TIEF Grant Review Team: Summar Lyons and Olivia Issa

Celebrating the TIEF Grant Review Team

We here at TIEC are thrilled to spotlight two outstanding leaders from our grant review team for the Texas International Education Fund (TIEF). Their expertise and dedication are vital to our mission of fostering global understanding and educational excellence.

Summar Lyons, Partners of the Americas
Summar Lyons is a visionary leader in intercultural exchange, tirelessly working to champion youth leadership and foster mutual understanding between Latin America and the United States. She leads the development and management of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas student engagement strategy and alumni network, creating impactful opportunities for students across the hemisphere.

Summar has successfully led programs such as Engineer for the Week in partnership with Meta, which brought STEM and music education to over 1,000 youth across 10 countries. Her leadership was also instrumental in the 2022 Buenos Aires Youth Leaders hybrid exchange program, where she facilitated 12 weeks of virtual engagement and a leadership camp for 24 youth. Under her guidance, the Career Connections Seminars and the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, have empowered over 1,000 U.S. citizen exchange alumni to leverage their international experiences for career advancement and community impact.

Olivia Issa, National Association of System Heads (NASH) Refugee Resettlement Initiative (RRI)
Olivia Issa has been a passionate advocate and leader for migrant and refugee communities since the age of 15, demonstrating exceptional leadership in various capacities. As the Program Lead for the NASH Refugee Resettlement Initiative, she spearheads efforts to enhance the inclusion and support of refugees within educational systems.

Olivia founded the Welcoming Campus Initiative at George Washington University, significantly improving the inclusion of refugee-background students through scholarships, mentorship programs, and revised admissions practices. Her leadership extended to her role as Executive Director of No Lost Generation GWU, where she led initiatives in lobbying, fundraising, volunteering, and campus-wide education to support refugee advocacy.

Olivia’s contributions to “The RESPONSE Campaign” report and her co-authorship of chapters in “Accessing Quality Education: Local and Global Perspectives from Refugees” underscore her commitment to expanding educational access for refugees. Her mentorship has guided over 60 young women and girls with refugee backgrounds, assisting them with college applications, job readiness, and social success. Olivia remains actively involved with the Immigrant and Refugee Outreach Center, continuing her impactful work within the Arab community in northern Virginia.

About TIEF
Now in its second year, the Texas International Education Fund (TIEF) was born from the belief that the Texas International Education Consortium is only as effective as the opportunities it brings to its members and the outcomes it achieves. We proudly award over $150,000 in grants each year, supporting innovative projects and initiatives that enhance international education.
We are honored to have such incredible professionals as part of our preferred partner network, working together to create a more inclusive and globally connected educational landscape.