A University of the World
The trends of the early 21st century are making this an era in which creating knowledge and action across borders is more important than ever, and Brandeis is responding with efforts to broaden and deepen its global mission. The key to this effort is the university's attempt to develop sustained partnerships — between faculty members and students, between students and alumni, and between Brandeis and other universities, governments or NGOs. Our students and faculty are increasingly mobile, with large numbers studying abroad and enrolling as international students.
A Social Concern
Brandeis University's values have fueled its drive to create and sustain global partnerships. The search for social justice — broadly defined — is an integral part of our approach, as is skepticism about conventional wisdom. Brandeis has a commitment to issues of sustainable development, often using the bridges of arts and culture. And the university's ties to the Jewish community fortify its emphasis on interdependence and collective thought and action.
Think. Experience. Act.
Global Brandeis also emphasizes the interconnectivity of theory and practice. Our global engagement is a process, one in which experiential learning and classroom-based learning are mutually dependent. We also seek engagement with partners abroad in ethical and responsible ways, allowing for the give-and-take of ideas across time zones and borders.
Brandeis faculty members and alumni are among the world's leading theorists and analysts of globalization in its broadest sense, exploring benign and baleful effects of globalization on economies, cultural traditions, and politics. The university's rich array of scholarship and coursework in area studies and languages speaks to an equally important commitment to studying and teaching about particular peoples and societies. The legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, for whom the university is named, is a constant reminder that scholarship here is bound to the search for social justice.
Here are just a few examples of our efforts to infuse global perspectives into our mission and curriculum:
- The innovative International & Global Studies Program
- The Global Brandeis Symposia: Examining higher education in the 21st century
- The 'green' MBA at the Brandeis International Business School
- The pioneering Heller School graduate program in Sustainable International Development, with many courses open to undergraduates
- A wide selection of courses dealing with the modern and historical Middle East, taught by our Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies faculty
- Majors and minors with a global focus; and the new graduate program in Global Studies
Where in the world will you find Brandeis students and faculty? Repairing a solar-energy cell on the edge of a Kenyan rain forest. Interviewing Buddhist monks in the war-torn island nation of Sri Lanka. At World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva. In dialogue with policymakers from Israel and the Arab world at a retreat in Cyprus. Nearly half of all Brandeis undergraduates now formally study abroad, and many more undertake overseas research and internships. Our campus is also a hub of global and intercultural activity, with a 16% international student body represented by 97 countries.
Here are just a few examples of ways to experience the world at Brandeis and beyond:
- Brandeis in The Hague, a new study abroad program exploring international justice
- The Justice Brandeis Semester in Ethnographic Fieldwork
- The Brandeis-Al-Quds University Partnership
- MusicUnitesUS, a multi-day and multi-event residency featuring major world artists
- The Sorensen Fellows Program, a social justice driven internship program framed by coursework
- The Brandeis India Initiative Fellows Program, providing support for study and work in India
- Other study and work abroad resources
Action built on knowledge and experience is the Brandeis ideal. Rigorous analysis in the classroom and humility gained from experience enable Brandeis students, faculty, and alumni to create meaningful change and pursue solutions to the world's most pressing problems. Prominent alumni like American journalist Thomas L. Friedman '75, Slovenian politician Dmitrij Rupel PhD '76, and Indian academic Arjun Appadurai '70 have led the way in their respective professions, often changing the way we understand the world. And Brandeis students and faculty are also entrepreneurs, creating new organizations that help improve the lives of others.
Here are just a few ways to get involved at Brandeis, and some examples of our community making an impact:
- The Brandeis India Initiative
- The Brandeis Institute for International Judges
- The Brandeis High-Energy Physics Group-ATLAS-CERN Partnership
- Social action and justice student clubs
- Brandeis Haiti Initiative
The Global Brandeis History
Brandeis University was founded in 1948, in the early years of the United Nations and UNESCO. In its first decade, scholars in flight from the ravages of war in Europe found a home at Brandeis and helped to shape an academic culture that was cosmopolitan, tolerant, and deeply intellectual. Some brief highlights of those foundational years include:
The Wien International Scholarship Program
The Wien Program, founded in 1958 through a visionary gift by the philanthropist Lawrence A. Wien, was one of the first U.S. scholarship programs for international students primarily from the developing world. The program has brought over 800 future leaders from over 100 countries to Brandeis; it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a reunion in April 2008.
Designing a "relevant" curriculum
Among the features of early Brandeis academic study was Education-S, a seminar for seniors that featured lectures from world leaders and thinkers like Indira Ghandi, Alfred Kinsey, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Training the Peace Corps
Thanks to grants from the U.S. State Department, Brandeis University was the training site for some of the earliest Peace Corps volunteers who worked in Bolivia and Columbia.
The Office of Global Affairs (OGA)
The OGA was created in 2007 to strengthen and support global and international programs at Brandeis. The OGA builds connections between the university's many ongoing activities in the international arena, strengthens the public profile of our global programs, identifies new resources for international projects, and develops a strategic vision for "Global Brandeis."
The OGA is now focused on some of the following projects:
- The Brandeis-India Initiative
- The Brandeis Genesis Institute for Russian Jewry
- New study abroad and learning programs in The Hague and Israel
- The Global Brandeis Symposia
- The Brandeis-Al-Quds Partnership
- Communicating Global Brandeis activities to the campus and the wider world