Friday, October 15, 2010

Global perspectives on the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

The recent Nobel Peace Prize award has garnered all kinds of reactions from every corner of the globe. From the highest circles of socio-political commentary down to grassroots-level netizens, shouts of praise and cries of indignation have flooded nearly every media outlet imaginable.

Amidst the swell of this reaction, a write-up was done in the Communique, a student publication at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, which reflected some of the breadth of this spectrum through the voices of globally-minded Columbia graduate students from China, the Chinese diaspora, and the West. Read more on the Communique article here:

Particularly as part of this article features a quote from one of your humble Global Centers blog authors, I encourage you to keep as objective a viewpoint as possible in considering the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize results. Was this decision non-partisan? To what degree do we need to contextualize our understanding in terms of macro-level factors and polarized interests?

An important thing to remember in this evaluation is the actual purpose of the Prize. According to its website, the Nobel Peace Prize seeks to award: “...the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. How well does this year’s selection reflect this mission? More emphatically, does this year’s selection actually further its mission of encouraging “fraternity between nations” and “promotion of peace congresses”?

Thanks to the Communique and Thomas Chen for allowing the inclusion of their article.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fund Unpaid Internships!

Learn how to fund your unpaid internship this summer!

Join Center for Career Education and Fellowships Office staff at two workshops this fall:

October 27th from 12 – 1 pm in the CCE Conference Room
November 9th from 2 – 3 pm in the CCE Conference Room

Taking an unpaid or low-paying internship in a field you love doesn't have to break the bank.  Attend this presentation to learn about how to find and apply for funding for unpaid opportunities, and about other strategies to make ends meet.  The Summer Interns Living and Learning Program (SILLP), the Alumni & Parent Internship Fund (APIF) and the Work Exemption Program (WEP) will also be discussed.  The Fellowships Office will join us to share helpful tips and resources.

To learn more about how to fund an unpaid internship, please visit our website.

Casual Attire.
Registration suggested in advance, but not required. To register, click here.
Resume not required.
Eligibility: This event is open to all Undergraduate and Graduate students at the following schools: Columbia College, School of General Studies, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning, School of Continuing Education and School of the Arts.

Additional Questions? Contact Liz Wang at

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Geng Xiao on China's Next 20 Years

Executive Director of the East Asia Global Center and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Geng Xiao, was recently featured in a number of international media venues (CCTV, China Daily, “China: The Next Twenty Years of Reform and Development”, etc.) discussing his views on the economic challenges and likely policy responses for China in upcoming years.

According to Professor Xiao, in the broadest sense the macroeconomic challenge facing China today revolves around managing its exchange, interest and inflation rates to facilitate the stable and “harmonious” growth that has been so heavily emphasized by Chinese leadership, as Western economies shrink in size relative to emerging markets.

He points to prices in Chinese non-tradable goods— unskilled labor wages, property values, etc.— rising in comparison to tradable goods, whose price are dictated by the global market. Following this trend, he predicts that over the next few decades Chinese price levels will converge toward those of the US through structural inflation or structural revaluation of the yuan— or both.

Here Professor Xiao takes a stand: that structural inflation is the better of the two avenues, and that China must in fact permit a reasonable degree of structural inflation.

As a positive claim, this approach prioritizes employment, productivity gains, wage growth and price liberalization, while preserving the benefits of a stable exchange rate in curbing speculative capital inflows and the short-term shocks that they often carry.

In a more negative sense, Professor Xiao calls on the troubled experience of Japan in prematurely appreciating its currency during the Plaza Accord of 1985, and indicates that currency appreciation as a means of adjusting trade imbalances— a common stance among US policy-makers— is a misguided notion. The huge potential for cross-border investment and debt financing between the US and China, and the potentially larger size of cross-border capital flows as compared to trade flows between the two countries over time, encourage a stable exchange rate as being in both countries’ longer-term interests. Moreover, structural inflation will ultimately lead to a real revaluation of the RMB, which will then facilitate the shift to a flexible exchange regime along the way.

Of course, tolerating structural inflation will necessitate policymaking that will mitigate distortions and shocks that will occur during the adjustment process. Chinese policymakers must deal with property and stock-market bubbles currently being formed. As Professor Xiao makes clear, this will require raising Chinese interest rates (which currently lie at dangerously low, and even negative rates in real terms), and improving capital-control mechanisms as greater capital inflows ensue.

