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Director's Welcome

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I am pleased to welcome you on behalf of the LAS Global Studies program at Illinois. This is an exciting major that prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, in which global issues are more complex and more resistant to easy solutions than ever before. Our graduates are represented around the world in a wide range of careers where they are engaged in an amazing variety of interesting and consequential undertakings.

I have been with LAS Global Studies since 2008 when I became the first appointed Lecturer for the program and became the first Associate Director in 2013. I joined the program after finishing my PhD work at the University of Maryland, College Park in Political Economy and Comparative Politics, where my dissertation research focused on the use of internet technology by political organizations. My applied and research interests include the role of technology in social movements, diplomacy and negotiation, and conflict early warning, prevention and resolution with a particular focus on Rwanda and sub-Saharan Africa. This campus is a rich environment with incredible resources, scholars, and opportunities to engage with all of these topics and many more for students and faculty alike.

In all of these issue areas it is quite clear to me that no single disciplinary perspective is adequate to explain or address the contested issues. Rather, it is necessary to understand the social, economic, political, geographic, cultural, and historical contexts in which the issue exists. Interdisciplinary approaches are needed. The LAS Global Studies major is organized around the core principle that an interdisciplinary education combining multiple theoretical perspectives with applied skills such as language, research and writing, and experiential learning is critical for the 21st century. We have designed this major to ensure that our graduates are prepared to excel in their chosen path.

For this year as Interim Director, I look forward to building on the groundwork we have created over the past few years and continuing to innovate. We now offer a new undergraduate minor in Global Markets and Society for students interested in careers in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Two undergraduate certificate programs, one in International Development and the second in Global Health, are growing rapidly with participants from across the campus. Our GLBL 298 short courses abroad take students to South Africa, Ecuador, Jordan, India, and the Bahamas to study a variety of subjects in the field. Our faculty routinely receive top marks from their students and are listed among the campus Teachers Ranked as Excellent list each semester. Our academic advising also gets top marks on the annual survey of graduating seniors. We are working closely with our student organizations to continue to offer valuable support and programs for research, internships, and career development to help them gain knowledge and experience for the future.

It is an exciting time to be part of LAS Global Studies, and I hope that you will join us at Illinois. We are happy to answer your questions about how this major can help you reach your goals, please contact us to schedule a time to talk.

Timothy Wedig, PhD

Interim Director, LAS Global Studies