- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - In the age of globalization, Wyoming is stepping up.

The University of Wyoming Center for Global Studies kicked off at the end of March and is designed to integrate campus-wide research efforts with a global twist.

The center will be a collection of interested faculty members and students, with an office in the Cheney International Center on campus - home to the global and area studies program, said David Messenger, director of global and area studies.

Faculty members, students and scholars consider implications of rising global concerns in five areas: energy, food and water challenges to international security; environment and national resources; economics, finance and sustainable development; ethics, human rights and justice; and leadership and governance in global policymaking.

The center provides funds for faculty and student international fieldwork and provides experts for organizations. The center is not affiliated with any major, but works closely with the global and area studies program to bring speakers to campus and across the state.

“The Cheney Center is just a building. They do the very practical side of international work,” Messenger told the Laramie Boomerang (https://bit.ly/1iujPGQ). “The idea of the center is to gather faculty and students doing research on international issues and have a place to present their work or find out who else is interested, rather than leaving it to circumstance.”

For example, a zoology professor and an anthropology professor, both working in Africa, can discover and share their work through the center, leading to possible research collaboration, Messenger said.

An internal committee of UW faculty and administrators, combined with an external group with community members, will advise the center on year-to-year strategies and speakers.

Day-to-day operations will be run by the center’s first director, Jean Garrison.

In the first year, the center will spend about $150,000 to bring in speakers and award faculty and graduate student research funds. There are currently graduate students in Ireland, Chile, Morocco and Australia using those funds to conduct research. Messenger said about four or five faculty members plan to do the same this summer.

Messenger said he also received a $25,000 grant to work on human rights issues with three other faculty members. The four are spread out between African countries, Spain and Cambodia researching the aftermath of war and genocide. They’ll convene at the center to discuss similarities in their work and findings, despite going about the process differently, Messenger said.

The center will also house visiting scholars. Marc Wall, a former ambassador to Chad, participated in the spring. The next scholar will be Elinor Burkett, an international journalist, and in the fall, a former United Nations worker from Morocco.

Messenger said the ultimate goal is to be recognized as an institute, which means UW incorporates the entity into its budget. Right now, the center is sustained on private donations. Becoming an institute would bring more dollars and allow for more research collaborations, he said.

“We want to see more collaborations across disciplines, and encourage people interested in similar things with different perspectives to talk to each other,” Messenger said. “We won’t work on the same projects, but make connections with what we’re doing. The center can highlight that, and encourage more collaboration across colleges and getting a community going. We have a strong base that I don’t think many people realize.”

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Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com


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