Global Studies Initiative

The Global Studies Initiative (GSI)  at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility provides a complement to one of of the College’s newest academic program in Global Studies (GLBL) and is managed by GLBL’s co-coordinators, Prof. Ayse Kaya and Prof. Carina Yervasi, and is supported by GLBL’s program committee. GSI supports programming that stresses the interaction of the local and the global and that aims to develop knowledge of global issues, connections, and processes as well as potential solutions to global problems.  It welcomes an interdisciplinary focus. 

In AY2021-2022 and 2022-2023, GSI was particularly interested in supporting initiatives for curricular development on global issues and the local-global connections. Specifically, funds were awarded to support faculty to transform existing relevant course materials either to enhance their global content or integrate global content.  We also welcomed courses that provide students the opportunity to critically compare similar content across different regions or localities of the world (e.g. the reception of documentary films in Europe and Asia).

GSI funds are also available to support events and activities. Thus far in 2022-2023, GSI funds supported the following:

  • "The Constitution, the Court, and Politics," Constitution Day Lecture: Melissa Murray, Frederick I. and Grace Stokes Professor of Law at New York University
  • Launch event for a publication related to a community-based component of a course
  • “Women Builders and the Earthen Architectural Heritage of Central and West Africa,” documentary film screening and hands-on workshops, Amélie Esséssé, earthen architect/conservationist and film director
  • “How Did I Make Career Out of That,” Angela Walsh, project manager and consultant
  • Upcoming events: 8th Internat'l Conference on teaching Chinese as a Second Language: New Directions in Chinese Language Education in the 21st Century (June 2023)

If you have an event that you would like GSI to support, please send a brief (no more than a single page) description of your event, how you think it addresses the Initiative’s goals, your funding needs (please list other co-sponsors), and your plans to advertise the event to




  • Global Studies Program Committee: Farha Ghannam (Sociology and Anthropology), Steven Hopkins (Religion), José-Luis Machado (Ecology), Maria Pia Olivero (Economics), , Sunka Simon (Film and Media Studies)

Key Students/Groups



Courses — Each semester, a number of Engaged Scholarship courses help students to understand and address contemporary global challenges. Regularly-offered ESCH courses include: ECON 015 Economic Poverty and Inequality, PEAC 071B Research Seminar: Global Nonviolent Action Database, and POLS 062 The Politics and Practice of Humanitarianism. Additionally, Swarthmore College's Global Studies Program offers a minor and a special major. The curriculum focuses on: global processes, systems, and phenomena, the relationship between the local and the global, and trans-border connections between people and events.

In June 2022, the following Swarthmore faculty members received a $300 research grant to to enhance their global content or integrate global content:

  • Nicté Fuller Medina - Linguistics
  • Osman Balkan - Political Science
  • Ryan Ku - English Literature
  • Sunka Simon - Film and Media Studies
  • Tracey Stewart - Music

Global Affairs — From 2014-2019, the Global Affairs program took an interdisciplinary approach to examining our most pressing global challenges. It projected disciplines such as Economics, Environmental Studies, History, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Political Science onto the global stage, asking how these disciplines can work together to help us understand our complex, global world. Swarthmore’s increasingly international composition and outlook coincided with rising uncertainty about the future of global order, making Global Affairs a timely Engaged Scholarship initiative. This initiative was directed by Professor of Political Science Dominic Tierney and Associate Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon Rhoads.

Swarthmore at COP27 — A group of Swarthmore students, staff, and faculty attended the United Nations Foundation Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt in November 2022, witnessing and contributing to  international unity against the existential threat of climate change. Learn more about their experience.

Swarthmore International Relations Journal (SIRJ) — From 2016-2019, SIRJ was an undergraduate journal publishing works on global affairs. Established in 2016, SIRJ was student written, edited, and produced. The primary goals of SIRJ were twofold: to help foster a new generation of scholars, and to bring fresh, liberal arts perspectives to international relations. Through a peer-reviewed editing process, SIRJ sought to become a major vehicle for undergraduate research on international relations, and encourage critical and intellectual dialogues among scholars.



War News Radio — Founded in 2005, War News Radio aims to rediscover the voices of real people. “Our show fills the gaps in the media’s coverage by airing new perspectives, both personal and historical, in a balanced and in-depth manner. We hope our broadcasts will engage our listeners and inspire them to engage critically with the rest of the world.”

Pulitzer Campus Consortium Network — Beginning in 2019, Swarthmore entered a 3-year partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to support civic journalism (across a range of media) as a vital ingredient in maintaining and supporting free thought, open discourse, and informed political engagement locally and around the world. Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon Rhoads was key to bringing this partnership to Swarthmore.  

Global Studies Initiative Contact

Ayse Kaya

Ayse Kaya

Professor of Political Science, Program Coordinator for Global Studies
Trotter 311
Carina Yervasi

Carina Yervasi

Associate Professor of French/Francophone Studies
French and Francophone Studies, Co-Coordinator, Global Studies Program
Kohlberg 309