• Organization TypeFunding Agencies, Foundation

Stevens Initiative

Background U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was known for his goodwill toward others. Always gracious, fascinated by other cultures, and constantly asking questions, he engaged in open and respectful dialogue with everyone he met. His appreciation for the differences that make people unique was fueled by his early experiences abroad. Stevens studied as a high school student in Spain and as a college student in Italy. Ambassador Stevens devoted his life to building bridges. As a young man, he volunteered to join the Peace Corps and taught English in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Morocco was his gateway to a life spent as a brave and intrepid diplomat for the United States. He served the majority of his career in North Africa and the Middle East, a region he grew to love, and rose to become U.S. Ambassador to Libya.  He was killed by violent extremists in Libya in September 2012 as he continued this important work. About the Organization The Stevens Initiative, conceived and developed in close partnership with Ambassador Stevens’ family, was inspired by the meaningful international exchange experiences that Ambassador Stevens had as a young man, which helped to shape the kind of diplomat he became. Such in-person exchange experiences are highly valuable in today’s inter-connected world, yet less than one percent of young people have the opportunity to study abroad. The Stevens Initiative builds on the pioneering work of the virtual exchange community. Recognizing the potential for significant impact that this work promises, and capitalizing on advances in technology, the aim is to make similar life-changing, cross-cultural experiences available to a large number of young people in sustained and meaningful ways.
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