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Letter from the Chair

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The Curriculum in Global Studies (CGS) has ushered in an exciting summer and fall this year, and we are gearing up for an even busier 2014. In addition to hosting speakers from across the globe, adding new courses to the Curriculum, and convening panels and presentations to enrich our students’ experiences here at Carolina, we have also been busy preparing for the launch of our Masters program, which will welcome its first cohort of students in the fall of 2014.

We hope you enjoy reading about some of the highlights of the semester that attest to our vibrant growth and academic rigor.

StudentsOur students continue to impress us with their experiences and accomplishments. We are proud that our majors have again been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and have also been awarded FLAS and other language and travel awards. Our students’ photographs are frequently featured in the Center for Global Initiatives’ photo competitions, and we regularly send our students overseas on Study Abroad and other scholarships. We are one of the largest majors at UNC, with over 800 undergraduates and an incoming cohort of graduate students, so we have many scholars about whom we may feel proud.

Faculty and staff: We have seen a slew of changes in the staffing of the CGS over the past few months. Dr. Jonathan Weiler, our Director of Undergraduate Studies, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in the summer in recognition of his academic achievements and great service to the curriculum. Shortly after, Lara Markstein, the Manager of the CGS, left our unit to move to California. Lara is now working at UC-Berkeley, and Caroline Poole has replaced her as our new Manager, bringing with her a background in Peace Corps service, global health policy, and nonprofit management. Finally, I will be stepping down after five years as the Chair of the curriculum next summer, making way for a new Chair, and that search is now underway.

Events: We hosted two speakers this semester: Thanassis Cambanis, a distinguished journalist and UNC alumnus, who gave a talk on the Arab uprisings in October that attracted over 125 members of the Chapel Hill community. We also welcomed Masha Gessen, an activist and journalist who focuses on LGBT rights in Russia, to our campus in November as part of the LGBT Representation and Rights Initiative in our office.  Close to 150 students and community members came to hear Ms. Gessen speak. Both talks are now featured on iTunes University, and Mr. Cambanis’ talk was documented by the Daily Tar Heel and highlighted on the UNC Global homepage.

In November, we also hosted a panel on diversity in Peace Corps that was attended by 25 of our majors and featured five Returned Peace Corps Volunteers as panelists. We plan to host Peace Corps panels again in the Spring of 2014, as well as to sponsor three brown bag lunches with UNC Public Health experts as part of our “Heels in the Field” series. Stay tuned, as we will continue to add programming and courses that make Global Studies an exciting and rigorous major at UNC.

This is my final year as Chair of the Curriculum in Global Studies as my five-year term will be up in June 2014. The College is currently conducting a search for a new Chair. I will be sad not to play as central a role in the curriculum over the coming years, as the experience of being Chair has enriched me personally and professionally. We have achieved so much over the past five years, and that is testament to the amazing work of our core faculty: Jonathan Weiler, Michal Osterweil and Erica Johnson; and our fabulous office managers; Lara Markstein and now Caroline Poole. Global Studies Tar Heel alumni and students touch almost every corner of the world today and our pride in their achievements and care for humanity holds no bounds.

Very best wishes,

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Andy Reynolds