I am pleased to announce the creation of the GLOCAL Society Series (GSS), which will focus on pressing global and local (GLOCAL) issues of our time. In a world where global and local are increasingly and sometimes vexingly intertwined, the GLOCAL Society Series will bring focus on how the pressing global issues of our time are affecting our communities, as well as how the latter can leverage the positive aspects and mitigate the negative features of the processes of globalization.
Speakers, panelists, and discussants will explore key issues in our interdependent, globalizing world and their impact on our localities. The series will address topics including, but not limited to:
- global economic conditions and international development,
- global health,
- international conflict, violence, terrorism and intercultural strife,
- sustainability, global resources, energy and environmental governance,
- population, migration and international refugees,
- world religions,
- human rights and the protection of vulnerable persons,
- international trade,
- technology and globalization, and
- other international political and economic issues.
Last year, the Global Education Task Force emphasized the importance of increasing global awareness in our community. Subsequently, in our New Dimension of Excellence plan, we outlined our goals to ensure that Pitt-Johnstown graduates are globally literate and inter-culturally competent, possessing the skills, dispositions and competencies necessary for successful participation, service, and leadership in an increasingly interdependent world. We also presented our vision of stronger connections with all of our communities, from the local to the global.
Since the completion of the Task Force and Strategic Plan, the University has intensified efforts to prepare students for successful participation and leadership in our interconnected and rapidly changing world. Among other things, we have established a robust Office of International Services with commensurate staffing. The Office of International Services implements our strategic goals for internationalization through promoting and facilitating study abroad, increasing international student enrollment, enhancing the experiences of current international students, and raising global awareness. As a result, we have significantly increased study abroad applications and participation, broadened our international recruitment portfolio, and dramatically increased the number of international student applications. In addition, superb faculty academic leadership has led to the development of an International Studies Certificate in Business. Elsewhere, the Education Division has moved to establish a student teaching option in New Zealand.
The GSS is one way to promote greater global competency in our campus community with regard to the pressing issues of our time as well as various social, political, economic, ecological, cultural and technological changes at the global level and their overlapping consequences in our local communities.
Our inaugural event will be a Global Health Forum on Tuesday, February 24. This event will create a rare opportunity to engage international health care experts on important issues including disease prevention, health reform, and health promotion. Through a partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) Winter School 2009, the International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services (HPH), and Windber Research Institute, we have assembled a panel of health experts from Denmark, Germany, Taiwan, and the United States to discuss the state of health care in our community, our country, and our world and to promote international understanding. Additional information on this event is available at www.upj.pitt.edu/20375. I hope that you will be able to join me for this very exciting and highly relevant program.