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Global Studies Students Selected as UNC Phillips Ambassadors

Two Global Studies majors were recently selected as UNC Phillips Ambassadors for study abroad in Asia. Selection is based on strong communication skills, intellectual curiosity and engagement, academic achievement, evidence of generous service to the campus and wider community, and a previous record of leadership.

Phillips Ambassador

Ntiense Inyang, a Global Studies major with a Chemistry and Korean double minor, will study abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, in fall 2015. She is from Dallastown, PA.

Phillips Ambassador

Sara Khan, from Burlington, NC, is a Global Studies and Biology double major with a Chemistry minor who will study abroad through the UNC Summer in India program beginning in May 2015.



Global Internship Award Recipients for 2015 Announced

The Curriculum in Global Studies is pleased to announce the recipients of its Global Internship Awards for 2015. These students were chosen from a competitive applicant pool and will use these monetary awards to help finance internationally focused internships taking place over the summer of 2015.

  • Ting Zhang is a sophomore Global Studies and History major. Ting serves as the Community Outreach Chair for Impact NC and is the co-founder & president of Simple International, an organization focused on connecting UNC students to accessible opportunities in Beijing. She will be using the Global Internship Award to help defray expenses associated with her internships at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and the China Center for Globalization (CCG) in Beijing.
  • Shiva Sethi is a sophomore Global Studies major. In addition to serving as a Residential Adviser at Granville Towers and Orientation Leader with UNC’s New Student & Carolina Parent Programs, Shiva is also an active member of the UNC Boxing Club. He will be using the Global Internship Award to help defray expenses associated with his internship in the US Department of State’s Office of Civil Rights.
  • Cecilia Smetana is a junior Global Studies and Communication Studies major. Cecilia has already participated in three study abroad opportunities (Jordan, Thailand, and Singapore) during her time at UNC. Apart from her study abroad experiences, Cecilia is a leader within the Carolina International Relations Association and served as a research assistant for UNC’s Department of Sociology during the Fall 2014 semester. She will be using the Global Internship Award to help defray expenses associated with her internship with the American Friends of Royal Health Awareness Society (AFRHAS).

New Video Features Global Studies Major: Languages Help Students Cross Borders

Studying languages has taken Lily Herbert ’16 to places she never imagined she’d go. Herbert, who is from Raleigh, North Carolina, is majoring in Global Studies and Geography. She’s studying Persian and Turkish on campus and has learned Tatar through a Foreign Language and Area Studies award.

“Studying languages at UNC has been extremely valuable,” says Herbert. “It’s opened entirely different paths to me–like traveling to places I never thought I would. So my advice to new students is to take the time, take a risk, and make an investment in a new language—or several!” See the video on this story here.

Message from the Chair

elizabeth-olson-largeThe spring semester seems to finally be holding the promise of warmer days, and the Curriculum in Global Studies is ready to meet the thaw with some exciting opportunities for students and the wider Carolina community. In April we will be co-sponsoring two “student’s choice” visiting lectures alongside of visits of other scholars from around the world. One of the highlights this month was a visit by Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher, whose illustrated lecture on “Political Cartooning after Charlie Hebdo” captivated the audience and attracted the attention of local mediDSC_0649a.

We have also been exploring new ways to support and encourage our undergraduate and graduate students with small grants and network-building opportunities within and beyond UNC. In addition to kick-starting collaboration with NC State, our first cohort of Masters students has successfully secured a range of competitive grant and study awards including the FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) fellowship. In the meantime, our faculty is engaging global audiences in scholarship and policy, producing new and unique research, and winning awards for teaching. We are especially looking forward to celebrating the graduation of the Class of 2015 on Sunday, May 10! —Elizabeth Olson

Global Studies Students Initiated into Phi Beta Kappa

Congratulations to all the new Phi Beta Kappa initiates here at UNC, especially the 22 Global Studies majors recognized at the initiation ceremony on March 30:

Danielle Nicole Allyn; Amy Michelle Bourret; Joseph Michael Calder, Jr.; Thomson Flynn Chapman; Cheney Behrens Gardner; Stephanie Mae Hess; Lindsey Stafford Kellogg; Sarah McWilliams Kennedy; Sarah Audrey MacLean; Harold Brent McKnight, Jr.; Sarah Niss; Zachary J. Padgett; Emma Anne Park; Marilee Michelle Protonentis; Anna Brooks Roberson; Kaitlin Anita Shinn; Catherine Porter Smith; Esteban Socarras; Zhiyi Joycelyn Su; Eleanor Grace Withers; Frank Wu; and Fareeda M. Zikry.

