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Tuskegee University becomes recipient of 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation

July 01, 2021

ICETEX congratulations Innovation Fund winners poster
100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund poster showing grant winners

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Tuskegee University has been announced as one of 10 winners in a new partnership and training program between Colombia and the United States in the most recent Innovation Fund competition sponsored by the Colombian Institute of Educational Loans and Studies Abroad (ICETEX) and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

In this collaboration between Tuskegee University, Fundación Universidad del Norte, and the University of Alabama, students and professors will investigate water quality, access, expansion, and cultural diversity in the state of Alabama and the city of Barranquilla, Colombia. The goal is to prepare students with the technical knowledge and skills to solve global issues while working in diverse teams.  

Dr. Rhonda Collier, director of the TU Global Office, is the Principal Investigator says the project exemplifies Tuskegee's global mission to serve and lead in solving complex problems.

“Tuskegee STEM students will enjoy a rich partnership and training with faculty and students in Colombia and Alabama,” explained Collier.

“Together they will explore the impact of diversity and equity around water, access, sanitation, and hygiene for marginalized communities. This grant is only the beginning of a strategic partnership for the three universities involving student mobility, research, and improved environmental outcomes for underrepresented communities in the Global South,” she continued.

The 100K Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration among the U.S. Department of State and Partners of the Americas working with companies, foundations, and academic networks to champion the power of education to support innovative partnerships and training programs between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.  The 100K Fund inspires U.S. universities and colleges to partner with higher education institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean to design and carry out new models of academic training and exchange programs throughout the Americas.

An open call was issued for applications to the Innovation Fund, as of June 2021, after 30 grant competitions​ in seven years, the 100K Fund has awarded 253 grants ($25,000-$35,000 each) to 504 higher education institutions working in teams across 25 countries and 49 U.S. States. This year Tuskegee University was one of four HBCUs to receive the grant, others include Alabama A&M University, Howard University, and Morehouse College.

"This 100K Innovation Fund grant opportunity received the highest number of proposals in a single-country competition in the history of the initiative, a clear example of the existing close relationship between the United States and Colombia," said U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Philip S. Goldberg.

“This call is an example of our conviction that education is the most important powerhouse of development, and that the improvement of conditions and capacities in the higher education system guarantees a future in which young people, through knowledge, learning, exchange and experiences, constitute agents of change in society, in our country and in the Americas as a whole,” said President of ICETEX Manuel Acevedo Jaramillo.

This 100K competition will provided ten grants of $26,175 each to support new partnerships between higher education institutions in Colombia and the United States that will give more students access to innovative academic training and exchange programs in both countries starting in Fall 2021. 

100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration between the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and Partners of the Americas working with companies, foundations, regional government entities, and academic networks in the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere to create innovative partnerships that result in new models of regional exchange and training programs. The Innovation Fund is the trusted USG-branded mechanism between governments, businesses, foundations, and academia to support this hemispheric-wide education initiative to build partnerships, strengthen institutional capacity, and increase access for underserved students to innovative academic exchange programs.  As of June 2021, the 100K Innovation Fund has awarded 253 grants (average $25,000 each) to 504 higher education institutions working in teams 25 countries and 49 U.S. States.  Currently, over 2,300 higher education institutions have joined the Innovation Network – including 1,300 universities and colleges in the United States.

JOIN the Network and LEARN more:

The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964, under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at or via Twitter @partnersamerica.


The Instituto Colombiano de Crédito Educativo y Estudios Técnicos en el Exterior, Mariano Ospina Pérez (ICETEX) is a Colombian public entity that promotes higher education through the granting of educational loans and its collection (with its own resources or from third parties) to populations with few economic opportunities and good academic performance. Within the framework of its Educational Cooperation Policy (Agreement 001/2019), ICETEX promotes the development of internationalization of higher education to improve quality, relevance, equity, research, and innovation through the expansion of mechanisms linked to government entities, higher education institutions abroad or in Colombia. This is how ICETEX implements three development axes in which Colombian citizens, teachers, researchers, national and international experts can strengthen their academic and professional training and receive support through axes such as: a) ICETEX International, in which ICETEX, as a pioneering entity in higher education internationalization, participates in international spaces as a tool for creating new opportunities for Colombians, foreigners, and higher education institutions; b) partnerships for internationalization, in which ICETEX manages cooperation initiatives to strengthen the internationalization of higher education in Colombia; c) regional cooperation, in which ICETEX manages and strengthens international cooperation programs among the regions in order to generate greater opportunities for access and equity to higher education institutions in the Colombian regions.

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