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Letter from the Chair

spring 2011 newsletter chairOver the past year, UNC Global Studies has pursued with energy excellence in teaching, research and outreach. We have succeeded in raising the Global Studies Curriculum to a new level of academic prominence. We hope you enjoy learning about some of the highlights of our last semester.

Graduation. This May, we are proud to graduate 200 global studies majors, the largest number in the history of the curriculum. The 2011 cadre is not only the largest we have said goodbye to but is also the most diverse in their academic interests. While almost half our students concentrated on international politics, the numbers focusing on global health, global economics and transnational cultures increased. Latin America and Western Europe continued to be the most popular regions to study with approximately 30% of our students concentrating on these areas respectively, but interest in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East swelled. In addition, the class of 2011 is the most well-traveled, with students taking advantage of the experiential learning offered by UNC in such diverse places as Cambodia, Ecuador, Mexico, Senegal, Uganda, the U.K., and Vietnam. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of all our graduating majors with their families at a ceremony on Sunday, May 8th.

Students. The popularity of the Global Studies curriculum has grown dramatically in the last five years. We now have over 800 majors. This year alone 25 of our students were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the country’s most prestigious academic honors society. In addition, several of our students won major awards, including Laurence Deschamps-Laporte, a graduating senior who received a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, and Bethany Corbin, who accepted a Mary Turner Lane award for contributing extensively to women’s scholarship. Moreover, three of our students presented research at the twelfth annual undergraduate research symposium held on campus.

Faculty. Our faculty continues to place Global Studies at UNC on the cutting edge of scholarship. Faculty involved in the curriculum have published critically acclaimed books, which we now showcase in the lobby of the curriculum. Our professors also demonstrated exceptional commitment to their students, with many of our faculty receiving awards for their service, research and teaching.

Events. Global Studies has positioned itself at the forefront of discussions of our world today. Last semester, we hosted and supported numerous events that were attended by students, faculty and the Triangle community, including a performance and talk by Malawian musician and activist Peter Mawanga and a lecture by Pulitzer Prize Center journalist Jina Moore. This spring, our War Stories Speaker Series brought New Yorker foreign correspondent Jon Lee Anderson and New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper to UNC-Chapel Hill. Building on the success of this series, we plan to continue War Stories into the Fall, with Alexandra Fuller, bestselling author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight; Larry Diamond, democracy expert from Stanford University; and Sandy Smith-Nonini, former journalist of El Salvador’s civil war and current professor at UNC. Our Heels in the Field global health discussion series has highlighted for the Chapel Hill community critical issues in global health and will also continue next semester.

The Vivarium. This fall we launched the Global Studies poison dart frog vivarium, which sits in the global studies lobby. These exotic and beautiful creatures are domestically bred and have drawn students, faculty and community members to our home in the Global Education Center. Currently ten brightly colored frogs are on display. Roberston Scholar, Eli Hornstein ’14, built and maintains the vivarium through private funding. You can often watch him feed the frogs in the early afternoon.

Global Studies has grown hugely in size and scope over the last decade, but financial constraints still make it difficult to provide the experience that we would wish for all of our engaged students. If you have the capacity, consider supporting Global Studies at UNC-CH with a gift. If you are unable at this point in time to donate, we would value your expertise and would welcome your involvement in the curriculum by acting as a career contact for our undergraduates, or emailing us when you have internships available. We would appreciate the gesture.


Very best wishes,

Andy Reynolds