Faculty Research Spotlight

An assistant professor of Anthropology and joint faculty in Global Studies, Townsend MiddletMiddleton-Townsendon is currently wrapping up his first book, which focuses on tribal recognition and autonomy in the Himalayas. Professor Middleton investigates the issue from multiple perspectives, examining how communities seek tribal recognition from the government and how government anthropologists survey communities for recognition. The purpose, he says, is to show the “impact on everyday lives.” He finds that the way communities seek official autonomy and affirmative action programs through government recognition produces a wide range of results. As individuals try to adapt to specific government prescriptions for tribal recognition, some community members feel they are “rediscovering their authentic culture,” while others become “riddled with angst” from trying to “shoehorn themselves into categories that don’t fit.” Professor Middleton seeks to understand the human dimensions of these dynamics.

Professor Middleton developed an interest in the Himalayan region during his undergraduate years, but has focused his most recent research on India. “Anthropology brings an important contribution to Global Studies through engaged research with communities,” he says. Studying global dynamics through local lives, his research explores how communities gain inspiration from–and network with–other indigenous movements to reshape their prospects of rights and recognition. Through direct anthropological engagement, his research provides a decidedly human perspective on globalization.

Featured Student

shamiraShamira Lukomwa is well on her way toward changing how we think about gender and sexuality in Africa. A Ugandan-American originally from Atlanta, Shamira is a fourth-year Global Studies and Communication Studies student. Her research interests include female and youth empowerment, critical development studies, and womanism as they pertain to Africa. In 2013 she traveled to East Africa to spend her summer as an intern at Nsambya Babies Home in Kampala, Uganda, and her Fall semester as a student at the School for International Training: Kenya. During her study abroad program, she conducted independent research on the prevalence of “sugardaddy” relationships among female university students in Nairobi. The purpose of this research was to determine the pervasiveness, existence, motivations behind, and extent of these relationships on campus, and to explore women’s sexual agency in negotiating condom use. Shamira distributed over 200 questionnaires to female students at the two largest universities in Nairobi and conducted focus group discussions and interviews with both female and male students. She has presented her research at UNC’s University Research Day and has recently had the honor of being invited to present at the Human Development Conference at the University of Notre Dame in February.

This past summer, Shamira agreed to serve as CGI’s Orientation Intern, and was tasked with sharing the importance of global experiences and the many resources available to Carolina students. Currently, Shamira works with Carolina for Kibera and serves as the East Africa Program Leader for Operation Groundswell, a non-profit backpacking, immersive travel, and experiential learning organization. Her work with Operation Groundswell has her slated to return to East Africa just days after graduation in May—and she couldn’t be happier!

Featured Alumna

AdrianaAdriana Golindano will be putting her Global Studies degree to good use when she serves as the UNC-US representative to the Expo Milano 2015. Adriana graduated from UNC in May 2014 with a dual degree in Global Studies (concentration in international politics, nation-states, and social movements) and History and a minor in Italian. She studied abroad in Bologna during her third year, taking courses in Italian culture, politics, and history. Since graduating, Adriana has been working for a CPA firm in Coral Gables, Florida as an HR assistant. This spring, she will be representing UNC and the United States at the World’s Fair Milan Expo 2015, which has adopted the core theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

During her time at UNC, Adriana volunteered for Feed My Starving Children and became very aware of the need and importance of food both within the United States and abroad. Because she believes strongly in the importance of nutrition, she says, “I felt it was time to become more concerned with how I could help the globe.” For her application essay and video, she was asked to define and discuss why nutrition was important. Having learned a great deal about social movements in various global studies courses, she discussed the importance of food through the lens of its impact on culture. Adriana says, “As a Latina in the US, my mother’s meals were what helped me feel closer to my heritage. I strongly believe national cuisine is completely connected to culture and ensuring individuals around the world have access to food will guarantee the continuance of self-expression through it, which then encourages the preservation of culture.” She is excited to attend the Expo and be “a part of this history-in-the-making.”

MA Program Highlights

UntitledThe Global Studies MA Program is off to a great start with its inaugural class of ten students and five additional students in the Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies (REEES) concentration. The two-year MA program focuses on trans-regional and trans-national themes, events, and processes that affect states and societies around the world. Students in the program are currently choosing one of three thematic areas where they will concentrate their studies and practical experiences: Global Economics; Global Politics, Institutions, and Societies; or Global Migration and Labor Rights. The first class of students is also exploring opportunities for upcoming summer or fall semester internships or field experience. The students speak very positively of their experience so far, citing coursework, professors, and the flexible structure among their favorite aspects of the program. “One of my favorite things about the program is the interdisciplinary nature,” says first-year student Andreina Malki. “It allows me to contextualize global issues and explore their significance through various lenses.” Andreina values the way “the faculty members are always eager to meet and have provided invaluable guidance.” Sarah Miller Frazer, another first-year MA student who plans to concentrate in Global Economics, appreciates “the self-directed, open structure of the program that allows me to take courses in a variety of departments, including the School of Social Work and the Business School.”

