We live in an interdependent world, a smaller world, in which borders are more porous. A great many of the issues we confront today are transnational, indeed global, in scope. Cornell and other universities thus have an urgent task: to produce leaders and citizens of tomorrow who have cross-cultural awareness, who grasp and live the adage that in this global environment, we need to understand each other better. President David Skorton underscored this point in his White Paper on Cornell's international dimension, issued in 2012. Subsequently, a task force comprised of ten faculty members from across the university developed an actionable, focused plan to enhance Cornell’s excellence in international studies and international engagement. The experience brought home to me just how much important international work we’re doing at Cornell – and how much more we have to do. Only if we excel in international teaching, research, and engagement can we prepare our students – and by extension the university as a whole – to flourish in this increasingly connected world.
As Vice Provost for International Affairs it will be my privilege to work with all parts of the campus community to pursue the recommendations for strengthening Cornell’s global dimensions laid out in President Skorton’s White Paper and the task force report. These include: (1) internationalizing the student experience by strengthening the curriculum and by expanding and enhancing the number and quality of student opportunities for meaningful international experiences; (2) supporting internationally engaged faculty by strengthening international centers and programs and boosting research funding, and by introducing an Internationalization Fellows Program for newly hired or newly tenured faculty; (3) enhancing Cornell’s international presence by cultivating, sustaining, and expanding international partnerships, and by developing “consulates” in selected cities around the world; and (4) creating enhanced central university coordination regarding international studies and engagement, while at the same time encouraging individual colleges to pursue their own initiatives and priorities. A key task will be to mobilize funding by generating endowed resources to sustain Cornell’s internationalization activities.
Cornell is a truly international university that educates globally competent and culturally sensitive students for leadership in an increasingly international environment; fosters cutting-edge research within and across national boundaries to contribute to the expansion of the knowledge essential for understanding this environment; and engages in development activities and public services to enhance the lives and livelihoods of our students and others around the world.