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Extend Our Global Reach and Influence

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien visits Duke in November 2000 to deliver his first public lecture after his re-election and to meet with students and faculty connected to the Canadian Studies Program and the Center for North American Studies.

In the post-cold war international environment, those who want to survive and thrive need to understand that they belong to an interdependent world. Our responsibility at Duke is to furnish our students with the resources to meet the challenges of a new world where knowledge knows no boundaries and in which, as Duke graduates, they will have great responsibility for how the future is shaped. Accordingly, there are ongoing efforts to infuse the Duke curriculum with international content (one of the goals of Curriculum 2000); to increase the number of international students in the student body (approximately 5 percent of the undergraduate population now comes from foreign countries); and to expand opportunities for study abroad (more than 40 percent of Duke undergraduates experience study abroad before graduating and have 120 possibilities including La Paz, Bolivia; Beijing, China; and Accra, Ghana).

Faculty scholarship in the international arena has resulted not only in exciting new faculty research and discussion throughout the university, but also in innovative courses that are built around connections between continents as opposed to comparisons between them or differences that divide them. Gilbert Merkx, who was appointed vice-provost for international affairs in June, has written and edited extensively on Latin American studies and international education. His most recent publications include "International Education in the New Global Era" and "The Jewish Presence in Latin America."

Faculty hires also expand Duke’s global ties. This year, arts and sciences and engineering, for instance, hired 52 new professors, 18 ofwhom have international backgrounds. As Provost Lange says, “We’re attracting the very best the world has to offer.”

We believe that more than anything we do, providing financial aid for foreign students will have a profound effect on Duke’s visibility abroad, making people much more aware of Duke’s national (and increasingly international) reputation. The development of strategic partnerships with other international universities by various departments in arts and sciences, and by Duke’s professional schools, has the potential to extend Duke’s reach and influence worldwide. The Duke University Museum of Art, for instance, has forged a faculty-student exchange program with the Museo del Prado in Madrid, and the museum has built especially strong contacts with Russia and Central and South America.