New Commitments to President Obama's 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 22, 2016

As part of his historic visit to Cuba, the President announced a new $1 million commitment from the Cuban American community to the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund to create university partnerships that will enhance regional cooperation and provide new study abroad opportunities. This funding will support Cuba-specific Innovation Fund grant competitions in 2016 and beyond to increase bi-directional student mobility between Cuba and the United States in the fields of entrepreneurship, agricultural management, business and social innovation, environmental and sustainable energy, language learning, international trade and development, study abroad infrastructure, and cultural collaborations.

This new commitment to President Obama's signature education initiative for the Western Hemisphere is mobilizing additional support. The CAF Development Bank of Latin America will expand its existing commitment to 100,000 Strong in the Americas by joining the U.S.-Cuba Innovation Competition.

Additionally, the White House announced the launch of the 10th Innovation Fund grant competition—“Promoting Study Abroad Partnerships for Innovation and Collaboration”—supported by Santander Bank as part of their current $1 million commitment to the President’s education initiative. All higher educational institutions in the Western Hemisphere that promote study abroad programs between the United States and countries in the region will be eligible to compete.‎ The first winning Innovation Fund partnership between U.S. and Cuban universities was funded by Santander Bank in June 2015.

100,000 Strong in the Americas, the President’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere, aims to increase the number of student exchanges in the Americas to 100,000 in both directions by 2020. The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is the public-private sector collaboration between the White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and private sector partners that provides unique opportunities to create new and innovative higher education institution partnerships that increase student mobility to and from the Americas in support of the President’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative.

For more information about the Innovation Fund, please visit