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Global Inquiries

Globalization continues to throw in sharp relief the complexity of cultural, social, political, and economic forces that shape peoples, nations, and regions, as well as their relations with one another. Penn Arts & Sciences is already home to a wealth of resources that support greater understanding and advances in the study of global issues. These resources will be strengthened through a combination of targeted new initiatives.


Eve Troutt Powell discusses “Imperialism in the Modern Middle East” in a 2007 60-Second Lecture. Dr. Troutt Powell is the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History and Africana Studies.


A New Hub for Global Inquiries: The Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics

Scheduled for completion in 2018, the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics is the most significant new capital project associated with our strategic plan, as well as our most ambitious capital project in support of the social sciences in decades.

The Perelman Center will be home to two of the School’s largest departments, along with five centers with a global and/or public policy focus. It will become a hub for the social sciences that will foster intellectual interaction and collaboration across disciplines, and will bring interdisciplinary scholarly expertise to bear on contemporary issues and events, at home and around the world.


As an underclassman Christina Wu, C’14, was interested in medicine but decided to stretch beyond her comfort zone and explore her passion for health and social justice. She spent her sophomore summer at a grassroots healthcare organization in India, Aravind Eye Care Systems, as part of the Center for the Advanced Study of India’s (CASI) summer internship program.

Her summer was critical in developing her interests in ophthalmology and aging, leading to her senior honors thesis. Now, as a U.S.-China Fulbright fellow at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, Wu is continuing her research on elderly health care and exploring existing health and supportive services available to elders with dementia and their families.


Last summer, a group of 46 students from China were at Penn for a four-week program in governance, leadership, and society. Co-sponsored by Penn Arts and Sciences’ Robert A. Fox Leadership Program and Fels Institute of Government, with support from the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, the course was the pilot initiative of Fox Leadership International (FLI). The students were from universities in eastern China, through a bureau called Jiangsu Education Services for International Exchange, or JESIE.

John DiIulio, Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society, and director of the Fox Leadership Program, said, “Our mission with FLI is to add a global dimension to all of Fox Leadership’s programs. Penn students today will be international students no matter what they do or where they live. FLI will prepare them to be leaders who are comfortable in the world.”


Penn Arts and Sciences faculty and students take advantage of the many opportunities for research and engagement made possible by the Bostwana UPenn Partnership, led by the Perelman School of Medicine.

Last year, political science major Callan Parra, C’15, traveled to Botswana for a nine-week internship at the Kamogelo Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Project for HIV-vulnerable children in Tsalomoses, where she drafted grants to local organizations to provide a half-year of food to the school. She also shadowed two fourth-year medical students from Penn, reviewing doctor-patient notes, doing medical rounds in the maternity ward, and helping tend to about 15 patients.

The experience, she says, “truly changed my outlook on life for the better,” and led her to begin to chronicle the stories of people she’s met who have triumphed over adversities in a new blog called “Happy for Happyness.”