Globally focused courses are found in Asian and Latin American studies, and disciplines such as economics, English, history, politics and religion.


Ashton ’43 and Virginia Graham O’Donnell ’43 establish the O’Donnell Visiting Professorship in Global Studies.


Global Studies Faculty Working Group forms.


Working group hosts workshop with Ahmed Samatar, dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College.

O’Donnell endowment supports an international sexual rights forum; a lecture by a former commander of the U.N. intervention forces in Rwanda; and a month of classes with an expert on peace psychology.

“Many of our disciplines are being reshaped in global directions, and the Global Studies Initiative allows us to catch up with some of those changes. Ultimately, we all hope to be more effective teachers, with loads of fresh ideas and insights.”

— Shampa Biswas
associate professor of politics
director, global studies


Grant proposal to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation drafted.

O’Donnell endowment supports lectures on “The U.S. and the Islamic World” by a national correspondent of The Atlantic Monthly; on the politics of biosafety by an Ethiopian Environmental Protection Agency official; and on the International Monetary Fund by a professor and director of the Canadian Payments Association; as well as a weeklong seminar by a TV business news anchor from Germany.


September 2007 — Mellon global studies proposal submitted.

O’Donnell endowment supports a semester-long course on women’s writing and activism in South Asia, a workshop and a lecture, all by a professor from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka; a course on global challenges of public health; and a lecture on global development and international institutions as they relate to Africa by Ahmed Rhazaoui ’68, a retired U.N. official.

June 2008 — Mellon Foundation awards $345,000 grant to launch Global Studies Initiative.

July 2008 — Shampa Biswas, associate professor of politics, named global studies director.

Summer 2008 — Global Studies Initiative kicks off: Incoming first-years assigned to read “Persepolis.”


Opening Week — Forum on “Persepolis”; faculty and first-years discuss the work.

Fall 2008 — O’Donnell professorship moves under umbrella of the Global Studies Initiative.

O’Donnell endowment supports a course on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic by Kris Nyrop ’79, former executive director of Street Outreach Services in Seattle; and a diversity workshop, classroom visits and a lecture by a Canadian Cree dramatist and novelist.

February 2009 — Inaugural Global Studies Initiative symposium, “Torture and the Human Body.” O’Donnell endowment supports panel participation by the author of “Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror.”

April 2009 — “Persepolis” author lectures on campus.

May 2009 — Global studies faculty members present initiative progress to overseers.