Center for International Education

Engages in implementation and research opportunities in the areas of international development for educational institutions and systems-especially in conflict or crisis contexts, professional development and capacity building, education policy and leadership, nonformal/popular adult education, and internationalizing U.S. education.


Founded in 1968, the Center for International Education (CIE) is part of the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. CIE has two major functions: 1) it solicits and manages externally-funded research studies and education development projects; 2) it simultaneously serves as a learning community for associated graduate students interested in working to develop educational systems around the world - particularly in low-resource settings and those afflicted by conflict and crisis.  Faculty, staff, and graduate students work together in teams at CIE to seek out and manage funded projects. At any time, CIE is typically managing 3 to 5 international projects, often including one large multi-million dollar project and several smaller ones.

Montague House, a newly renovated farm house located next to the College of Education, is the physical home of CIE that provides shared space for both project management and the learning community for graduate students and faculty affiliated with CIE.  CIE draws interested students from a variety of degree programs in the College of Education including International Education, Higher Education, and Educational Leadership.  Faculty and students from other departments in the College or from other parts of the University are also welcome to participate in both project and learning activities.

Our Work

The Center for International Education (CIE) was established in 1968 as a research and implementation organization committed to promoting participatory education in development settings. The Center is responsible for managing grants and contracts and is closely linked to its companion academic program in International Education with each component serving to enrich the other. Together the two form a community of learning and practice. In its teaching, research and applied projects, the overarching CIE community strives to link international and domestic activities and to promote dialogue between educational theory and practice.

The Center has a long and successful history of designing, implementing, and evaluating educational initiatives in Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Central & Latin America, and the Caucasus as well as in North America. Financial support has come from many sources including USAID, the State Department, the World Bank, UNESCO, FAO, national governments, state agencies, school systems, and private foundations. Contracts and grants administered by the Center since 1969 total over 90 million dollars.

The Center has a core of five full-time and two associated faculty members, fiscal and administrative support staff, and two adjunct faculty members. The community of more than 40 graduate students, who are early-to-mid-career professionals, contributes to the Center's activities and enriches academic programs by working as teachers, trainers and research assistants. In developing and implementing funded projects, CIE can also draw on technical expertise of the University of Massachusetts and the Five College Consortium to supplement its own extensive experience and technical skills. CIE has collaborated on projects with faculty from the departments of Public Health, Anthropology, Agricultural Economics, Communications, Educational Research, Economics, Women's Studies, and Management.

There is an active network of nearly 600 CIE members working throughout the world in education and development. This network provides a rich reserve of expertise and contacts. In addition CIE has collaborated with numerous other institutions over the years in implementing programs: schools, universities, NGOs, and PVOs.

Core Capabilities

Growing out of almost fifty years of experience, CIE has developed particular expertise in a number of selected fields. These are briefly summarized below to indicate the kinds of service and expertise that CIE has built a reputation for.

Program Development and Implementation

CIE has been a partner in implementing many large-scale development education projects, both formal and nonformal, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We were pioneers in the field of nonformal education and have used that expertise in many different settings. In a typical program CIE may provide one or more of the following services: long-term technical assistance; short-term consulting services; institutional capacity building; research and evaluation; staff training; and program planning. Our operational philosophy is grounded in the belief that joint problem solving and participatory management has the best chance of achieving program goals.

Program Evaluation and Research Design

CIE has both experience and capability in using a variety of approaches to evaluation. The Center is particularly well known for qualitative, participatory and practitioner-based approaches to evaluation. CIE has conducted training in evaluation methods for staff from a number of organizations and has carried out evaluations of programs, materials and institutions.


Training mid-career professionals in development and education lies at the heart of our mission. CIE has designed and implemented training and study programs serving the needs of a variety of groups and individuals. Most programs fall under one of three training formats: degree training; customized short-term professional training for specific clientele; and the management and support of degree candidates at institutions of higher education. The Center has provided graduate degree training to over 500 mid-career professionals from more than 50 countries and has conducted short-term training for hundreds of individuals from around the world.

Curriculum Development

Many of CIE's projects involve developing curricula particularly for adult and nonformal training contexts. Much of the work focusses on developing community and women's leadership skills for tasks ranging from micro-enterprise development to community health. CIE focuses on building local capacity to design, develop and evaluate curricula appropriate to local interests, needs and resources.

Materials Development, Media and Technology

CIE has pioneered many uses of educational media and technology for development ranging from low-technology options for local initiative to uses of Instructional Technology for education and development. Some CIE techniques include: web-based learning and action, community drama, role plays, puppet shows, fotonovelas, radio programs for distance education, video and theater, electronic learning aids, and simple audiovisual tools.

Summary of Core Capabilities

Formal School-Based Education Non-formal Education
Teacher Education Training Design and Materials
Basic Education Improvement Adult and Family Literacy
Staff Development Community Health Education
Organizational Development Education for Girls and Women
Access and Gender Issues Participatory Action Research
Cultural Aspects of Education Management Participatory Approaches to Evaluation
Global & Environmental Education Popular Education
Education Reform & Evaluation Accelerated Learning
Policy, Planning, and Leadership Education for Refugees and Immigrants

For more information, visit our Center for International Education website.