#columbia goes global
Václav Havel, Columbia’s First Artist-In-Residence, Passes Away
havel

Havel in 2008

Earlier today, the Times reported that Václav Havel, the dissident playwright who was elected president of Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Soviet Union and later became the first president of the Czech Republic (after it split from Czechoslovakia), passed away at the age of 75. A founding member of Charter 77, Havel was an major figure of the civil rights movement of the ’70s. Perhaps unbeknownst to current students, Havel also has an interesting history with Columbia, having accepted an offer to become Columbia’s first “Artist-in-Residence” for a few months in 2006, three years after he stepped down as President of the Czech Republic.

The artist residency program (much like the CU Arts Initiative and the World Leaders Forum) was dreamed up by Prezbo to turn Columbia into a more “global university.” The program allowed Havel to spend about eight weeks at Columbia in late 2006. Controversially, Columbia decided earlier that year to slightly alter the Core to include Havel, adding one of his late-twentieth century plays to the first semester LitHum syllabus (which is usually nothing but ancient Greek works) and letting him give the Fall 2006 CC lecture. (more…)

Next Stop, Santiago

The new global center won't look anything like these peppers.

Yesterday, in the land of swanky catering that is the Columbia Faculty House, PrezBo announced Columbia’s latest move toward international expansion—a Global Center in Santiago, Chile.

Joining Columbia’s four other centers in Beijing, Paris, Amman, and Mumbai, the Santiago global center will be Columbia’s first in Latin America. This initiative, co-established by President Bollinger and Andronico Luksic, vice chairman of Banco de Chile, is in keeping with Bollinger’s global mission for Columbia.

Why Chile (pronounced CHEE-leh, as a Santiago native and friend of Bwog insists that we note), you may ask? In a discussion titled “Rethinking Chile’s Social and Economic Challenges,” a panel of Columbia and Barnard professors addressed this very question. After listening to answers of entrepreneurial, environmental, and even journalistic bents, Bwog gleaned at least this much: Chile is an understudied country, and the particularity of its social and economic inequalities make it worth serious exploration. As one panelist puts it, one of the center’s goals will be to “solve Chilean puzzles.”

Apart from that, though, the center’s purpose appears decidedly vague. Though they offered their own departmental hopes and speculations for Columbia’s future in Santiago, the panelists all seemed clear on one fact: this new center is about international research and collaboration—it is not a satellite campus. Naturally, this will mean different things to different areas of academia.

As elaborated in the event’s official press release (check it out after the jump!), the B-School’s Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America Program, the Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, and the J-School all have ideas for their involvement in Santiago. For undergrads, the Santiago center will mean a new opportunity to study abroad, along with all of the research and university exchange opportunities that that entails. Essentially, the goal of a center in Santiago, like Columbia’s other outposts in Europe, East and South Asia, and the Middle East, will be to facilitate new networks and partnerships across academic disciplines in order to better address global challenges.

Hint of spice via Wikimedia Commons.

Full press release after the jump

Oh, The Places You Come From And The Things You Do Here

You are here...somewhere.

This morning, all of the COÖP students left for untamed nature outside the city. NSOP doesn’t start until Monday. But it’s not all bad news! Today is the move-in day for ISOP, the International Students (Pre-) Orientation Program. ISOP started last year as a pilot program meant to give international students a few extra days to get used to living in a new country before they’re swamped by NSOP festivities. It was so successful that it’s been revamped and expanded for this year.

Cynthia Jennings, the direction of New Student Orientation Programs from Student Affairs spoke enthusiastically about the new program: “We want every student to have a successful transition into life at Columbia. ISOP will help our international students achieve that goal.”

Over the next four days, 75 students from 33 different countries will learn how to navigate Columbia’s frightfully complex bureaucracy, and explore their new city!

Spherical map via Wikimedia Commons

After the jump, check out the full schedule and a list of all the countries that ISOP freshpeople come from!

Columbia Goes Global: The University’s Mission

Columbia goes global... like this globe...

Does anyone know what the global centers do? In the larger sense, aside from hosting a program here and an event here, what is their sinister purpose? Yesterday administrators, students and scholars converged on Low Library to explain what it means in a conference entitled “Columbia Goes Global: The Next 50 Years.” Semi-pro Low Rat and Administration Fanboy Mark Hay was on the scene.

When President Lee C. Bollinger first came to Columbia, he made clear his opinion that no serious university could survive in the 21st century without becoming a global university. As far as sweeping statements go, that one made sense to everyone who heard it. Unfortunately, said Vice President for Global Centers Kenneth Prewitt, Prezbo didn’t exactly ever say what that meant. And as Columbia prepares to open global centers in Nairobi, Kenya and Santiago, Chile, over the next year, giving the university a presence in every major region of the globe, Prewitt thinks its quite time to start having a serious conversation about what it means for the university to go global.

The cozy hall behind the Rotunda of Low Library may seem an odd place to start a serious conversation with lasting influences for the fate of a major academic institution. But start there it did. At least the minds assembled, Barnard President Debora Spar, Dean of the School of General Studies Peter Awn, and Dean of Columbia College Michelle Moody-Adams, were up to the challenge. A conference such as this holds the potential to be a preening and primping session, replete with sound bites and photo ops, to show off Columbia’s new toys and puff our image. But the assembled brain trust showed a refreshing (and relatable—finally!) skepticism, coupled with genuine interest and insight into global education.

Read more after the jump!

Columbia Goes Global: Studying Abroad

Alma revamped: new and improved model, now featuring several balloons in honor of the Global conference.

On April 20, Columbia hosted a conference called “Columbia Goes Global: The Next 50 Years,” featuring speakers like PrezBo and Kenneth Prewitt. Several Bwoggers headed over to cover parts of the event. The first installment comes from studying-anywhere-but-Butler enthusiast Victoria Wills, who reports from the “A New Way to Study Abroad” segment of the event.

When Columbia announced its full-day “Columbia Goes Global” event, including a presentation about “A New Way to Study Abroad,” many hoped for follow-up to President Bollinger’s fireside chat proposition of an expenses-paid fifth year abroad.  Sadly, PrezBo and his enigmatic plan were far from the topic of this chat.  Instead, Interim Director of Columbia Global Centers Europe Victoria de Grazia presented a powerpoint on a new new way Columbia students will study abroad: at Reid Hall, in Paris.

“At Reid Hall?” you might ask, “doesn’t Columbia already have programs at Reid Hall?”  Well… yeah. But, once it’s renamed an Advanced School for Global Studies (and presumably decked out in the cutting-edge grass photoshopped into the Parisian alleyways de Grazia’s powerpoint slides), the Reid Hall we know and love will become “Reid Hall 2020,” the way of the future.  On a serious note, de Grazia offered insightful comments on the need for undergraduate programs that integrate students more fully in the language and culture of the host nation, and drew interesting comparisons back to her own immersive study abroad experience in Europe and North Africa in the 1960s with Smith College.

Read more after the jump!