Read more on this discussion at:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review of “The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World” (Princeton University Press, 2010)

In The Great Brain Race, Ben Wildavsky, senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation, guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and former US News & World Report education editor, delivers a comprehensive overview of the globalization of academia.

Beginning with an introduction of the phenomenon and an outline of his basic project, Wildavsky dives into an examination of international student movement, the expansion of universities into a transnational context, and the development of competitive, world-class universities around the world. Key factors at work in this examination are the sheer number of students studying abroad, the dynamic globalization models of universities such as NYU and regions such as Qatar’s Education City, and the impressive rise of top-notch universities in non-traditional locales ranging from China, to India, South Korea, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.

Wildavsky then turns to the global spread of university ranking systems, from the well-known US News & World Report, to up-and-comers like the Academic Ranking of World Universities, a research-focused publication by Shanghai Jiaotong University, and the arguably UK-centric Times Higher Education. Following the exploration of these metrics, he then assesses the rise of for-profit and online education facilities, which carry the benefits of providing readily accessible, career-oriented learning options, but suffer from questions regarding the quality of their educational services and their positive or negative impacts on the education systems around them.

While The Great Brain Race does an excellent job of examining the various angles at work in academic globalization, and while it provides many interesting facts regarding this ongoing movement, readers may find the book to be lacking as far as a core argument or motivational purpose. The introduction and final chapter of the book take a stab at establishing this sort of motivating theme, where Wildavsky discusses his worries about the obstacles facing academic globalization, and his support of its many benefits, which he stylizes as being part of a positive-sum “free trade in minds”. Despite this attempt, and in large part due to the dynamic nature and incredible breadth of his project, the book falls somewhat short of introducing a unique premise, and may instead be highlighted for its strengths as a broad-based survey and referential resource to better understand the globalization of the academic field.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Opportunities with the Global Centers in New York

Are you interested in getting more involved with international events and activities on campus? The Global Centers is hiring two workstudy-eligible students for administrative and communications support positions.  We are also looking for new bloggers to help develop the content on the blog. For all of the new students coming to campus, this is a great opportunity to learn about international studies opportunities, meet new people, and make Columbia a better place.

Contact Monique Smith at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Global Centers Wins NRC/FLAS Grant

Columbia Global Centers is pleased to announce that it has recently been awarded a major grant by the United States Department of Education to establish a National Resource Center for Global Studies at the university. This is a significant step toward strengthening Columbia’s already robust set of international courses, events, and outreach activities. In the next four-year grant cycle, the Office of Global Centers will be implementing an array of programs including a major initiative to bring the World Leadership Forum to local K-16 schools via webcast. Funding will also be directed to the libraries, language teaching, several conferences on global topics, and course development grants.

Next month, as a part of this new program and in coordination with the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Harriman Institute, the Committee on Global Thought and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, the Global Centers will launch the International Network to Expand Regional and Collaborative Teaching (INTERACT), which will bring 5 postdoctoral fellows to campus to create innovative courses on global topics for undergraduates.

For the 2010-11 Academic Year, Columbia Global Centers has awarded Foreign Language and Area Studies  (FLAS) Fellowships to 2 undergraduate and 3 graduate students. Please contact for more information on Summer FLAS opportunities

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Branch Campuses May Be Unsustainable

In this article published in International Higher Education, Dr. Philip Altbach discusses some of the reasons to think twice about the branch campus model of international expansion. Among his concerns are questions of sustainability, quality control, and long-term impact. Columbia has adopted the Global Centers model in response to the "mushrooming" of these university campuses abroad, and it is a model that addresses many of Altbach's concerns.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

China-US Center on Medical Professionalism Seeks Grant Applications

The China-US Center on Medical Professionalism will fund 4-5 research projects by Chinese academics in 2010. This year we are making a commitment to the intersection of administration, business and medicine in China, and are soliciting applications for projects in the following areas of interest: 

  1. Conflict of interest in research and clinical practice.
  2. How medical professionalism can contribute to health policy.
  3. The impact of payment models and physician salaries on medical professionalism.
  4. Approaches and solutions to medical error: how to study error and foster trust amongst administrators and physicians.
  5. The role of professional medical associations in promoting medical professionalism. 
  6. The role of hospitals in promoting medical professionalism.

