Editor’s note: This page will soon feature a more complete SPAN history and organizational timeline since the Student Project for Amity among Nations was formed in 1947. The page will also feature a list of every country visited since then.Thank you for your patience.

About SPAN

SPAN, the Student Project for Amity among Nations, is Minnesota’s oldest, and one-of-a-kind study and research abroad program. It was founded in 1947 by a group of students who saw the need for international understanding. Since its inception, nearly 3,000 SPANners have visited 93 countries on six continents. As a student-led, non-profit organization, the Minnesota SPAN Association offers every SPAN participant a scholarship. SPAN is open to students from all Minnesota colleges and universities.


  • In 1946, right after World War II, a group of students at the University of Minnesota dreamed of a way in which they could make a contribution toward a better, more peaceful, world
  • After many meetings with University officials who dared to grant academic approval, and after receiving contributions from several metropolitan businesses, the SPAN program, or Student Project for Amity among Nations was organized
  • SPAN was the first study, learning and research abroad program in Minnesota
  • The idealism of the group was obvious in the name selected–Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN). It is further evidenced in the motto which is: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”
  • In summer 1947, groups of SPANners from the University of Minnesota, each with a faculty advisor, traveled and studied to four European countries; you may find their research project findings in the SPAN library, room 772, Social Science Building, U of M West BankSince 1947, more than 2,500 students have shared the SPAN research experience in more than 80 countries and cultures. More than 1,600 of the research projects completed by SPANners are now on display in the SPAN Library located next to the SPAN Office, 772 Social Sciences Building, at the University of Minnesota.



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