The Initiative on Race Gender and Globalization (IRGG) at Yale University was established at the beginning of the 2004-2005 academic year with the support of the Office of the Provost. The primary goals of the IRGG are to internationalize the undergraduate and graduate curricula through scholarly events and courses that foster intellectual exchange across geographic borders and political perspectives. Both in his speech “The Internationalization of the University” and in his Baccalaureate Address “Life on a Small Planet,” President Levin addresses the necessity of working across political and geographic boundaries in our contemporary world. He notes in his Baccalaureate Address that “this nation has suffered through much of its history from isolation and insularity. Too often our leaders have been insufficiently mindful of how America is perceived throughout the world.”
For the past 8 years the IRGG has committed itself to organizing and sponsoring courses, colloquia, conferences, symposiums, and speakers in alignment with President Levin’s cosmopolitan mission. Our sponsored events and courses have not only addressed issues of national “isolation and insularity,” but have also challenged the Yale community to think critically and cross culturally about the constitution of globalization in politics, the arts, economics, and history. As a way to cultivate President Levin’s internationalist mission at Yale, the IRGG has established relationships with departments, programs, and research centers on the Yale campus such as African American Studies, American Studies, the British Art Center, the Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis, English, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and History. These cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural relationships have fostered a spirit of interdisciplinarity better able to nurture a global awareness necessary for understanding existing and emergent political issues, transitions in economic markets, and identity formations in our globalized world.