Columbia Global Centers

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Columbia Global Centers are research outposts established by Columbia University in different locations around the world, as part of its initiative to further establish an international research university.[1] The first of these centers opened in March 2009 in Beijing, China and Amman, Jordan, and Columbia opened facilities in Paris, France, Mumbai, India in March 2010 and Istanbul, Turkey in November 2011. Locations in Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago de Chile were opened in 2012 and 2013. An additional location in Tunis opened in 2018.[2]


Columbia created the global centers "to promote and facilitate international collaborations, new research projects, academic programming and study abroad, enhancing Columbia’s historical commitment to global scholarship."[3] Columbia Global Centers act as regional hubs for a wide range of activities intended to enhance research in respective areas and at Columbia. The university aims to establish a network of centers in international capitals that brings together regional private enterprise, public officials, scholars, and students to collaboratively address global issues.


Columbia Global Centers | Amman[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Amman was launched in March 2009 and is led by Professor Safwan M. Masri, Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development. The Amman Center's projects with Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, School of Social Work, and Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science are focused on building local capacity in Jordan and the region. Projects in conjunction with Teachers College have trained tens of thousands of public school teachers and are expanding regionally. The Center's course offerings for undergraduate and graduate students include Arabic Language Studies, Democracy and Constitutional Engineering in the Middle East, Regional Environmental Sustainability, and the Summer Ecosystem Experience for Undergraduates Program, as well as workshops in architecture and urban design. The Center also organizes a vibrant ongoing public lecture series and hosts Studio-X Amman, a regional platform for research and programming in architecture, co-run with Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Columbia Global Centers | Beijing[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Beijing was launched in March 2009. The Center's programmatic themes include aging and public health, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. The Center runs an active public events program featuring Columbia faculty and local experts on diverse topics ranging from international economics to environmental engineering to film studies. The Center hosts student summer programs and organizes workshops throughout the year to engage Columbia undergraduate and graduate students and young scholars in Beijing, such as the Graduate Students and Young Scholars Meeting Program, which is organized in partnership with Columbia's Weatherhead East Asian Institute. The Center also hosts diverse projects under the President's Global Innovation Fund, such as Ideas on Aging, a collaboration with Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health.

Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul was launched in November 2011 and is led by Ipek Cem Taha. A hub for students and scholars from Columbia and universities in the region, the Center hosts several educational programs, including summer programs on Democracy and Constitutional Engineering, Balkan Transcultural Studies, and Byzantine and Ottoman Studies, as well as the Global Seminar on Byzantine and Modern Greek Encounters. Initiatives facilitated by the Center in cooperation with Columbia faculty and regional partners include: Studio-X Istanbul, the Istanbul Documentation Project, Women Creating Change, Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, Responding to Changing Health Needs in Complex Emergencies, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and the Regional Network for Historical Dialogue and Reconciliation. Journalism, freedom of expression, politics of memory, refugees, and the arts are other ongoing areas of programming. The Center also pursues regional initiatives in collaboration with the Amman Center.

Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai was launched in March 2010 and is led by Ravina Aggarwal. The Center serves as a knowledge hub and develops research-based programs and activities on issues related to the global context of the South Asia region, which is at a critical junction of global importance and faces unprecedented opportunities and challenges. The Center conducts innovative interdisciplinary research, designs training opportunities for professionals and field opportunities for students, and disseminates research to wider audiences in academia, government, civil society, and the private sector. By leveraging Columbia's world-class thought leaders, as well as experts from the region, the Mumbai Center works to deepen knowledge that can transform society.

Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi opened its doors in January 2012 and is led by Murugi Ndirangu. The Center began in collaboration with Columbia's Earth Institute and hosted the Millennium Villages Project, which directly supported half a million people through operations in six African countries. The Center's major programmatic themes include sustainability, public health, entrepreneurship, and environmental sciences. The Center hosts the African Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium, which brings together academic and research institutions across East Africa to build a PhD training program in basic laboratory research in nutritional sciences. The Center hosts diverse projects under Columbia's President’s Global Innovation Fund as well, often in collaboration with different departments of the Columbia University Medical Center. The Center also houses one of the only study-abroad programs for undergraduates in tropical biology and sustainable development, and helps to organize internships and training programs, such as the Kraft Global Fellows program in partnership with Columbia's Office of the Chaplain.

Columbia Global Centers | Paris[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Paris is based in historic Reid Hall, which was gifted to Columbia in 1964. Launched in 2010 and led by Paul LeClerc and Brunhilde Biebuyck, the Center hosts a large undergraduate program, a Master of Arts in History and Literature, and a joint undergraduate/graduate architecture program. The Paris Center's French academic partners include the École normale supérieure; the Universities of Paris 1, 4, and 7; and the Institut d’études politiques (Sciences Po). The Center also hosts a Master of Public Health, run jointly by the École des hautes études en santé publique and Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, and the Executive Master in Technology Management, run by Columbia's School of Professional Studies. Since 2013, the Paris Center has presented the annual World Writers’ Festival, featuring internationally acclaimed writers in intimate conversations, readings, performances, and debates open to the public. The Center also organizes a vibrant lineup of concerts, conferences, exhibits, workshops, and other public programs in partnership with Parisian cultural organizations.

Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro, launched in March 2013, has built a strong network by facilitating engagement between its many local partners and the Columbia community. Led by Thomas Trebat, the Rio de Janeiro Center implements programs that focus on themes of enormous relevance to Brazil, such as social inclusion, economic development, and urban infrastructure. Two examples of these programs are the Global Executive Masters in Public Administration, created in partnership with Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and which started in Brazil in 2015, and the “Innovation Hub,” a space for knowledge exchange and development solutions for urban problems in Rio de Janeiro, in partnership with Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Columbia Global Centers | Santiago[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Santiago was launched in March 2012 and is led by Karen Poniachik. The Center's many activities include joint research projects between faculty at Columbia's different schools and laboratories and their counterparts in Chilean universities, such as in the areas of engineering, architecture, public health, and volcanology. The Center has held programs covering topics such as waste management, solar energy, global economics, and water security. It has also organized several artistic and cultural activities, as well as workshops focusing on women's issues and human rights. In May 2015, a group of eleven faculty members and PhD students from Columbia's Department of Astronomy visited the country to hold workshops with local astronomers. In December 2015, researchers from the College of Physicians and Surgeons participated in a two-day symposium to discuss the rise and spread of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in the Americas. The Center is currently working with a number of partners on campus, including the Business School, the Earth Institute, and Teachers College, to create new programs and projects.

Columbia Global Centers | Tunis[edit]

Columbia Global Centers | Tunis was launched in March 2018 and is currently led by Youssef Cherif. Several Tunisian nationals studied at Columbia, and went on to become successful business people, diplomats, and intellectuals. Columbia faculty were involved in a number of projects in Tunisia, especially after 2011, and the country's trajectory interested a number of Columbia's students and scholars. These interactions led to a Columbia delegation, led by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger, visiting Tunisia in January 2015. They met with political and business leaders, who welcomed a lasting establishment of the university in the country. This visit set the stage for Tunis to become Columbia's ninth Global Center. With the establishment of Center in Tunis, Columbia can better engage with a public unfamiliar with the US system of education and which is only occasionally exposed to US academic scholarship. The Tunis Center will operate from downtown Tunis, in a refurbished early 20th century building with balconies opening onto Tunis’ iconic Place Barcelone and the offices of the old Municipality of Tunis. The Center was accredited by the Tunisian government in March 2018, and is now ready to welcome faculty and students.


  1. ^ "Columbia Global Centers".
  2. ^ "Columbia Global Centers". WikiCU.
  3. ^ "Columbia Global Centers Open in Beijing and Amman". 2009-03-20. Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-08-29.