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Northwest Community College Initiative students make history in DC



NWCCI students in DC
NWCCI students in DC

The Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) took its students on an inaugural trip to the District of Columbia on Jan. 8. It was the first time that all Community College Initiative (CCI) participants from across the U.S. came together in one place.

The NWCCI program — established in 2009 — is part of the CCI and is a scholarship program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

NWCCI is composed of three community colleges in Washington State: Edmonds Community College, Pierce College, and Whatcom Community College. Edmonds CC has provided international programs for more than 35 years and is the lead institution in coordinating NWCCI.

The 56 program participants from 12 countries spent five days enhancing their knowledge of U.S. history, politics, and culture — all part of the program’s vision for promoting mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries and cultures.

The participants were selected for the CCI scholarship by their local embassies from historically underserved populations in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Cote D'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and Yemen.

Participants were eager for the opportunity to join in on a special question-and-answer session with the keynote speaker, Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This was followed by a panel discussion and concluded with a networking session allowing students to collaborate on ideas and strategies focused around CCI participant goals such as women’s empowerment, sustainability, agriculture and food sustainability, and access and equity in education, among others.

Activities during the loaded five-day itinerary included tours of the monuments, Newseum, and Pentagon; visits to the White House, Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum; a workshop on the First Amendment; and concluded the final day with a walk around Arlington National Cemetery.

To learn more about the NWCCI program and to follow the NWCCI journey, visit