The International Studies Office Fall Study Abroad Fair this month attracted more than 700 students who came to collect information on more than 60 study abroad opportunities on every continent around the world (except Antarctica) in the coming year. The Global Affairs development team led by Carrie Jordan has more than doubled philanthropic support for study abroad scholarships and Global Studies faculty hiring. Dr. Scott Heysell took over as the new leader of the Center for Global Health Equity, and is already at work expanding exciting undergraduate research opportunities around the world into the problems and solutions connected to access to health care, while Professor Brian Owensby continues his leadership to expand interdisciplinary research opportunities for faculty and graduate students in the most critical emerging questions around the world. The Global Studies program under the dynamic leadership of Professor Phoebe Crisman is enrolling a record number of students in this innovative undergraduate major with an expanding core of faculty. And this year, we’ve enrolled one of the highest numbers of international students at both the undergraduate and graduate level in the University’s history, richly expanding the diversity of our community.
Some of of our initiatives this year are particularly exciting. By the end of the calendar year, we expect to hire a new Director of Global Initiatives, who will be responsible for expanding programs to bring international practitioners to Grounds to participate in globally-oriented courses, develop a program to host international scholars-at-risk who are fleeing persecution, and manage the opening of at least three new UVA offices around the world. This month we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of UVA’s longest running study abroad programs in Valencia, Spain, with the participation of over 100 alumni and a broad array of UVA leaders. Thanks to generous philanthropic support, UVA China Director Justin O’Jack and I will lead a fully-funded J-term course on the history of sports diplomacy in U.S.-China relations in the context of current bilateral challenges, featuring exhibition ping pong matches between UVA students and Chinese counterparts. Another generous donation will allow us to significantly expand scholarship funding for passports for students to enable their travel on study abroad programs.
This fall we will convene the first meetings of UVA’s Global Engagement Council, with senior representatives of all of UVA’s schools to chart the University’s long-term course in internationalizing our mission. Our new Global Affairs Corps of Ambassadors, with more than a dozen parents and alumni from around the world will help us with their advice and networks as we seek to grow our global engagement even more.
All in all, there’s never been a better time to get involved in globalizing your UVA experience. Come join us!