The Global Studies MA Program is currently accepting applicants for Fall 2015 admissions. The deadline to apply is February 10, 2015 and more information can be found at

Faculty Research Spotlight

i-CKz2rhx-MAn interest in racial and cultural identity first took Renee Alexander Craft to Panama in 2000. An assistant professor of Communication Studies and joint faculty in Global Studies, Professor Craft considers herself “an ethnographer and a poet, as well as an academic.” Over the past 14 years, Professor Craft has researched “blackness” in Panama, what it means to be black, as well as discourses, laws, and social impacts of blackness. She studied the Carnival traditions and their interaction with US political and social ideologies. In particular, she found the structural differences of race, and the way they were mobilized by the US, had significant impact in the Panama Canal Zone. For many years, conceptions of nationality and foreignness were codified in rhetoric and laws. Professor Craft also examined the assimilation of the afro-colonial population, previously thought of as foreigners, and the changes in discourses of identity. Additionally, audio and video interviews about the Congo carnival tradition in the city of Portobelo were used to create a digital humanities project in partnership with the UNC Digital Innovation Lab. You can learn more about that project here.

From a Global Studies perspective, Professor Craft’s research highlights the interdisciplinary and interconnected nature of history, nation-state relations, race, colonialism, environmental issues, socio-political mobility, and more. Panama is a particularly compelling location as well. It represents a space between two seas, two continents, and a number of cultural influences: Central America, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Political and economic events have led to collisions, clashes, and mixing of ideas, identities, people and spaces. Professor Craft finds the “people, material, and ideologies active [in Panama] very interesting.”

For students considering long-term research projects, Professor Craft recommends picking a project you can be in love with, “something you can dig into” for a while. For her, Panama is that in more ways than she could have ever imagined. To learn more you can see Professor Craft’s blog about her project at

Lecturer Spotlight

i-tCmTFck-MThe Curriculum in Global Studies features three outstanding lecturers. Jonathan Weiler is a senior lecturer and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. He has taught courses in Russian Politics, Human Rights, European Politics, and Comparative Development, Globalization and Sports among others. Over the past few years his research has included work in political psychology and the role of NCAA athletes on college campuses.

Michal Osterweil is a lecturer and Director of Internships. Both her courses and research focus on social movements and paradigms of social change. She has participated and written about the  “Global Justice Movement” and related transnational networks, in particular those affiliated with Zapatismo and the World and Regional Social Forums. She is a student of the new ways of “doing change,” ranging from movements like the Zapatistas and the alter-globalization movement to place-based, environmental and transformative movements in the US—operating within what she understands to be a “new political imaginary” that is being simultaneously discovered and created in a variety of spaces and movements.  Her classes and research also address the challenge of how to be involved in humanitarian and development work ethically.

Erica Johnson is the Director of Graduate Studies. Her research and teaching interests are in comparative politics and political economy, with particular focus on post-Soviet state-society relations. She is currently working on a book manuscript that explores how authoritarian governments in post-Soviet Central Asia manipulate health care provision in order to gain legitimacy and regime survival. In addition, she has an ongoing research agenda on civil society development in the post-Soviet region and on the relationships among foreign donors, states, and professional and civil society groups in Central Asia.

Featured Student

c9c42c31-d25b-4ba2-a4b4-adf5a3eaeb57Layla Quran is a Global Studies major who has researched how U.S. military involvement in Iraq has influenced sectarian walls, both physically and psychologically, between the people of Iraq. Her project, “Voices of Iraq,” arises out of her investigation into this issue. Quran’s research was developed in conjunction with Duke University’s BorderWork(s) Lab, which attempts to analyze the physical and psychological consequences of barriers in the modern world. The most rewarding aspect of her research was the opportunity she had to interview Iraqis who had lived through the Saddam Hussein regime and the subsequent U.S. invasion. She includes some of these in her comprehensive website that details her work.

Featured Alumna

Allie headshotAllie Treske Ahearn graduated from UNC in 2010 with a dual degree in Global Studies and Political Science. Allie says, “Global Studies provided me a wide variety of opportunities: studying abroad, interning with the U.N., conducting original research, and teaching a course to my fellow undergrads.” After graduation, Allie spent four years working at the national headquarters of Nourish International, a nonprofit organization that works with college students and community partner organizations to address extreme poverty abroad. Today, Allie is happy to be back at her alma mater working as the Assistant Director of Admissions for the UNC Undergraduate Admissions office. Reflecting on her experience with Global Studies at UNC, Allie observes, “the broad knowledge base and background in cultural and current affairs that the current affairs that the curriculum emphasized enables me to be a more effective professional every day.”