Columbia University Establishes Global Centers in Europe and South Asia
President Bollinger leads University faculty, students, administrators and alumni at launch events for newest centers in Paris and Mumbai
Media contact: Tanya Domi, 212-854-5579, email@example.com
PARIS, March 16, 2010—In a coordinated effort to further enhance its global perspective in teaching, research and problem solving, Columbia University is establishing the Columbia Global Center/Europe in Paris, France, and the Columbia Global Center/South Asia in Mumbai, India.
They are the third and fourth in a growing network of international centers that the University is developing to promote and facilitate new collaborations, research projects, academic programming and study abroad to address the interdisciplinary challenges of an increasingly global society. Last year Columbia opened its first two global centers, for East Asia in Beijing, China, and for the Middle East in Amman, Jordan.
“The University is proud to mark the opening of our next two Columbia Global Centers,” says President Lee C. Bollinger. “It is essential to a great university that our students and faculty know and understand more about our world and we are committed to providing new opportunities to deepen our engagement with scholars, ideas and challenges across the globe. Columbia’s intellectual history and engagement in both Europe and South Asia have deep roots and our global centers will allow us to build on this foundation in new and innovative ways that enhance our knowledge and contribute to society.”
While some U.S. universities have built branch campuses and degree-granting schools abroad, Columbia is taking a different path. The Columbia Global Centers provide flexible regional hubs for a wide range of activities and resources intended to enhance the quality of research and learning at the university and around the world. The focus is on establishing a network of partnerships in international capitals to collaboratively address complex global challenges by bringing together scholars, students, public officials, private enterprise, and innovators from a broad range of fields.
The Columbia Global Center/Europe provides a new mission for Reid Hall, a building in Paris that the University has owned since 1964. It will be animated by one of Columbia’s innovative global programs, the Columbia-Paris Alliance Program. Founded in 2002, this joint-venture with the Ecole Polytechnique, Sciences Po, and the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne is the first endowment with international partners in Columbia history. It is supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its exemplary transatlantic collaboration.
President Bollinger delivers opening and welcoming remarks at both centers along with Kenneth Prewitt, Vice President for Global Centers. The launch in Mumbai will include remarks from the University’s Vice President for Arts and Sciences Nick Dirks, an anthropologist and historian who has written extensively on the history and culture of India, as well as Nirupam Bajpai, senior development advisor at Columbia’s Earth Institute and the inaugural director of the Mumbai center.
In Paris, President Bollinger moderates a panel discussion: “What is a Global University?” Joining him in the discussion are Ulrike Albrecht, director of strategic planning at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; Monique Canto-Sperber, director of the École Normale Supérieure; Ghassan Salamé, joint professor of international relations at Columbia and Sciences Po; and Eric Thomas, vice chancellor of the University of Bristol, England.
From the outset, the Paris center will be home to global public health programs and collaborations between Columbia and European partners in the field. Linda P. Fried, dean of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health will lead a discussion: “Coming of Age: Demographics, Disease and New Directions in Global Health.” Panelists include Axel Börsch-Supan, professor of economics at the University of Mannheim, Germany; Antoine Flahault, president of the Association of the Schools of Public Health in the European Region and dean of the French School of Public Health; Maksut K. Kulzhanov, rector of the School of Public Health in Kazakhstan; and Cornel Sieber, professor of medicine at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany.
Among the inaugural programs at the Paris center, Columbia’s School of the Arts will offer a course this coming summer on French theater. The class will feature behind-the-scenes access to the local theater scene.
“The focus of these Global Centers is establishing a new, interactive network of partnerships abroad and collaborations across traditional academic disciplines to address complex global challenges that are not as easily addressed by the many bi-lateral partnerships Columbia has long had in many parts of the world,” says Prewitt. “By bringing together scholars, students, public officials, private enterprise and innovators from many fields for research and learning that cuts across many regions, we hope to transform our own academic perspective in the years ahead.”
In Mumbai, the Columbia Global Center/South Asia launches with an interdisciplinary research agenda led by Columbia’s Earth Institute. With more than 15 years of work in India advising the political leadership and other senior policy-makers, the Earth Institute is well placed to help scale-up strategies that have already demonstrated success. The center will be the hub for a network of top scientists, economists, and thought leaders who can provide policy recommendations and address the region’s urgent development challenges.
Among the new collaborations there is Studio-X Mumbai, a project of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Studio-X is the school’s global network of leadership laboratories for collaborative research, exhibitions, and public dialogue about the future of the built environment. Studio-X Mumbai occupies a loft-like space in a heritage building near Victoria Terminal and joins and existing network of Columbia architecture labs in Beijing, Amman, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.
Columbia Global Centers are established to encourage new collaboration across traditional academic disciplines at the University. Some of the research and scholarly initiatives will be regionally focused; others will involve multiple centers, and in some instances the full complement of centers will be engaged across many continents. The centers are also intended to support a significant expansion of opportunities for Columbia students and faculty to do work abroad, with the flexibility to pursue long- or short-term research and service-learning projects.
About Columbia University
A leading academic and research university, Columbia University continually seeks to advance the frontiers of knowledge and to foster a campus community deeply engaged in understanding and addressing the complex global issues of our time. Columbia’s extensive public service initiatives, cultural collaborations and community partnerships help define the University’s underlying values and mission to educate students to be both leading scholars and informed, engaged citizens. Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.