The Insitute

In 2016, President Bollinger approved the creation of the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination at Reid Hall. Slated to open in Fall 2018, the Institute is an initiative proposed by Professor of History Mark Mazower, the Chair of the Paris Center's Faculty Steering Committee, and Paul LeClerc, the Center's Director. It will host fourteen full-time resident fellows each semester. Half will have a Columbia faculty affiliation; the other will come from the regions in which the University has Global Centers, and beyond. Fellowships will be available to faculty in all the schools and departments at Columbia and to those who work in the creative arts.

The Institute, designed as an incubator of innovative ideas, will advance President Lee C. Bollinger's agenda of making Columbia University a global leader in humanities-driven thought responsive to the changing conditions of the contemporary world. A University-wide academic organization, the Institute will bring together faculty from Columbia University with brilliant, creative thinkers from around the world. It will challenge the "siloisation" of academia by bringing scholars and creative artists side by side and it will serve as a seedbed of opportunity for the most promising younger researchers, artists and writers at an early stage in their careers.

The Institute's location in Paris, an international hub easily accessible to the US and to other regions of the world, is a major asset in establishing it as a forum of global research and creativity. It will draw not only on long-standing ties locally and nationally but also on the interactions of its guiding faculty with universities, institutes and cultural centers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and South and East Asia. The Institute will not only host fellows, workshops, and conferences; it will also partner with parallel events around the world, taking advantage of Columbia's network of eight Global Centers.

Additionally, an unrivalled network of academic resources will ensure robust intellectual and pedagogic feedback to Columbia's main campus in New York City's Morningside Heights neighborhood including: the School of Arts and Sciences; Columbia College; the Heyman Center; the Society of Fellows; and the Columbia University Library.

PGIF Fellows 2017

Launched in March 2013 by President Lee C. Bollinger, this fund is designed to provide support for faculty who would like to use the resources or facilities of one or more of the University’s eight Global Centers for teaching or research activities.

The President’s Global Innovation Fund awards grants for faculty members to leverage and engage Columbia’s global centers network. The program is designed as a venture fund to enable the development of projects and research collaborations within and across these sites, in order to increase global opportunities for research, teaching and service. 

Projects must engage with at least one of Columbia’s Global Centers (Amman, Jordan; Beijing, China; Istanbul, Turkey; Mumbai, India; Nairobi, Kenya; Paris, France; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Santiago, Chile). Projects may be based in a city where a Columbia Global Center is located, or in other locations in the regions served by a global center, as long as they continue to leverage and engage Columbia’s global centers network.  Leveraging the global centers will enable the centers and their staff to go beyond their operational capacity – often providing support, counsel, and a network of contacts to concretize and supplement existing research and programming goals. 

Current and past projects based at our center include:

Enhancing the Research Component of the History Major

This truly special program, funded by the Presidential Global Innovation Fund (PGIF), aims to expand the research opportunities for undergraduate History majors doing senior theses on European history topics or on topics in other fields using sources from European archives. Each summer since 2014, eight to ten rising seniors have conducted four to six weeks of research in European archives and libraries, culminating in a three-day workshop in July at the Center, with two graduate student mentors, and two Columbia faculty members Susan Pedersen, Gouverneur Morris Professor of History and James P. Shenton Professor of the Core Curriculum, and Charly Coleman, Assistant Professor, History.

Middle-East/North African Summer Institute in Amman and Paris

Funded by the Presidential Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) since 2014, this nine-week intensive summer program, open to undergraduates and graduate students, offers a multifacteted introduction to the languages, history and culture of the Maghreb, emphasizing the region's relations with the Middle East and France. Students take the equivalent of a year of Modern Standard Arabic and receive training in the dialects of the Maghreb. The language program is complemented by a cultural and historical seminar featuring lectures by prominent specialists from Columbia and partner institutions in the Middle East and France.

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