The amounts awarded will range from 65,000RMB to 100,000RMB annually. The project period could be 1 or 2 years. For more information on the Center and application details, visit  Questions can be sent to

Applications close on June 20th, 2010.  PLEASE NOTE: grants will only be given to academics based in China. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Continuing Financial Crisis: Perspectives from the North and the South

We have all read articles, seen pictures, listened to shows, and read blogs on the impact of the Great Recession. But somehow when you have leading economists (current and former) from the World Bank, the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and international universities describe the consequences of the recession it becomes a more profound social and political force.

On March 25, 2010 four economists joined Columbia's Committee On Global Thought for an afternoon discussion entitled, "The Continuing Financial Crisis: Perspectives from the North and the South." Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development at the UN, Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist at the World Bank, Prabhat Patnaik, Professor of Economis at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University shared unique perspectives on how the financial crisis has impacted both developed and developing nations.
Stiglitz joined the conversation
While some, myself included, may focus on how the recession affects their own job, neighborhood, or local school district, the economists showed important evidence on why it is critical that politicians and organizations pay greater attention to the global impact of the economy.
Unbalanced international economic systems made Southern nations the "innocent victims" of the recession, shared Sundaram, explaining that today's international systems exclude and constrain the poorest nations. He noted that the, "G7 means 171 other countries are not included." Developing nations have had to deal with the blow of unemployment, unproductive investments, decreased remittances, and higher borrowing costs.
Despite the hurdles, the economists noted that there were several avenues for improving the economic situation including more careful foreign direct investment, better international coordination between the developed nations, and strong stimulus policies.
For more detailed information on the expert's opinions and ideas watch a video of the event that will be posted here shortly. For more information visiting the Committee on Global Thought's website.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

President Nicolas Sarkozy Comes to Columbia University

On Monday, March 29th, President Nicolas Sarkozy, sixth president of the Fifth Republic of France, delivered an address to the Columbia University community in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library. The Maison Française and the Columbia-Paris Alliance Program cosponsored this World Leaders Forum event. After having been introduced by Columbia’s President Lee C. Bollinger, President Sarkozy jogged onto the stage and, discarding his prepared speech, told the audience that he wanted to “speak from the heart, as a friend.”

The French president then went on to stress that Europe, the United States’s “European friends,” wanted to be heard and listened to by the United States, and that “Europe and the United States of America must work together” to stabilize the world’s economy, fight terrorism, and redesign the structure of the United Nations Security Council and world governance.

President Sarkozy expressed the idea that the United States needs to be more aware of the fact that the economic crisis has had an impact worldwide, and that the “world is totally interdependent and interlocked.” He emphasized that “we can no longer accept a capitalist system where there are no rules,” and called for a system that held its players responsible both when things go well and when things do not go well. He argued that capitalism cannot be defended when there is injustice present in it.

He also declared that it is the United States’s and Europe’s responsibility to regulate the world economy, and to gage the economy differently in order to support sustainable growth. President Sarkozy made the argument that the market economy has become a “speculative economy,” where there should be a “productive economy,” meaning that people should earn their money based on their ability to produce, rather than to speculate.

President Sarkozy went on to point out to the audience that not only are there no Arab, African or Latin American countries with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, but also that India and Japan do not have permanent seats on the UN Security Council. He argued that it was unacceptable to operate on an exclusionary model, and proposed that every region of the world should have two to three representatives with permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, because “everyone has to be on board the world [governance].”

Finally, President Sarkozy concluded with an emphasis on the fact that the fight against terrorism involves everyone in the world, using the recent attacks in the Moscow subway as an example. He ended his address with a direct appeal to Columbia University students, saying “you must never turn your backs on the world.”

