Anita Ramasastry will lead OGA’s vision for global engagement with a diversity, equity and inclusion lens, fostering community and advancing key partnerships.
The Office of Global Affairs (OGA) welcomes our first Senior Advisor for Faculty Global Engagement, Anita Ramasastry. Anita will focus on building learning and research communities, connecting BIPOC faculty and students with global opportunities, and advancing the depth and bi-directionality of our strategic partnerships.
Anita is currently the Henry M. Jackson Endowed Professor of Law and the director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program for the UW School of Law. Her scholarship includes work in the field of anti-corruption, sustainable development and business and human rights and she has served in leadership roles with global institutions such as the United Nations, World Economic Forum, the World Bank and the Institute of Human Rights and Business, and other development organizations. Anita is a recipient of two of the University’s highest honors: the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Outstanding Public Service Award.
She previously served as the chair of the Global Engagement Strategy Task Force, charged with reimagining the role that OGA plays in informing and shaping the future of global engagement at the UW. With key recommendations from the Taskforce informing her work, Anita will lead new initiatives that deepen global engagement at the UW.
Learn more about her research, publications, areas of expertise, and leadership.
Q: What background and perspective do you bring to this new role?
AR: I am pleased to serve in this inaugural role. As a BIPOC faculty member who has worked actively on global matters – on my research, teaching and public policy work, I know how important it is for a diverse voices to be part of global engagement. I have been a co-director of a study abroad program in partnership with faculty from the Law, Societies and Justice Program for nearly 15 years. I see the value of study abroad.
I also see the need for faculty to think about how to work to make study abroad both inclusive for our students, but also to design programs that are more reflective and help students to understand and engage with the local context in which they are studying. I am an admirer of Professor Anu Taranath, a UW faculty member who focuses on respectful and more intentional and equitable study abroad. She has a great book I highly recommend, called “Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World.”
Q: What excites you about serving as our first Senior Advisor for Faculty Global Engagement?
I am excited to meet faculty from throughout our three campuses, to learn of the innovative ways in which they are engaged in innovative and inclusive models of global engagement – be it in research, teaching or service. My role is to serve as their sounding board, ally and facilitator for them. Part of that will be understanding what challenges they face in trying to undertake international activities.
Q: What do you hope to focus on in your first 6 months of serving in this role?
My hope is to meet as many faculty as possible, across the three campuses and to launch some pilot initiatives. For example, I am excited about opportunities we are exploring with the Center for Teaching and Learning about creating resources for faculty relating to globally-engaged, inclusive, and culturally-responsive teaching.
Q: How do your own experiences align with the mission and work of the Office of Global Affairs?
I believe in the transformative power of global engagement and collaboration. For faculty to be able to form lasting partnerships with communities in other regions, be it in their teaching, advocacy or research, this can be a powerful catalyst for innovation, change and bridge building.
I have worked for nearly 2 decades with researchers, academics and civil society groups in my field of business and human rights. The power of our network, has enabled us all to do more impactful work, and to exchange knowledge and ideas that has been far more valuable than my reading scholarly articles in the library. With technology at our disposal, the opportunity for us to engage in new models of teaching, community building and partnership is more possible – although we have to keep in mind that not everyone will have Internet or computer access. So thinking about new forms of global engagement requires careful balancing of the benefits and barriers relating to using technology to engage globally.