The Stevens Initiative is an international effort to enhance global understanding by connecting young people through virtual exchange, giving them critical skills for prosperity and encouraging friendships along the way.
What We Do
Created in 2015, the Initiative is committed to helping expand the virtual exchange field through three pillars of work:
- Investing in innovative programs that offer young people life-changing global experiences.
- Sharing knowledge and resources to support the growth of the virtual exchange field.
- Advocating for virtual exchange adoption so every young person has access to these experiences.
The Stevens Initiative connects young people across continents and cultures. Through virtual exchange, youth have access to a substantive international exchange experience by collaborating and learning with their peers abroad without having to leave their communities. Recognizing the impact that virtual exchange can have and capitalizing on advances in technology, the aim is to make meaningful, cross-cultural experiences available to all young people. The Stevens Initiative is housed at the Aspen Institute and is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation and the governments of Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. The J. Christopher Stevens Virtual Exchange Initiative is a U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs program administered by the Aspen Institute. Learn how to engage with us here.
Virtual exchange connects young people from diverse places using everyday technology for collaborative learning and interaction through sustained and facilitated engagement. You can learn more about virtual exchange here.
U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens devoted his life to building bridges through open and respectful dialogue and person-to-person diplomacy. As a young man, he taught English in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco as a Peace Corps volunteer. Morocco was his gateway to a life as an intrepid diplomat. He served the majority of his Foreign Service career in the Middle East and North Africa, a region he grew to love, and eventually served as U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
The Stevens Initiative, conceived and developed in close partnership with Ambassador Stevens’ family, seeks to give a generation of young people the kind of meaningful international experiences that shaped Ambassador Stevens as a young man.