President Sarkozy’s remarks were followed by a brief question and answer session, in which he provided the audience with some final thoughts on international universities, health care in the United States, and the role of Europe in the current economic crisis. He ended the question and answer session with a declaration of his intent to fight for the establishment of a new international world monetary system and the regulation of currency fluctuations.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The the Ibrahim Hashem House Preservation Project

Beginning in March of 2009, the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s Historic Preservation Program has been steadily working on the documentation of a small villa given to the GSAPP by the city of Amman in Jordan in the Ibrahim Hashem House Preservation Project. Leading this project is Professor Andrew Dolkart, who is working alongside a group of GSAPP students, as well as Professor George Wheeler and Dean Mark Wigley of the GSAPP.

This project is a part of a more general effort for Columbia University to make Amman a global center for Columbia. The subject of the project—the abandoned villa in Amman, Jordan—was built in 1935 for one of Jordan’s first prime ministers. The municipality of Amman gave the villa to Columbia and facilitated the work for the Ibrahim Hashem House Preservation Project.

The first step in the project began last spring, when Professor Dolkart selected five students based on their individual talents to work with him to restore the villa. These students had the opportunity to present their work to Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, advisory board member of the Columbia Global Center, at the March launch of the Center. The students continued working on the house through the summer of 2009.

When the Ibrahim Hashem House Preservation Project is completed, it will provide another venue for Columbia University in the city of Amman that has the specific function of developing collaborative projects between Columbia University and local and regional architects, planners, and preservationists.

Professor Dolkart and his team of students and colleagues hold as the final goal of this project the rehabilitation of the villa. They hope that the finished project will provide a residential center for visiting scholars in Amman, as well as a site for discussion, and the sharing of ideas about what Professor Dolkart calls the “built world.” The team hopes to add a cafĂ© and a gallery to the villa, but the specifics, according to Professor Dolkart, will have to be worked out as the design proceeds.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Interacting with Columbia Interactive

Your Wish List:
  1. A class on America and the Muslim world
  2. An interactive network dedicated to international affairs
  3. A complete history of New York Architecture
  4. Links to all of Columbia’s publications from the Fed to Columbia’s Journal of Law and Social Problems
  5. A class on the wonders of Nano-science

You’re in luck. You can reach all this and more from your desk with Columbia Interactive, Columbia University’s online learning site. The site combines online resources such as websites and webcasts, e-seminars, online e-courses for credit, and new media initiatives. By pooling a wide-range of online resources in one accessible site members of the Columbia community have a world of information at their finger-tips.
Its online e-seminars are short courses that cover a wide range of topics in the arts, sciences, business, and journalism. The free e-seminars focus on diverse issues from "America and the Muslim World" to "Biography of the AIDS Epidemic."

By utilizing current technology the site connects scholars, educators, and students that may otherwise be separated by geography or time. With a computer and internet connection Columbia students or staff could hear "The Future of English" a seminar taught by David Crystal, leading language expert and resident of Holyhead, United Kingdom. In addition, the classes have found meaningful ways to engage their learners wherever they may be. The course, "News Reporting: A Fire Scenario" takes students through a two-hour journalism simulation to cover a five-alarm raging fire.
Find out how you would cover this....

Columbia Interactive also focuses on connecting the Columbia community to many resources that are already on the web. Faculty interviews, articles, and databases are just a click away from their website. Their listing of Columbia’s journals and newsletters means that students and alumni can keep in touch with new findings no matter where they may travel.
One problem that arises in using the website is that many of the links or resources are outdated. Excitedly clicking on links often led me to warnings of “Page No Longer Exists.” Perhaps the site is awaiting a spring cleaning. In 2003 the website received a Web Award for Outstanding Achievement in Website Development from the Web Marketing Association. The competition was sponsored by Google, Internet World, and Advertising Week, and featured entries from 19 countries. An update could make it equally useful in the new decade.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Academic Commons: Deposit Your Electronic Research!

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services invites you to deposit your electronic research materials into the University's online repository, Academic Commons. This secure preservation service is offered free of charge to the CU community, and includes a permanent URL for every item deposited as well as the option to maximize your work's visibility via Google Scholar and RSS feeds. Eligible content includes (and is not limited to): theses, dissertations, articles, working papers, conference materials, journals, monographs, data sets, and multimedia files.
Those who deposit receive advice on copyright and permissions information for their work and support for compliance with funding-related archiving requirements. Authors can specify levels of access to their work public to Columbia-only to “none” (on a time-limited basis). For more information and to begin depositing your materials, please email Sarah Holsted at, or call her at 212-851-7339.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Job Opening: Director for Europe (Loc: Paris)

Columbia University
Office of International Relations

Reporting to the Office of Global Centers in New York, the Director is responsible for leading the Columbia Global Center for Europe, located in Paris.

