Carnegie Mellon University

Global Solutions

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Conference Focuses on Human Rights

Whether it's through global themes threaded throughout the curriculum or pursuing a degree specializing in international affairs, Carnegie Mellon students have rich educational opportunities that help them to create their own frameworks for thinking globally.

One of these opportunities takes place Feb. 20-21 in the form of a weekend inter-university conference called "Global Problems, Global Solutions."

Organized by Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, LaRoche College, Duquesne University and Carlow University, this conference will engage students and community members in discussions focused on human rights. The array of perspectives will cover poverty, corporate accountability, environmental justice, women's and workers' rights, and Darfur.

Those interested in attending this free conference can register online.

Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and alumni come from all over the world. And much of the work being done at the university focuses on finding solutions for problems with global implications.

"Carnegie Mellon's teaching includes strands of global education woven in different ways, and this inter-university conference is just one example," explained Vice Provost for Education Indira Nair.

Other examples include faculty using and students analyzing international data and examples; students studying abroad; students participating in projects through the TechBridgeWorld Program; and students applying for Fulbright and other fellowships, she said.

"There have been projects sharing our courses and pedagogy in different ways sometimes through technology-enabled communication with Latin American universities and Indian universities," Nair explained. "Our establishment of an undergraduate campus in Education City in Qatar, and graduate degrees offered in various countries such as Greece, Portugal and Australia also led to another type of internationalization of our education."

Nair said the university also intentionally infuses global awareness into its education by looking for opportunities to integrate some of these aspects into courses and projects.

"When President Cohon received the Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, he dedicated half of the money to launch a set of initiatives related to globalizing undergraduate education," Nair noted. "As a result, eight courses were funded and nurtured across colleges, including the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Engineering, the Mellon College of Science, the School of Computer Science and the College of Fine Arts."

Additional opportunities have included the popular CMU-Pitt weekend-intensive course INDIA Today this past semester and the upcoming CHINA Today on March 20-22.

"For these weekend courses, students attend 16 hours of lectures over the weekend and complete a paper for credit, or they may just audit," she said. "Given our students' crowded schedules, they appreciate these opportunities for exposure to important global topics, which they may then follow up to develop more expertise as they wish."

The Global Problems, Global Solutions Conference commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It will examine the progress made in achieving the vision of human rights — from effective strategies developed to combat abuses to contemporary challenges and new actors changing the environment globally.

"It provides an opportunity for students to learn about yet another aspect of our global society," Nair said.

Related Links: Global Problems, Global Solutions Conference  |  The Global University