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In a globally connected world, a global research university can do great things

One of the most powerful lessons of the Covid pandemic has been how deeply and globally interconnected we all are. By the same token, the pandemic underscored how our impact as a public research university is also global. For example, the UW has been a key player in vaccine research and development and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is helping the world monitor and track the spread of the virus.

From our international alumni network, to our global population health partnerships, to international research collaborations, to UW students experiencing new cultures both here in the U.S. and across the world, the University of Washington is making a difference in practically every time zone. Our global reach creates incredible opportunities to advance learning and discovery for the public good in the most universal sense. So, as we celebrate Global Month this November, there are a multitude of ways to explore and connect with the world through the UW.

All over the world, our many international UW alumni chapters remain engaged with the UW and each other. I recently had the pleasure of helping to kick off our 2021 UW Converge Virtual series, which is free and runs throughout the fall. Each session is hosted by one of our international alumni chapters and brings together global alumni, friends and partners to hear from experts and stay current on the University’s work and initiatives. Spots are still available for the remaining sessions, and I encourage anyone who is interested to register.

Later this month, I invite you to join me for a virtual conversation: Universities as Global Problem Solvers with Joël Mesot, president of ETH Zürich (you can register here). As the presidents of two global research universities that have both important similarities and differences, I look forward to continuing the conversation that JoëI and I began during the Glion Colloquium’s recent biannual forum. The Glion Colloquium is an independent group exploring how research universities can best lead the way in addressing the global challenges we face, and I’m pleased to be a member of their 2022-23 Scientific Committee.

For our students, the global and interconnected nature of our University is a vital part of what attracts them here and enriches their Husky Experience. Every UW graduate will enter a global economy in which our health, working lives and environment are interconnected. For the thousands of international students we welcome each year and the U.S. students who take advantage of study abroad programs, the chance to live and learn in a different culture is invaluable. These experiences help them to enter the workforce with greater cultural competence, self-knowledge and the skills to participate in the global economy. International students can stay engaged through the UW’s CIRCLE program and UW Study Abroad is working with experts at the UW and beyond to offer safe, academically rigorous programs.

Opportunities for international education are happening here on our campuses too, with many benefits for the off-campus community. The UW’s Jackson School of International Studies offers a new Global & Regional Studies open major giving students more ways to view the world. It’s also home to six National Resource Centers: the Canadian Studies Center, the East Asia Center, the Center for Global Studies, the Middle East Center, the South Asia Center, and the Southeast Asia Center which provide foreign language and area instruction at the UW as well as educational outreach to K-12 teachers, community college instructors, and the general public throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Foster School Global Business Center provides innovative global business programming in Seattle and internationally for students, faculty and the business community.

The depth and breadth of our global engagement is phenomenal, and it is an essential component of our great public mission to create positive impact at scale. This November, consider how you can take advantage of this extraordinary array of resources and opportunities to learn more about the world and the ways that our globally-connected society can create connections and make a difference for each other and the future.