  1. Establish a vibrant academic Center in Europe and link that Center's programs to Columbia University's network of global centers around the world. 
  2. Strategically communicate to Columbia faculty and administrators the activities and services offered by the Center and effectively build teaching and research programs that advance the core mission of the University. 
  3. Work closely with academic colleagues and institutions across Europe, and reach out to Europe's policy and business communities. 
  4. Maintain and enforce the Center's identity standards including editorial and visual guidelines.
  5. Work closely with the Vice President of Global Centers to set policies, assist with strategic planning.
  6. Work closely with the Director of Administration in New York to ensure Center compliance with all the financial, legal, tax policies and rules. 
  7. Work on fundraising in close collaboration with the Office of Alumni and Development. 
  8. Manage the strategic direction of the Center's website. 
  9. Is responsible for the financial management of the Center. 
  10. Supervise administrative and program staff. 
  11. Other duties and projects as assigned.  

Bachelor's degree required. Seven years' related experience required.  

Prior experience living and/or working in Europe. Fluency in English, and at least one other major European language. Five years experience at a senior level in academic administration, program development and financial management, preferably in Europe. Proven entrepreneurial talents and achievement in an institution-building setting. Superior interpersonal skills with proven ability to successfully interact and collaborate with varied constituencies in a professional manner. Excellent written and oral communication skills, demonstrating tact and diplomacy working with a wide variety of personalities. Must be a team player and innovative self-starter. Willing to accept multiple year commitment in Paris, France.  

For a full job announcement and to apply, please visit our web site:

Columbia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

EVENT: Global Poetry Reading

In our efforts to make the humanities play a significant role in globalizing the curriculum, the International Council and Global Cultural Studies are arranging a series of events.  First in the series is what we’re calling a “Global Poetry Reading,”  with Abena Busia, Meena Alexander, and Marilyn Hacker on March 25, 2010 in the Library of the Casa Italiana (1161 Amsterdam Avenue) from 6:00p-8:00p, to be followed by a reception and book signing.  Rosalind Morris will be the discussant.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Bridge Between Columbia and Africa

The number of international students at Columbia from Africa has been on the rise since 2004, according to data provided by Columbia University’s International Programs and Services (ISSO) office, which provides support for visas and other documents for international students who come to Columbia University. ISSO is responsible for international students who enroll in and/or intern at Columbia, and the students whose place of origin is Africa make up 2.7%. There are 195 African students enrolled in and interning at Columbia University for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Of these African students, 1.1% of Columbia’s international population hail from West Africa, 33 of the 147 enrolled students are from Nigeria, 10 of the 48 interns are from Morocco, and at 39 total students, Nigeria is the country of origin for 20% of the total number of international students at Columbia whose place of origin is Africa.

However, according to Dean Kathleen McDermott, the director and assistant Vice President of Columbia University’s Office of Global Programs, there is still a lack of general cohesion among Columbia’s various affiliation attempts with the African continent.

Columbia’s various units—such as the Business School, the Mailman School of Public Health, the School of International and Public Affairs, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences—each have their own respective programs through which they send students to Africa, but according to Dean McDermott, there is very little communication between these programs unless a problem—such as a safety issue in one of the countries—arises, making it very difficult to form comprehensive plans to increase Columbia’s correspondence with African countries.

The Office of Global Programs itself does not currently run very many programs in Africa that are solely through Columbia University. However, through outside schools and programs it sends students to North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa every year. Many of the programs that students travel through are field study programs, research programs, and volunteer programs. Students who are interested in research and/or volunteering in Africa have access to several summer programs that are located in most countries throughout the continent. Dean McDermott would like to establish more of its own programs in African countries; they are currently discussing a program that it will have in affiliation with Senegal.

Through the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, the African Consortium, which is affiliated with Columbia University as well as the Universities of Cape Town in South Africa, Ghana, Ibadan in Nigeria, and Nairobi in Kenya, has conducted a series of pilot courses and strategic policy discussions, and is currently developing a program of language-based socio-cultural studies. The Consortium also includes a student exchange program with the University of Ghana.

