Colgate takes next step on international journey

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Center for International Programs ribbon cutting

It was a Colgate Hello that could be heard around the world.

On October 15, Colgate ushered in a new era of internationalism and officially celebrated the opening of the Center for International Programs (CIP). The center will serve as a hub for the university’s numerous global initiatives, conducted by faculty and students.

In its new home on the first floor of McGregory Hall, the CIP brings together the Office of Off-Campus Study, the Lampert Institute for Civic and Global Affairs, and the New York Six Consortium. It will also be home base for international students studying on the hill.

The space features a thoroughly wired conference room suitable for international video conferencing, a lounge where students and faculty can prepare for — and debrief from — study abroad adventures, and kitchen facilities.

Gifts from Ed ’62 and Robin Lampert brought the center to life, and the Lampert Institute is proving to be a pivotal member of the university’s international programs ecosystem. Led this year by philosophy and environmental studies professor Jason Kawall, the institute is funding student and faculty research at home and abroad. Meanwhile, the institute is coordinating campus events around the theme of food, with related lectures on global food scarcity, nutrition, food resilience in the face of climate change, and more.

“The Lampert Institute’s focus on civic engagement in a global context speaks to the great importance of understanding our increasingly globalized world,” said Nicole Simpson, associate dean of the faculty for international initiatives and professor of economics.

With support from the Lamperts and other dedicated alumni, parents, and friends, the university is building international partnerships that are already resulting in both faculty and student exchange programs. Most recently, Colgate expanded its three-year relationship with Xiamen University in China. In addition to hosting the annual American Experience program for Xiamen students, Colgate has welcomed Xiamen economics professor Gao Qianqian for an academic year in Hamilton, while Josh Kahn ’17 is studying in Xiamen.

The CIP is a natural step on an international journey that is as old as the university itself. Nearly 200 years ago, in its early incarnation as a Baptist seminary, Colgate trained students for missionary work abroad. More recently, in the early half of the 20th century, the university began to establish study groups led by university faculty — today, Colgate offers nearly 20 of these opportunities while allowing students to use financial aid resources to cover more than 100 other approved programs in 50 countries.

Knowing that two-thirds of Colgate’s student body studies abroad for at least a semester, a Working Group on International and Global Initiatives called for the creation of the CIP in 2013. “Today, we realize the vision from that strategic plan, and it’s exciting to see it all happen,” Simpson said.

“It takes a lot to bring a center like this to fruition,” said Interim President Jill Harsin as she thanked the Lamperts and all of the faculty and staff who worked to make the center a reality. “The Center for International Programs allows us to make international studies a signature element of the Colgate experience.”