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At Home in the World Toolkit

December 30, 1899

​Multicultural education becomes enriched when it consciously incorporates global perspectives into the examination of American multiculturalism, as well as comparing multiculturalism in the United States with multiculturalism in other societies. Similarly, global education reveals more when it consciously includes the consideration of racial, ethnic, religious, linguistic, and other kinds of diversity as critical elements of the global experience.

Carlos E. Cortés - Global Education and Multicultural Education: Toward a 21st-Century Intersection


​What is At Home in the World?

At Home in the World: Educating for Global Connections and Local Commitments (AHITW) is a collaborative initiative of the American Council on Education's Inclusive Excellence Group and Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement that:

  • Engages higher education institutions in examining the collaboration potential between diversity/multicultural education and internationalization
  • Seeks to create synergistic learning environments between diversity/multicultural education and internationalization
  • Empowers students to become responsible, productive citizens both locally and globally.

The initiative’s tagline, “Educating for Global Connections and Local Commitments,” underscores the need for cultural competency among  21st century graduates, which has become ever more pressing as United States demographics shift, local and global communities become further intertwined, the job market becomes increasingly global, and the workforce continues to diversify. Globalization has blurred the lines between the global and the local, as well as the distinctions between international and domestic diversity. To become responsible, productive citizens who engage fully and successfully in the world around them, our students must possess an understanding of their own cultures and those of their neighbors at home and abroad. They also need the skills to analyze interconnections between global and local systems, which will prepare them for effective participation in our diverse society.

ACE has advanced the AHITW initiative using the following conceptual framework:

  • Internationalization and diversity/multicultural education are not the same and one should not be subsumed into the other
  • Neither area is complete without consideration of what the other brings to bear
  • Significant common ground and goals exist between these 2 distinct areas, and they are well suited for collaboration.


The AHITW initiative has taken various forms since its inception in 2006:

  • Roundtable on Common Ground (2006)

The Global Learning for All project revealed that campuses are host to multiple perspectives on what the terms internationalization and diversity/multicultural education mean. As part of a follow-up grant to evaluate the impact of the Global Learning for All project, the Ford Foundation provided funding for ACE to explore further the common ground between these 2 areas. To accomplish this goal, ACE convened a 2-day roundtable in July 2006 that brought together leading theorists and campus practitioners of internationalization and multicultural education (e.g., faculty, chief diversity officers, and senior internationalization officers), presidents, and chief academic officers.

Note: Global Learning for All  launched in 2003 with financial support from the Ford Foundation, this national project promoted global learning at 8 institutions that served high numbers of racial/ethnic minorities, adult and part-time students.

  • AHITW Publication (2007)

At Home in the World: Bridging the Gap Between Internationalization and Multicultural Education (2007) outlines the common ground between multicultural education and internationalization, the ways in which these areas diverge, and potential strategies for advancing conversations that cultivate collaboration between these areas.

  • Bridging the Gap Symposium (2008) and At Home in the World Institute (2009)

These events were designed to begin a national dialogue on strategies to maximize the common ground between internationalization and multicultural education for institutional and student benefits.

The specific purpose of these events was threefold:

  1. To focus national attention on the rationale for bridging the gap between internationalization and multicultural education.
  2. To provide a forum for institutional leaders to discuss the issues involved in launching campus discussions about creating greater synergy between these 2 areas.
  3. To identify promising practices that institutional teams might include in action plans for cultivating collaboration between internationalization and multicultural education.
  • Research on Emerging Practices (2009–10)

This qualitative research study explored the process through which institutions made progress in facilitating collaboration between diversity/multicultural education and internalization efforts on their campuses. Semi-structured interviews with senior leaders from 14 institutions across the United States were conducted using an instrumental case study design.

  • Demonstration Project Funded by The Henry Luce Foundation (2010–13)

The purpose of this demonstration project was to identify effective strategies for creating synergy between internationalization and diversity/multicultural educational initiatives. ACE created a learning community with eight higher education institutions as they engaged in complex conversations to foster mutual understanding, advanced planning processes to map shared priorities, and promoted joint action to model new collaborative practices.


About this Toolkit

Through a 3-year effort, funded by The Henry Luce Foundation, ACE’s Inclusive Excellence Group and the Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement worked collaboratively with 8 institutions to advance new analytical frameworks, enhance pedagogy, and develop innovative ways of fostering collaboration between internationalization and diversity/multicultural education on campus.

Fact Sheets from Project Institutions:

Based on the work of these project institutions and previous efforts with this initiative, this toolkit is designed to provide U.S. higher education institutions with access to:

  • Communication strategies that can foster collaboration between internationalization and diversity/multicultural education administrators
  • Planning processes that foster shared priorities between internationalization and diversity/multicultural education initiatives
  • Models that feature new traditions of collaboration between international and multicultural educators and administrators. 

Next Section: Why Engage in Collaborative Work


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