The Mailman School of Public Health’s International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) and the Earth Institute’s Millennium Villages Projects operate in the region with large staffs and a substantial number of established programs in affiliation with African countries. ICAP takes a ‘family centered approach’ to its mission to fortify health systems through programs that address the issue of HIV/AIDS and other related health concerns. It was founded in 2004, and it has already provided access to HIV care to over 750,000 people, and provided HIV treatment to about 358,000 people.
ICAP’s staff, led by Global Director Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, consists of around 1,200 people, with approximately 1,000 physical sites across 13 African countries, with no current plans to expand. This vast staff as well as various students and medical professionals who work through ICAP’s programs provides services such as monitoring and evaluation of HIV programs, research on epidemiology, prevention and management of infectious diseases, real-time data collection and reporting, training and mentoring of medical professionals and students, education, medical equipment and supplies, HIV care and antiretroviral treatment (ART) for children and adults, HIV testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), treatment adherence and psychosocial support, and care and treatment for related diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and malaria.

The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is a partnership between the Earth Institute, Columbia University, Millennium Promise, and the United Nation Development Programme. Over a five year period, MVP hopes to help communities and local governments to develop the capacity to continue MVP’s initiatives and build a foundation for sustainable growth. So far, MVP has touched an approximated 400,000 people in 79 villages. It has 12 groups across 10 African countries, which consist of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Although needs vary from sector to sector, the greatest overall need is funding to launch community-based development projects that have been set up to be self-sustaining after several financial injections. Because of the various agro-ecological zones, MVP’s services also vary from sector to sector, but some of the resources it provides are high yield seeds, fertilizers, medicines, drinking wells, materials to build school rooms and clinics, and access to resources such as agroforestry, insecticide-treated malaria bed nets, antiretroviral drugs, the internet, remote sensing, and geographic information systems.

The study of Africa from an intellectual standpoint is integral to the academic life on campus. One such resource is the Center for African Education (CAE) through Teacher’s College. CAE supports research and teachings about education in African and in the African Diaspora. Another resource is the Institute of African Studies (IAS). Established in 1959, IAS is one of the ten regional institutes at Columbia, and it provides a resource for African-centered academic research, program development, curriculum, student advising, and local, national, and international dialogue and action in Africa. IAS seeks to provide a forum for faculty, students, scholars, and the more general community that is engaged in policy initiatives in Africa.

Friday, January 8, 2010

President Bollinger Discusses His New Book on a Free Press for a Shrinking World

Click on the link above to hear from President Bollinger on his ideas about global society, free press and the University's global agenda.

Monday, January 4, 2010

From Mumbai: Outward and Onward

In March of 2010, Columbia will open the newest Global Centers in Paris, France and Mumbai, India, the latest in an expanding international web of research centers. The Center in Mumbai will be an important outpost for scholarly collaboration in India and worldwide.
The new research center is a huge project both physically, in its building, and in its programming. Nirupam Bajpai, economist and Director of South Asian Programs for Columbia’s Earth Institute, will be leading efforts to open the Center. As a renowned researcher in India, he will no doubt be up to the challenge. The Mumbai Center will be Columbia’s fourth hub for global scholarship with three already operating in Beijing, China, Paris, France, and Amman, Jordan. A new center in one of Southern Asia’s leading cities will strengthens Columbia’s research efforts in India.
“Being physically present makes outreach and involvement with local institutions easier while still maintaining a close relationship with Columbia,” explained Bajpai.
But it is the opportunity for individuals to collaborate transnationally in Beijing, Paris and Amman that makes this Center exceptional. The arrangements and connections between the four centers will make Columbia’s Global Centers a unique model in comparison to other universities.
As researchers look outward from Mumbai to a web of international research centers they will also look onward to the future. The location in Mumbai will allow Columbia’s Earth Institute to work alongside Indian leaders in sustainability research and policymaking. Researchers may continue working on future-oriented projects such as “India 2047,” a sustainable development initiative recognizing the centennial of India’s 1947 independence. Bajpai explained that having a physical presence in Mumbai is helpful, “not just to impact India but South Asia in general; Nepal, Sri Lanka, and surrounding countries.”
Check back on our blog for more news as the Center’s opening approaches.

