Last week the Institute for International Education (IIE) announced the winners of its annual Andrew Heiskell Awards for Innovation in International Education. Among the recipients was an innovative study abroad program called Clemson Engineers for Developing Countries (CEDC).

What makes the CEDC so unique is its focus on service-learning and community development abroad. The program promotes civic duty and international leadership through targeted civil engineering projects.

The CEDC allows its scholars to aid communities on and around the Central Plateau of Haiti in the design and implementation of sustainable infrastructure. These projects include the creation and improvement of water treatment facilities, road designs and waste management plants.

Each of these elements of infrastructure is essential to human health, quality of life and to the economic development of Haiti. The Central Plateau is one of the most impoverished and disaster-prone regions in the world and without the aid of programs like the CEDC, Haiti would have little opportunity to better the lives of its people.

Beyond development, the CEDC aims to prepare the peoples of Haiti to become integral to ensuring the success of this program. While Clemson University scholars and engineers receive the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the developing world, many Haitian students in the area shadow the engineers and learn the skills necessary to continue their work.

For this reason the CEDC has garnered a lot of attention and created many strategic partnerships with NGOs, private industries and Haitian schools.

The Andrew Heiskell Awards recognize the CEDCs tremendous commitment to, and investment in, both education and community development. According to the IIE, the Heiskell awards are aimed at, “highlighting initiatives that remove institutional barriers and broaden the base of participation in international teaching and learning on campus.”

The award was created in 2001 and named after the former chairman of Time Inc., Andrew Heiskell. The prize has been given annually to innovative university programs in four different categories: Internationalizing the Campus, Study Abroad, International Partnerships and Internationalizing the Community College.

Chase Colton

Sources: Digital Journal, Clemson
Photo: Clemson Engineering for Developing Countries