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Guidelines for Global Engagement

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Our vision for global engagement at the University of Washington

The UW is globally engaged for the benefit of our students, region, and world.

Our particular geographic position on Coast Salish lands and at the crossroads of global migrations and information flows presents us with significant opportunities and responsibilities for engaging creatively and ethically across communities of difference. These opportunities and responsibilities for global engagement encompass the research and teaching we do with partners and students abroad; the hosting of international students and visiting scholars here on the UW campus; and the collaborations we undertake across borders via telecommunications and the Internet.

We acknowledge that our University occupies Native land.

We understand that the international community includes sovereign American Indian tribes, Indigenous nations, and peoples across the world. As we work to repair and strengthen relations with our Indigenous hosts here on Coast Salish lands, we also recognize and honor the Native peoples, lands and waters everywhere that we engage in work, research and teaching.

As one of the world’s most innovative universities, and since our mission is to serve the public good, we must leverage our strengths when partnering across boundaries.

It is imperative that we be globally engaged in order to confront pressing global challenges like climate change and population health, and to create much needed venues for free expression. Creative, critical, and ethical collaboration is essential to our mission, and we are proud of our global network of outstanding university, industry, nonprofit, and government agency partners.

The UW strives to achieve maximum mutual benefit through ethical engagement.

Ethical engagement calls for collaborations that leverage and promote diversity without diminishing local differences, and that respect host and partner histories and cultural practices while promoting the ideals of universal human rights,1 sustainable development,2 and academic freedom and rigor. This principle is fundamental to our engagements across research, teaching and learning.

Ethical global engagement is integral to the Husky Experience.

Ethical global engagement helps students gain a global perspective, the ability to navigate and thrive within diverse communities and workplaces, and an appreciation for the value of diversity. We prioritize the inclusion of global experiences in our curricula, and global research is valued across the educational experience at the UW. We are working to expand access to global learning so all students can engage in a global experience — locally or overseas — that furthers their interests and goals.

We are committed to ethical global engagement at every level of our institution:

It guides our strategic initiatives, the innovative research carried out by our faculty, and in the comprehensive and globally focused experience we strive to provide to our students. It is borne out in our inclusive approach to innovation, our diverse and international campus community, our unparalleled strengths in area studies, and our commitment to equitable access to opportunity. Our students, faculty, region, and world benefit from our collaborative global engagement. We pursue solutions to problems that affect us all with collaboration and sensitivity to histories of inequity and global power.

1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2 UN Sustainable Development Goals

The University

  • Above all, do no harm through global engagement.
  • Demonstrate ongoing commitment to ethical engagement.
  • Require and maintain the highest standards of consent, care, and protocol, regardless of location.
  • Recognize the complicated and painful legacy of colonialism and the continuing problem of inequality and social injustice within and between nations worldwide.
  • Engage thoughtfully; our presence may burden host communities.
  • Recognize that host communities may not share our values for non-discrimination (for example: sex and gender, sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity). The UW honors and upholds an anti-discrimination policy and proactively includes this in agreements and points to it in its work. We proactively counsel faculty, staff, and students to ensure their safety in these contexts.

  • Value and honor the diverse experiences and perspectives of our international scholars and students.
  • Strive to create a welcoming and respectful environment for international scholars and students.
  • Recognize that remote learning and research technologies may pose legal, political, and safety risks to international scholars and students who use them abroad. Do not demand or suggest that international students and scholars should take on these risks in order to participate in learning and research at UW.
  • Identify, develop and employ learning and research platforms whose technology is equitably accessible, secure, and enabling of academic freedom and rigor.
  • Recognize that U.S. immigration policies directly impact the lives of our international scholars and students. Be mindful of changes to U.S. immigration policies, advocate for policies that promote ethical global engagement, and be responsive to queries from international scholars and students about any such changes.

  • Support and promote the principles and practice of open scholarly access and open data, including the deposit of original data files to local archives in host communities, where possible.
  • Negotiate in advance protections for Intellectual Property, recognizing copyrights of collaborating partners, while promoting open access whenever possible.
  • Recognize the rights of tangible and intangible cultural heritage belonging to the peoples with whom we engage, as set forth in the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and in other international conventions concerning the illicit transfer of cultural property.

