View our NEW Higher Education Partnerships Toolkit
published March 25, 2024!


The U.S. Department of State’s IDEAS Program is honored to implement the U.S.-ASEAN University Connections Initiative (UCI), a White House initiative announced during the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in May 2022. The UCI brought together leaders from diverse colleges and universities in the United States and ASEAN for a series of virtual and in-person trainings, in partnership with the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA). Spanning the 2022-2023 academic year, these professional development and networking opportunities were designed to foster sustainable international academic partnerships and the two-way exchange of students, scholars, and researchers between U.S. and ASEAN higher education institutions.

Key program activities included:

  • Virtual Training Series: three virtual trainings designed by AIEA took place in late 2022/early 2023. Each webinar was tailored to either an American or ASEAN audience, but all webinars were free and open to the public. Webinar descriptions, recordings, transcripts, and slides are available below.
    • Introduction to U.S. Higher Education: This is the first in a series of three webinars hosted by the U.S.–ASEAN University Connections Initiative (UCI). This webinar features an introduction to U.S. higher education, intended for those looking to build partnerships with U.S.-based institutions. While this event is designed for an ASEAN audience, all higher education attendees may benefit from the information shared, regardless of their country of residence.
    • Exploring University Partnership Models with ASEAN Institutions: Join in this webinar to gain key insights from U.S. and Southeast Asian practitioners about developing different university partnership models between institutions in the U.S. and ASEAN countries. The webinar will include a brief overview of higher education systems and trends in the ASEAN region.
    • International Strategic Partnerships: What Leaders Should Know: Creating sustainable and quality international partnerships between higher education institutions involves understanding the goals of institutions from different regions. Join in this webinar to learn more about different university partnership models with diverse higher education institutions and discover key insights into developing partnerships that are mutually beneficial for partners, including virtual exchange. While applicable to partnerships globally, the emphasis will be on U.S.- and ASEAN-based institutions.
  • In-Person Professional Networking: The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the IDEAS Program, and UCI Fellows met at the Annual AIEA Conference, February 19-23, 2023 in Washington, D.C.
  • Higher Education Partnerships Toolkit, developed by AIEA and the IDEAS Program, to promote the development of research/curricular collaborations, dual/joint degrees, and the two-way exchange of students, faculty, and/or researchers in a variety of fields between the United States and ASEAN – and beyond! Download the PDF of the toolkit here. Also see the recording and slides from the International Higher Education Partnerships 101 webinar launching the toolkit on March 25, 2024.
  • Microgrants: IDEAS grantee UCI Fellows were given the opportunity to apply for five microgrants, implementing projects that multiply program benefits through extending activities and/or disseminating learning outcomes from the U.S.-ASEAN UCI program. The selected project descriptions are below.
College of Staten Island

Location: Staten Island, NY
Destination(s): Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Vietnam
Foreign Policy Goal Focus: Civil Society, Journalism, and Education; Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

College of Staten Island will use its U.S.-ASEAN University Connections Initiative microgrant to fund a site visit to up to five different countries in the ASEAN region for partnership exploration, relationship development, and new institutional connections. The locations are based on the network developed during the initiative. The goal of the site visits is to develop at least two new active university partnerships to support student mobility and faculty joint programming.

Montana State University Billings

Location: Billings, MT
Destination(s): Indonesia
Foreign Policy Goal Focus: Climate, Energy, and the Environment; Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

Through its U.S.-ASEAN University Connections Initiative microgrant, Montana State University Billings (MSUB) will fund faculty travel in a faculty-led study abroad experience in Indonesia for MSUB and Green River College (GRC) students. This will be a new in-person component of an already established three-way Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) course developed through the 2023 ASEAN UCI between MSUB, GRC, and Universitas Pelita Harapan in Indonesia.

University of Minnesota

Location: Minneapolis, MN
Destination(s): Lao PDR, Vietnam
Foreign Policy Goal Focus: Civil Society, Journalism, and Education; Democracy and Human Rights

Through its U.S.-ASEAN University Connections Initiative microgrant, University of Minnesota will fund a faculty site visit to Vietnam and Lao PDR. The faculty will visit Vietnam National University, a partnership developed through this initiative. The site visit will support a proposed faculty residency program designed to build faculty buy-in to support future student mobility programs.

University of Wisconsin-Stout

Location: Menomonie, WI
Destination(s): Malaysia
Foreign Policy Goal Focus: Technology and Innovation

Through its U.S.-ASEAN University Connections Initiative microgrant, the University of Wisconsin-Stout will use funding to conduct a site visit to the Universiti Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. This will support existing communication and developing Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiatives between the two institutions, focused on information and communication technology.

University of Wyoming

Location: Laramie, WY
Destination(s): Malaysia
Foreign Policy Goal Focus: Civil Society, Journalism, and Education

The University of Wyoming will use its U.S.-ASEAN University Connections Initiative microgrant funding to support a faculty site visit to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman in Malaysia, where an institutional partnership has already been developed. The site visit will provide the foundation for a faculty-led, in-person summer program to Malaysia, focusing on joint international research projects through classroom activities and community service learning.

Contact: [email protected]

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