Breaking Barriers and Expanding Study Abroad Opportunities

As one of only a few women to become Foreign Service Officers in 1957, Morelle Lasky Levine knows first-hand the importance of international experience to a young person’s career. She served for seven years, holding positions in the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, and was assigned to work on a four -person State Department team coordinating the development of policy for U.S. participation in the newly created Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), all before the age of 29.

In the summer of 1954, between her sophomore and junior years at Wellesley College, Morelle traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, with The Experiment and lived with a family that owned a general store and had seven children ranging in age from 8 to 22 years of age. “Life as part of that family was a fascinating and joyous adventure,” she recalled.

She said The Experiment in International Living had a major impact on her life and career.

"I never again viewed ‘foreigners’ as really foreign, and I came to view close personal contact between people of different nationalities, ethnic groups and religions as the best means of dispelling the mutual suspicion and distrust that creates barriers to peaceful co-existence within and between nations.” — Morelle Lasky Levine

By supporting World Learning’s initiative to expand study abroad opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Morelle hopes to give African-American students the chance to gain valuable overseas experience that can help them pursue international careers. A recent summit organized by World Learning with Spelman College was attended by representatives from over 25 of these institutions, the White House, and the U.S. Department of State.

“Despite the fact that higher education is now more available to black students than in the past, the lack of study abroad experience, even by faculty members, is retarding the progress that African-Americans can make professionally compared to their white counterparts” Morelle said. “That, in turn, impedes the role that the U.S. can play in this globalized world.”

By supporting World Learning’s initiative to expand study abroad opportunities at HBCUs, Morelle hopes to give African-American students the chance to gain valuable overseas experience that can help them pursue international careers.

Support for the HBCU Summit is the most recent gift in a long history of significant contributions provided by Morelle, who is a founding donor to The Experiment Leadership Institute and has endowed two scholarships for World Learning, one supporting The Experiment in International Living, and the other in support of SIT Study Abroad. These are just a few highlights of Morelle’s many years of loyal support to World Learning.

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