  • Engagement outside the U.S. should be done in partnership with local institutions, organizations, and/or communities.
  • Collaboration and capacity building should be central to any partnership.
  • Engage in partnership and collaboration with the goal of reciprocal benefit. Be transparent, honest, and fair with partners.
  • Actively engage partners to learn about local interests, needs and possible concerns. Develop projects and programming to address the priorities identified.
  • Work with partners to develop common understandings of ownership, access and opportunity.
  • Understand equality within historical and cultural contexts, including our own.
  • Value diversity in all forms, seek out a variety of opinions and insights, and seek guidance from UW and community partners.
  • Increase faculty, staff, and student access to global research and learning and reduce barriers to participation.
  • Promote inclusive engagement, and create spaces where all faculty, staff, and students feel welcome and can learn from one another.
  • Support programming that further integrates our university, enhances cross-cultural and interdisciplinary discourse, and recognizes the rich diversity of our community, including global and heritage communities.
  • Inspire all members of the campus community to contribute new perspectives, knowledge, and skills to the classroom, research, and campus environment.
  • Thoughtfully support and curate a set of global learning opportunities which appeals to and meets the needs of our diverse student communities.
  • Help faculty, staff, and students navigate the challenging demands of academics, mental health, self-care, interpersonal relationships, and professional development, particularly as they relate to global engagement and our increasingly global campus.
  • Help faculty, staff, and students gain an understanding and sensitivity to the ways in which the UW as an institution and they as individuals are implicated in historical and contemporary systems of colonial domination and racial discrimination. Inspire all members of the campus community to participate in global movements for social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Provide mandatory pre-departure orientations on health, safety and security for faculty, staff, and students engaging in or leading study abroad programs.
  • Provide country-specific health and safety information and orientations to faculty, staff, and students engaging in higher-risk locations.
  • Offer comprehensive international insurance for faculty, staff, students, and their dependents (requiring purchase when appropriate).
  • In case of emergency, offer support and connections to resources to faculty, staff, and students engaging in official UW activities outside the U.S.
  • Ensure timely and up-to-date information regarding UW responses to changes in U.S. Immigration policies are made easily accessible and widely available to international scholars and students.

Faculty & Staff

  • Regardless of location, adhere to the highest standards of consent, care and protocol.
  • Review and practice the principles outlined in these guidelines. Share them with colleagues and students.
  • Follow University and state guidelines for faculty conduct and sharing of expertise.
  • Reflect critically on international activities to be sure that they mirror University values and best practices.
  • Recognize that virtual learning and research technologies may pose legal, political, and safety risks to students who use them abroad. Do not demand or suggest that international students take on these risks in order to participate in learning at UW.

When leading student programs and advising students:

  • Strive to create student groups representing diverse academic and personal perspectives.
  • Develop awareness of the impact of identity on students’ global engagement experiences. Actively seek resources to prepare and support students, especially those from communities underrepresented in higher education.

  • Get a medical consultation before traveling.
  • Register international travel via the UW Travel Registry.
  • Understand the health and social risks associated with travel. These include: varying availability of healthcare, attitudes toward special communities, and accommodation of special needs and difference.

Study abroad program leaders

  • Strive for a comprehensive and inclusive approach to pre-departure orientation.
  • Actively support and create opportunities for critical reflection while abroad.
  • Provide opportunities for post-return “unpacking” for students.
  • Collaborate across disciplines and units to create a mix of university-wide and program-specific offerings.
  • Catalog the offerings and promote them to students.
  • Identify opportunities for students to engage in research.
  • Understand that individual students may need specialized advising and support services before, during, and after study abroad to address financial, personal, academic or other concerns. Be aware of available campus resources, and actively connect students to them as appropriate.
  • If leading or advising students, be familiar with the UW Study Abroad Code of Conduct, and hold students accountable to it.
  • Participate in pre-departure preparation on social behaviors, local cultures, language, and expectations of students, as well as health, safety, and security.


  • Behave thoughtfully and respectfully while abroad. Understand that you are an ambassador for the University and your community, and act accordingly.
  • Understand and comply with the UW Study Abroad Standards of Conduct.
  • Be attentive to the legal, political, and safety risks posed by the use of virtual learning and research technologies when abroad. The UW does not demand or suggest that you take on these risks in order to participate in learning activities at the UW.

  • Actively engage with fellow students from all backgrounds, and take advantage of opportunities for global engagement on campus, in the community, and beyond.
  • Seek out opportunities to grow cross-cultural skills and leave comfort zones.
  • If studying abroad, participate in pre-departure preparation on social behaviors, local cultures, language, and expectations, as well as health, safety, and security.

  • Understand and comply with the UW Student International Travel Policy.
  • Understand the health and social risks associated with travel. These include: varying availability of healthcare, attitudes toward special communities, and accommodation of special needs and difference.
  • Participate in pre-departure health, safety, and security orientations. Plan ahead as advised, and exercise appropriate precautions.