COLUMBIA GLOBAL CENTERS I Mumbai was launched in India in March 2010. The Center serves as a knowledge hub and develops research-based programs and activities on issues related to South Asia in the global context. The South Asia region is at a critical junction of global importance and faces unprecedented opportunities and challenges. The Center's programs focus on four thematic areas - sustainable urbanization; global economics; global health; and education, knowledge and culture. The Center conducts innovative interdisciplinary research, designs training opportunities for professionals and field opportunities for students, and disseminates research to reach wider publics in academic, government, civil society and private sector communities. By leveraging Columbia University's world-class thought leaders as well as experts from the region, Columbia Global Centers I Mumbai works to deepen knowledge that can transform society.
While the advent of the Columbia Global Centers has brought about an unprecedented engagement between the University and South Asia, Columbia has a long standing history of involvement with the region and its leaders. At Columbia's Convocation in 1949, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences conferred upon Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister and one of its most prominent freedom fighters prior to independence, an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Most notably, B.R. Ambedkar, a champion of Dalit rights during India's struggle for independence, earned his PhD from Columbia University in 1927 and went on to receive an honorary doctorate in 1952 for his service as "a great social reformer and a valiant upholder of human rights." B.R. Ambedkar is known as one of the authors of the Indian Constitution and was awarded the Bharat Ratna for his contribution to the reduction caste discrimination in India.
The Columbia Global Centers Network
There are currently eight Columbia Global Centers operating in Amman, Beijing, Mumbai, Paris, Istanbul, Nairobi, Santiago, and Rio de Janeiro. The centers encourage new relationships across schools, institutes, and academic departments at Columbia. Attuned to the priorities and unique circumstances of its host region, each center leverages the University’s diverse intellectual capacities from across the undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, and pursues a set of university-wide core activities that evolves over time based on the active engagement of faculty and students. The centers help increase international content in the classroom; supplement the curriculum with international study abroad, internship opportunities, and course offerings; provide resources needed to attract students from abroad; facilitate research opportunities for Columbia students and faculty on globally relevant, interdisciplinary topics; and provide a point of ongoing engagement for international alumni.
Functioning as a network, the global centers encourage teaching and research that require working across disciplinary boundaries, having a presence in multiple regions, and engaging non-Columbia experts and scholars from those regions. Some of the centers’ programs and research initiatives are country-specific, some regional, and an increasing number are multi-regional, even global. The network is in its infancy, and each center has started by building strong links with universities and institutions in its respective region. The long-term ambition is that many programs will have a global reach and involve multiple centers in the network engaged in truly global conversations.
To learn more, please visit the Columbia Global Centers website.
An Overview of Columbia Global Centers, by Professor Safwan M. Masri
The Mailman School of Public Health hosted this talk May 13, 2013, as a Global Health Initiative Seminar. University Professor Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr introduced Professor Safwan M. Masri, vice president of Columbia Global Centers, to an audience of about 40 faculty members and graduate students. This video is a six-minute, edited version of the talk. A full-length version of the hour-long seminar is also available to watch.