Middle East Global Center Institute for Scholars

Visiting Scholars and Visiting Fellows Program

The Institute for Scholars at the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC) creates new research opportunities and facilitates scholarly exchanges among Columbia University faculty and researchers and regional partners. The Institute enables members to pursue individual and collaborative research, as well as interact with experts throughout the Middle East. In addition, the Institute contributes to the vitality of the Center’s intellectual community and enriches educational programming. The Visiting Scholars and Visiting Fellows programs provide the backbone of the Institute by establishing funded research slots for qualified academics.

Visiting Scholar and Fellow positions are available to faculty and PhD students of Columbia University and its affiliates, as well as academics who identify as Middle Eastern or live in the MENA region. Candidates from any discipline with any geographic focus are eligible to apply. The Institute welcomes all research areas, including Middle Eastern languages and cultures, environmental studies, education, archeology, sustainable development, political theory, social work, agricultural studies, computer science, geology, management, journalism, and religion. To promote intellectual exchange and cooperation, the Institute also encourages group proposals and collaboration with Columbia University faculty. Funding is available for two to three candidates in each of the following categories:

Visiting Scholars include faculty members and accomplished writers.
Visiting Fellows include PhD students and post doctoral fellows. (Preference will be given to candidates with a working relationship with tenured faculty from Columbia University, or an academic institution of its caliber.)

Visiting Scholars and Fellows will be named for terms consisting of semesters or a full academic year, with the possibility of renewal for additional terms. Exceptions may be made for shorter residency periods, depending on the needs and assessments of the Center and the selection committee.

While pursuing their research agendas, Visiting Scholars and Fellows are expected to enrich CUMERC’s intellectual life by participating in activities at the Center and by convening roundtable discussions or conferences related to their subject area. CUMERC will host weekly Institute for Scholars meetings to encourage informal discourse and idea exchange within the CUMERC community and, occasionally, with the public. Whenever possible, CUMERC will also connect Scholars and Fellows to existing academic institutions in the region and facilitate collaboration.
Members of the Institute for Scholars are expected to recognize the Columbia University Middle East Research Center in any publication that draws on knowledge gained or based on work conducted during their stay at the Institute. Scholars and Fellows are also expected to share publications, research findings, and data collected during their residency at the Center.

The Institute for Scholars will provide Visiting Scholars with a maximum annual award of $35,000. Visiting Fellows will receive a maximum annual award of $25,000. Scholars and Fellows may also apply for an additional annual research allowance of no more than $10,000, to cover costs related to fieldwork, symposia, conferences, and acquisition of materials, for example.
The Center will also provide Institute for Scholars members with office space, access to institutional resources (IT support, laptop, Columbia University’s online library resources, and CUMERC’s Resource Center), and access to meetings and conference facilities. Scholars and Fellows can utilize the Center’s administrative and research staff, when this support is available, to assist their research endeavors. The Center will also provide support in finding housing and acquiring residency permits.
The Center encourages schools at Columbia University to designate Fellows to pursue projects that develop the school’s presence in the region. Research stipends will not be granted to such Fellows, unless otherwise determined by the Institute’s selection committee.

Selection Process 
Applications must be submitted to CUMERC’s Senior Academic Manager, Nisreen Haj Ahmad (, by February 28, 2010 and should include the following components:
 CV
 research proposal
 project budget
 two letters of reference from former employers or academics specializing in the applicant’s field

Selection of Scholars and Fellows will be determined by a five-member selection committee composed of CUMERC’s Director, members of CUMERC's faculty steering committee, and a Columbia University faculty member representing the applicant’s discipline. Candidates may be contacted for interviews from the selection committee in spring of 2010. The Institute for Scholars will inform successful applicants and confirm their acceptance of by June 2010.

Selection Criteria 
The selection committee will evaluate applicants based on previous publications, strength of research proposals, collaborative research methodologies, relevance to the region, and originality. Awards will be granted not only based on strength of scholarship and coherence of research proposals, but also based on CUMERC’s research priorities and the distribution of disciplines, methodologies, and backgrounds best suited to fostering a vibrant research community.