With this issue of World Minded, we mark two important milestones: the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Reves Center for International Studies in 1989 and the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Global Research Institute (GRI) in 2009. Both institutions have made a powerful difference in promoting William & Mary’s global reach and reputation. Indeed, as the articles in this issue abundantly show, W&M is now a true global leader in international higher education. As I reflect on the factors that have contributed to our success over these past few decades, I am struck by three consistent themes that emerge in nearly every global initiative we undertake: interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and relevance.
First, W&M is a university that truly prizes interdisciplinary research and teaching—and this is certainly true in all of our global work. Our study abroad programs bring together diverse aspects of the liberal arts and sciences, as well as faculty experts from all four W&M professional schools, to bring knowledge from the classroom into real-world contexts on every continent. Interdisciplinary research projects at GRI give W&M undergraduates the opportunity to work closely with faculty on studies of immense importance, published in the leading scientific journals. Our students frequently combine fields in the STEM disciplines, the internationally oriented social sciences, and the global humanities in creative and innovative ways.
Second, at W&M we understand that excellence in global education and research necessitates sustained and reciprocal collaboration, both within the university and with our valued partners around the world. Our international students and scholars across the university are knit together into a supportive and caring community. Our students, faculty, and staff work together synergistically to advance W&M’s global reach, whether this is through partnerships to provide authentic Chinese food in our dining halls or initiatives to provide every W&M student the opportunity to get a U.S. passport. As the wonderful conversation in this issue between Reves Board Chair Barbara Pate Glacel ’70 and our long-time staff leader at the Reves Center Judy Davis illustrates, we are blessed to be able to collaborate also with truly brilliant and caring supporters who volunteer their time and energy to further our global mission.
Finally, our global research and education is deeply relevant. At W&M, we know that sustainable global change can only come about when we combine innovative analysis designed to produce global impact with an understanding of diverse cultural and historical perspectives. We see this in our efforts to invite leading foreign policy makers to engage with the campus community, in VIMS research on climate change and its effects on the world’s oceans, in the Law School’s innovative programs on law and post-conflict peacebuilding, and in a myriad of other programs and initiatives across the university.
As we welcome our new Provost Peggy Agouris—herself an international student and scholar, originally from Greece— to W&M, I am happy to report that internationalization at W&M has never been stronger. I wish you all a happy Reves and GRI dual anniversary!