New CIE Director begins June 2023

After five years as the Director of CIE, Professor Ian Barron is transitioning to a new role as co-director of the Center for Youth Engagement in the College of Education.  His new position will allow him to spend more time on his research and teaching related to trauma and its treatment. During his tenure Ian continued CIE’s decade-long involvement in education in Afghanistan. He was the Principal Investigator for two USAID-funded projects in Afghanistan.  CIE was a sub-contractor to FHI360 for AFIAT - Assistance for Indigent Afghans to Thrive and for AHEAD - Advancing Higher Education for Afghanistan’s Development.


Cliff Meyers (Ed.D. 1996) will be returning to CIE as the interim Director of CIE as of June 2023.   Cliff describes how it feels to be back:


I recently started as the part-time, interim Director of CIE. I can’t believe how fortunate I am and how excited yet daunted I feel to take on this new challenge. Fortunately, both UNICEF and UMass have similar layers of bureaucracy and I am slowly but surely getting adjusted to the system at UMass. I now have a master key to Montague House, a parking permit and an e-mail address. As the faculty and students return to campus in August, I look forward to meeting my new colleagues and having more opportunities to explore common interests.


Starting in the mid-1990s I spent 23 years working with UNICEF, as Education Chief in Nepal, Laos, and Myanmar, and as Regional Advisor for UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Office. After taking early retirement from UNICEF Yangon in 2016, I spent 6 years in Vientiane, owning a children’s publishing non-profit and working as a freelance consultant in the region. I worked to support Ethnic Basic Education Providers for Save the Children in Myanmar and to support early grade reading with the Global Partnership for Education in Laos, amongst other short term assignments.


One of my ongoing professional passions is early childhood development and early learning. I am proud of the work done by the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC) where I was a founding member and currently serve as a Board Member. I hope that CIE can expand the work being done in the College of Education on early childhood education through more international engagement and partnerships.  


We moved back to the Amherst area in July 2022 so that our kids could experience American public schools and fortunately, they are loving it. There have been lots of changes to the campus –Montague House is a far cry from Hills House South. CIE is now nestled next to Furcolo Hall in a beautifully remodeled house with easy access to all Departments, faculty and students.


Unfortunately, with limited on-going activities or budget, the Center is eagerly seeking new projects. My focus at first will be to generate revenue for CIE by engaging in research/evaluations and by getting grants for various projects. I will be working to expand the number of grants CIE is involved with and to explore new partnerships to that end. In addition to increasing the grants awarded by USAID and the Department of State, I will be seeking to submit proposals to the United Nations and various foundations for research, evaluations and professional development.


If you are aware of any RFPs or potential partnerships for project bids or evaluations, please let me know. We are also looking for sponsored graduate students to join CIE. We are keen to engage!  [7-23]