A Tripartite Collaborative Pilot Program Integrating the MIIS Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL), Social Entrepreneurship Program (SE), and Middlebury Schools Abroad
CSIL, Social Entrepreneurship Program and C.V. STARR Schools Abroad Collaboration
CSIL is part of the Social Entrepreneurship Collaboration Committee with the Center for Social Entrepreneurship and Schools Abroad to demonstrate how these three institutions can work together to manage joint programs. Ambassador Corps is the premier pilot program seen as a tripartite collaborative opportunity between CSIL, SE, and CV-Starr Schools Abroad. These three entities are continually developing productive and lasting professional relationships with a growing network of social entrepreneurs, impact investors and other values-driven professionals that will serve as Ambassador Corps host organizations to create a unified network across geographical barriers. The collaborative learning model offered by SE, Schools Abroad and CSIL through the Ambassador Corps program sets the stage for social entrepreneurship as the platform that demonstrates the complementarity of academic and experiential learning.
Historical Precedent of Ambassador Corps
The Ambassador Corps International Internship program was pioneered by the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, to provide unique hands-on experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students with pre-eminent social entrepreneurship organizations in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. During its five year history, 55 student interns were dispatched to 24 countries worldwide for intensive three-month summer internships.
The program focus for the interns included a diverse portfolio of sector specialties: microfinance, sustainable agriculture, human trafficking, social justice, environmental conservation, sustainable education, eco-tourism, youth entrepreneurship, disaster relief/development, public health and disease eradication, women’s income generation projects, community-based engineering projects, and business planning for social enterprises and NGOs.
Returning “Ambassadors” described this crash Peace Corps experience as “life changing” and “transformative,” and often times convincingly influencing a future global career path (some being retained as full time paid employees of the host organization they were assigned to).
What is the Ambassador Corps?
The Ambassador Corps is a unique summer opportunity for Middlebury students created specifically to fit the interests and opportunities desired by Middlebury students. The Ambassador Corps is designed to provide students with a three month summer internship beginning summer 2015 with a premier social entrepreneurship organization in a developing country. The program matches student interest and skill with a host organization’s defined needs and could include a focus on: microfinance, sustainable agriculture, human trafficking, social justice, environmental conservation, sustainable education, eco-tourism, youth entrepreneurship, disaster relief/development, public health and disease eradication, community-based engineering projects, and business planning for social enterprises and NGO’s.
The Ambassador Corps flips the traditional internship experience and works closely with both the host organization and the student intern to ensure that the match is mutually beneficial. Host organizations are in turn asked to define a job description that includes specific assignments, projects, and deliverables. This ensures a comprehensive experience for both the host and the student. Before the pairing is finalized, the host organization and the student hold a skype interview to be sure it is a beneficial fit for each. The internship offers students a hands-on experience to work with a world renowned non-profit social entrepreneurship organization and gain the frontline know-how necessary to thrive in this type of work environment and potentially a future career path.
- Extensive vetting of prospective host organizations strongly rooted in social entrepreneurship
- A comprehensive job description designed by host organization
- MOU with scope of work and terms of reference signed by intern, CSIL and host organization
- Hands-on training sessions to prepare students for their internship
- Mentoring by professional CSIL staff throughout the internship
- Profound personal engagement within the local community and culture
- Skin in the game in-kind support from the host organization for lodging and meals
- World class experiential learning opportunity to prepare students to become purposeful global leaders in the social entrepreneurship field
The Ambassador Corps participation fee is $2000. The fee includes pre-departure training from Social Entrepreneur experts; host-country orientation supported by Schools Abroad director; in depth host organization vetting; orienting the host organization and securing in-kind commitment for lodging and meals; precision matching of students with host; arranging in-country airport pick-up for student; troubleshooting and mentorship from the CSIL staff throughout the internship via weekly skype check-ins; intern debrief upon returning; access to the Ambassador Corps alumni network. This fee does not include airfare or living stipend. Scholarships may be available through the Social Entrepreneurship Program and CCI or Schools Abroad students’ home institution.
A unique part of the Ambassador Corps program is the extensive professional training that the intern will take part in before leaving the country and upon returning from the internship. Pre-departure training will be comprised of a blend of in-person Middlebury training done by the SE team and webinars hosted by CSIL team and other professionals from the field of social entrepreneurship. In addition the Schools Abroad directors in specially selected countries will host an orientation for students new to the country. Upon returning, interns will be part of a blended debrief which can include the following: skype session with CSIL staff, debriefing conversation with SE staff, reflective paper, online platform for connecting to other Ambassador Corps interns, evaluation questionnaire, digital story-telling platform, etc.
The 2015 Ambassador Corps Cohort