Message from Safwan Masri, EVP for Global Centers and Global Development

Safwan Masri

Significant and unprecedented challenges are facing our global community—from climate change to refugee crises to strains on democratic systems of governance. Recent trends signaling an extreme shift toward reclusion, isolationism, and hypernationalism, underscore an imperative for increased global interconnectedness. These serious problems require us to work together—across borders, cultures, and continents—in new and inventive ways.

With the transformative vision of President Lee C. Bollinger, the commitment of Columbia University to working globally has never been stronger. Columbia has been leading the way in elevating the role of the University as an incubator for policy, research, education, and action in the world.

Columbia Global Centers, among other important global initiatives of the University, provide a physical and intellectual infrastructure around the world where scholars and practitioners can work together, across disciplines, to tackle issues of mutual interest or concern. In all the cities we are located in, from Amman to Rio de Janeiro, our faculty and students have engaged in important work that has both enriched their own scholarship and research, and resulted in real impact on the ground. With the vision for a Global Columbia, the opportunities for coupling deep knowledge with applied solutions are boundless.

The global centers have always been motivated by the recognition that we do not know enough about the world, and that we need to be in it, and to learn from, and with, our partners on the ground. The environment we currently live in underscores the importance of engagement around the world through programming and research activities, and compels us to reinforce our global mission.

Safwan M. Masri

Executive Vice President for Global Centers 
and Global Development, Columbia University