The International Development Initiative works with USAID and in-country education, government and civic partners to promote inclusive, accessible educational models that drive economic growth and workforce development and unlock opportunities for youth.

Across the developing world, exploding youth populations bring new challenges — and opportunities — for education systems and national economies. Many developing countries have made dramatic strides in expanding access to basic education, but the next horizon is increasing educational quality while developing accessible pathways to post-secondary opportunities, especially for girls and students from marginalized and vulnerable backgrounds. Realizing the potential of higher education as a catalyst for employment, entrepreneurship and economic growth requires capacity strengthening at the individual, institutional and systemic level with a focus on workforce development, private sector partnership and applied research.

The International Development Initiative works to translate the lessons learned in ASU’s own transformation — one of the most radical redesigns in the history of global higher education — which simultaneously increases accessibility and quality, advances economic growth and responds to the social challenges facing opportunity youth and marginalized and vulnerable learners. We work with local partners to elevate basic education quality through teacher training, curriculum development and innovative approaches to education delivery that overcome geographic and technological limitations. In higher education, we work with ministries and institutions to advance transformative models that increase market relevance, drive workforce development and create capacity for development-relevant local research. 

In both basic and higher education, ASU leverages its strengths as a leader in education technology to advance digital transformation, even in low-tech and low bandwidth environments, to expand access, strengthen delivery and improve student outcomes at scale. We also focus on empowering youth through opportunities for entrepreneurship, employment and civic engagement, fostering leadership skills and supporting their ability to be agents of positive change.

Related projects

Group of young people pose for the camera

Young African Leadership Initiative Legacy Localization

RLCs in Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, South Africa; Alumni chapters in 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa

Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Legacy Localization seeks to unite the work of multiple YALI stakeholders to conceive a pan-sub-Saharan African entity named YALI Africa to develop the next generation of African leaders through the harmonization and strengthening of a comprehensive leadership training program in 49 countries in Africa.

Strengthening Higher Education Access in Malawi Activity (SHEAMA)


In partnership with Malawi's five public universities, ASU is implementing the USAID-funded Strengthening Higher Education Access in Malawi Activity (SHEAMA), which aims to equitably develop the country's skilled workforce and create opportunity for youth.

Center of Excellence for Energy (COE/E)


The USAID-funded Center of Excellence for Energy aims to support Egypt in meeting its energy transition goal of 42% renewable energy by 2035. Arizona State University works with three partner universities in Egypt to increase higher education capacity to produce a strong energy sector work force by assessing and developing curriculum and laboratory space, conducting binational research that is pertinent to Egypt’s energy challenges, and facilitating exchanges and trainings.

Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT)


Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) is a transformative USAID-funded program that leverages a diverse consortium of government, industry and academic partners to enable inclusive, technology-driven economic growth in Vietnam.

Higher Education Partnership - Morocco (HEP-M)


The Higher Education Partnership-Morocco (HEP-M) is an impactful collaboration to support Morocco's 12 public universities and teacher training centers in enhancing primary teacher education. The ASU-primed project aims to develop a comprehensive curriculum for an undergraduate degree in primary teaching, accompanied by a two-year experiential training program

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Delve deeper into other International Development Initiative projects designed to create a safe, prosperous, equitable future for citizens around the world.