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.