School for International Training receives Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant

Publication Date: December 20, 2017
Publication Location: Washington, DC
Contact: Kate Casa  |  kate.casa@sit.edu

School for International Training receives Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to research global footprint of African American community

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded SIT Graduate Institute, a program of World Learning, a grant of $52,135  to support a groundbreaking academic inquiry on African Americans living abroad. The study, #WeGlobal, led by Deborah Robinson, academic director of SIT Graduate Institute’s DC Center, will use citizen science to build data on the African American community’s global influence and footprint.

“I’m very excited by the support from the Mellon Foundation to make this project become a reality,” said Robinson, “It is critically important for not only African Americans, but all Americans, to understand that African Americans are living abroad and making contributions in many different capacities.”

The Mellon Foundation’s grant contribution will engage an advisory committee—comprised of representatives from black travel and expat groups, as well as experts in the fields of African American studies, migration, survey methodology and citizen science—to help plan and implement a crowdsourcing strategy for the project.

In February, the project will launch the #WeGlobal mobile app, which will leverage the latest in citizen science technology—including mobile crowdsourcing and GIS mapping—to identify and represent African American’s living and working abroad.

By examining the ways African Americans are influencing international society and culture, Robinson’s study aims to reframe attitudes about African Americans by challenging preconceived notions and stereotypes. The research not only will add to the academic literature, but can potentially supplement museum exhibits, advocacy and awareness-building of the vibrant and complex history of African Americans.

“The stories in of themselves could serve as an interesting source of material for scholars and the public across a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds,” said advisory committee member James S. Jackson, research professor at the Institute of Social Research and Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan.


Through SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute, School for International Training prepares undergraduate and graduate-level students to be intercultural leaders and professionals committed to responsible global citizenship. A nonprofit educational institution founded in 1964, SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.