The Columns

First Global Issues Seminars Will Focus on Middle East and South East Asia in 2015-16 and Brazil in 2016-17

— by on September 11th, 2015

The Center for International Education at Washington and Lee University has announced that two groups of faculty will receive support to establish Global Issues Seminars under the Global Fellows Program, which is funded with support from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation.

The Global Fellows Program is a new initiative that provides stipends to three W&L faculty members who agree to team-teach a four-week seminar that approaches a single global issue from an interdisciplinary perspective. Global Fellows propose a theme and design an intensive seminar that includes classroom instruction, public lectures with visiting international scholars and collaborative research. Each fellow receives $5,000 and a course release during the term in which the seminar takes place.

Professors Joel Blecher (religion), Seth Cantey (politics) and Shikha Silwal (economics) were named the Center’s 2015-16 Global Fellows. The three will lead faculty and student discussion in a seminar, “Tradition and Change in the Middle East and South Asia,” that explores the effects of intellectual and institutional traditions — both religious and secular — on the region’s rapid transformation. Topics will include education in India and Pakistan, the intersection of capitalism and Islam in the Persian Gulf, and the role of religion in conflict in the Levant.

“This grant provide the perfect opportunity for us to focus on understudied areas of the curriculum,” said Mark Rush, director of international education. “Our goal is to boost international programming with new courses, collaborative research grants and faculty cohort programs.”

The Center’s 2016-17 Global Fellows will be professors James Kahn (economics/environmental studies), Martin Davies (economics) and Niels-Hugo Blunch (economics). Their seminar, Complexity and Socioeconomic Transitions: A case study of Brazil and its implications for other emerging countries, will bring Brazilian scholars to campus to study the country’s economic and political development and identify the factors that contribute to Brazil’s lag behind its North American and European counterparts.

More information about the 2015-16 Global Issues Seminar will go online later this fall.