The Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), the scholar division of the Institute of International Education (IIE), is well known for its expertise and extensive experience in conducting international exchange programs for scholars and university administrators. For nearly seventy years, CIES (www.cies.org) has administered the Fulbright Scholar Program, the United States flagship academic exchange effort, on behalf of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). CIES was founded as a non profit organization in 1947 by four prestigious academic associations – the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and American Council on Education (ACE). Since 1996, CIES has been a division of the Institute of International Education (IIE), a premier nonprofit educational and cultural exchange organization established in 1919. The four academic societies (ACLS, NAS, SSRC, and ACE) that founded CIES continue to be represented on the CIES Advisory Board.
CIES maintains deep ties with the higher education community in the United States and abroad, including individual universities and colleges, major scholarly organizations, and academic associations. CIES also collaborates with a network of bi-national Fulbright Commissions in 50 countries and 90 U.S. diplomatic posts around the world. Since its inception, CIES has conducted a rigorous annual peer review process that assures the competitive selection of scholars for lecture and research awards. Annually, more than 300 academics and professionals with exceptional expertise in their field serve on CIES discipline and peer review committees reviewing applications of U.S. and foreign scholars. In addition, CIES organizes seminars for higher education administrators, plans and implements academic conferences, facilitates connections between scholars and host institutions, manages visa applications, provides an effective orientation program for scholars, and facilitates cultural awareness programs to support the effective integration of scholars in their host institutions and countries.
The core Fulbright Scholar Program attracts some 800 U.S. faculty and professionals each year to 140 countries to lecture, teach and conduct research. An equal number of academics and professionals from overseas visit the United States each year under a Fulbright Scholar grant. In addition, CIES administers a number of short-term, innovative programs that send an additional 400 scholars from the United States to universities and research institutes abroad to offer expertise on issues of global interest from cutting-edge research to policy, to technical expertise in curriculum development, institutional planning, program assessment, and institutional capacity building. To date, CIES has placed close to 50,000 scholars in over 140 countries and more than 45,000 overseas scholars have visited U.S. colleges, universities and research institutions.
Together, CIES and IIE create effective synergies across continents. Both IIE and CIES work with the U.S. Department of State and with many other governments, foundations, corporations, colleges and universities, international organizations, and generous individuals, to provide educational exchange and development training opportunities for students, scholars and professionals world wide. IIE currently administers over 200 programs, including the Fulbright Student Program, the Fulbright Scholar Program through CIES, and such regional programs as the Ford Foundation sponsored Africa Higher Education Collaborative that facilitates the professional development and collaboration of scholars and higher education administrators in four African countries. These programs benefit nearly 20,000 men and women from 175 nations annually. In addition, IIE conducts research and provides information on international exchange opportunities to students, educators, government officials, and business leaders worldwide through publications, conferences, seminars, advising, and Web-based services.
IIE employs a staff of more than 700 worldwide, including those at CIES, and is led by a president and a 40-member Board of Trustees. With headquarters in New York City, IIE has 19 offices around the world, including U.S. representative offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, Houston, and San Francisco and offices abroad in China, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
As a division of IIE, CIES works closely with other IIE divisions to capitalize on the organization’s U.S.-wide and world-wide networks in carrying out the professional and scholarly exchange programs for which CIES is so highly regarded. The day to-day work of CIES is carried out by over 60 program and administrative staff members organized by world regions. An external relations unit assists program officers with recruitment and works with U.S. colleges, universities, professional and scholarly associations, and the media to publicize the Fulbright Scholar Program and other CIES undertakings. This global reach and extensive expertise have earned CIES the reputation of a world class organization superbly knowledgeable of and connected to the scholarly community around the world.