Connecting with American Women for International Understanding (AWIU)

celebrated women from around the world are honored at a dinner.

Inviting UB students to connect with American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) on mentored projects.

Project description

American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) was founded to promote woman-to-woman interaction and understanding with over 50 years of citizen diplomacy through delegations, grants, awards, local chapter outreach and educational programs.

Delegations have traveled to over 60 countries to date with the first group of American women to visit China after the 1973 detente, to visit Russia in 1976, and to visit Libya in 40 years in 2009. Recent delegations traveled to Myanmar (Burma) in 2014, Chiapas, Mexico in 2015, Ethiopia in 2016, Nicaragua in 2017, and upcoming delegation to Morocco in January 2019. Delegations meet with leaders in government, business, and charitable organizations and visit embassies, institutions, historical sites and private homes, sharing updates with all AWIU members via return via presentations and communications.

AWIU awards grants to non-profit organizations focused on training and empowering women and girls in the areas of leadership, technology, health care and journalism. Past grantees include NGOs that support women photojournalists from developing countries, victims of human trafficking in Uganda, jurists from Muslim countries, teachers in Kenya, and technology workers in Afghanistan. Recent business-focused grants include support for jewelry-making project in Peru and sewing and tailoring co-op in Uganda. Recent health-focused grants include cervical cancer screening in Nicaragua and clean water cistern at a girl's school in the Ivory Coast.

Since 2008 AWIU has collaborated with the U.S. State Department to recognize women around the globe who have made a substantial difference in the lives of women in their host countries. AWIU hosts the International Women of Courage Celebration awards and grants awards to every honoree designated by the State Department. The AWIU Internationalism Award is also presented at the Celebration to an American woman who has made exceptional contributions to world understanding and betterment.

AWIU is pleased to invite UB students to work on mentored projects related to key areas of programming. 

Project outcome

Current project opportunities include:

1) Research women's organizations in a developing country working for the advancement of women.

Upon completion, research findings will be made available to AWIU grant committee. This committee provides grants to grassroot women's groups in developing countries for short-term, concrete projects. These projects typically support advancement for women in areas of education, skill training, health, entrepreneurship, and advocacy.

2) Research progress/challenges faced by former AWIU grant recipient or IWOC awardee. Students can view list of past AWIU grant recipients (1991 to 2019) and IWOC awardees 2011 to 2019) at grants

Updated information culled by students may be posted on AWIU website, at discretion of associated committees 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment  About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Anytime
Level of collaboration Varies
Benefits Varies
Who is eligible Anyone

Core partners

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Director of

Experiential Learning Network

Phone: (716) 829-2834


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 
Fulfilling Academic Major/Minor Requirements

If you are planning to use this project to satisfy program requirements for your academic major or minor, it is your responsibility to obtain approval from your academic department prior to beginning the project. 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Provide a personal statement that indicates professional interests and experiences in relation to AWIU mission and program 
  • Become familiar with AWIU programs and activities
  • Participate in a Passport to the Future teleconference, connecting with members and learning about featured project or topic