship between indigenous rights and the rights of nature in Ecuador, and the importance of both in the fight against climate change,” Heath noted.

“During a year when Covid continued to present challenges, this program was planned and implemented with great diligence and care. The fact that it was able to run and is now being recognised for a national award of this calibre is a tribute to the outstanding work of the faculty program leader, Dana Hill (a Webster professor and Human Rights expert based in Quito), in collaboration with the Webster Division of Global Education.”

In response to the global health pandemic, API designed the A Quarantine and Self-Isolation Learning Experience program for study abroad participants during their in-country international experience. The program won the Online Programming gong.

Asynchronous content modules aimed to develop “essential skills”, such as resilience, mindfulness, intercultural learning, reflection, and goal-setting, to maximise their time abroad, while API on-site staff also offered synchronous support.

Following the thread of Ukraine project winners, United Planet won the Innovative New Volunteer Abroad Program for a project sending volunteers to Moldova to support Ukrainian refugees.

United Planet founder and president, Dave Santulli, travelled to the Ukrainian border country in March 2022, before launching the program in early April together with a local partner. Volunteer opportunities – available to English, Ukrainian, Russian, and Romanian speakers – aim to offer administrative, logistical, healthcare and education support to refugees in Moldova.

GoAbroad, which is celebrating its 25 anniversary in 2023, has also launched its own project to support Ukrainian refugees.

ISA student Madison Pelland beat off competition from students from CIS Abroad, IES Abroad, College Year in Athens and CSEP to win the Innovative Student Video category.

Other winners included Black & Abroad’s Go Back to Africa, Black Travel Photos using AI project, Appalachian State University’s Global Encore program for returning study abroad participants, Keningau Vocational College for its Teach Abroad Omiyage project in Japan, while International TEFL Academy won the People’s Choice award.

The School for International Training was recognised for its Critical Conversations Webinar Series in the Marketing & Digital Media category. The series sought to promote the SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute programs during the pandemic.

The full list of winners is available here.


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