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Social Justice and Sustainable Change: The Impacts of Higher Education

Last month, IIE hosted a panel discussion and reception to mark the release of a new IIE report, Social Justice and Sustainable Change: The Impacts of Higher Education.

Yielding the first findings from our 10-year impact study of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP), Social Justice and Sustainable Change shows that funding the post-graduate academic pursuits of emerging social justice leaders from marginalized groups leads to significant, measurable benefits for communities and organizations in their countries and throughout the world.

The report shares the results of our 2015 IFP Global Alumni Survey, the first round of global data collection to occur during the course of tracking study. The findings reflect the responses of 1,861 IFP alumni from 22 different countries, capturing 43% of the program population. Findings from the report can be used to drive programmatic and policy decisions and shed light on research that supports the need for widening access to higher education in an effort to combat social inequality.

Key Findings

The findings from Social Justice and Sustainable Change show that investing in higher education for individuals can have significant multiplier effects for communities, organizations, and societies:

Impacts Worldwide

Creating New Initiatives: Over 900 IFP alumni have created new programs and organizations. 97% of these initiatives address social issues or provide community services and 48% have been created by women.
Changing the Lives of Millions: Alumni report that these new programs and organizations have impacted 9.5 million adults and children in the IFP countries and 860,000 additional individuals worldwide.
Improving Organizations: 84% of IFP alumni report making improvements in the organizations where they work or volunteer as a result of their IFP fellowship, impacting approximately 66,800 employees and volunteers worldwide.
Furthering Social Justice: IFP alumni have created nearly 34,600 products and forms of outreach related to social justice, including over 12,000 conference presentations; almost 15,500 books, reports, journal, or news articles; and over 1,700 works of art.
Building an IFP Legacy: Over 95% of IFP alumni remain in touch with each other, collaborating on various social justice issues and initiatives.

Impacts on Fellows

96% Have completed the advanced degree supported by the IFP fellowship
92% Indicate greater opportunities to create social change as a result of IFP
90% Agree that the IFP fellowship increased their commitment to social justice
86% Feel empowered to confront issues of injustice due to their IFP fellowship experience
84% Are living in their home country, of which 52% are living in their home community
79% Hold senior leadership roles, including founders of grassroots organizations and strategic leaders in national governments and international organizations

By studying the link between higher education and social justice and the effect that higher education can have on marginalized populations and leadership, Social Justice and Sustainable Change gives us a first look at the long-term impacts of international higher education programs like IFP.

To read the full report, CLICK HERE

© 2016 Institute of International Education (IIE) – a member of the EACCNY