International Initiatives

International Initiatives report


Magnús Bernhardsson, History and Arabic Studies
Liz Creighton, Admission and Financial Aid
Leila Derstine, Alumni Relations
Helga Druxes, German and Comparative Literature
Katya King, Fellowships
Jim Mahon, Political Science and Global Studies
Gail Newman, German and Comparative Literature; Center for Foreign Languages,     Literatures, and Cultures
Tom Powers, Center for Development Economics
Ninah Pretto, International Student Services
Tina Stoiciu, International Education and Study Away


Never has the world been more connected than at the present moment in history. At the same time, disconnections within and between societies have become more visible. Globalization has opened up new markets and connected the most disparate possible groups, but it has also exposed, and in some cases exacerbated, inequality and injustice. Understanding the causes and consequences of these global connections is one of the central challenges facing current and future Williams graduates. 

The College already has a strong international presence, including a globally diverse student population, fellowship and study abroad opportunities, the Center for Development Economics, and an increasingly international curriculum. But despite the wealth of international programs and opportunities, a global outlook has not been a central part of the Williams identity. Strategic planning opens up an opportunity to position Williams as a leader in the kind of international education that will become ever more crucial in the 21st century. The working group will pursue strategies that position the College as a hub of global intellectual exchange that fosters persistent and profound engagement with the world. 

The group should consider the following questions:

  • How does Williams define an international education? What kinds of experiences inside and outside of the classroom support this definition? What are the roles of foreign language programs, travel experiences, internship opportunities, and pathways through the curriculum? What is the relationship between the undergraduate experience and our graduate programs in development economics and the history of art?
  • What would it mean for internationalization to become a more central part of the Williams experience? How can we strengthen current programs and make them more visible? What new opportunities and pathways would make internationalism an essential component of a Williams education? How can we recruit, support, and retain a more international student body, faculty and staff?
  • How do we prepare our students to enter global spaces with confidence, but also humility? What kinds of international immersion experiences can we offer our students to help them become culturally competent global citizens?
  • What kinds of ethical challenges will our students face in the world of the future, and how can Williams help them meet these challenges responsibly?
  • How can the curriculum reflect and engage with 21st-century international realities, and how can the College support faculty and staff to work more constructively in this new global environment? 
  • How can we build internationalism into the arc of a Williams education? In particular, how do admissions priorities, curricular and co-curricular programming, and career opportunities work together to shape and support a more global Williams experience? 
  • How can we improve systems and processes to facilitate better transparency, accessibility, and administrative efficacy in order to realize our vision?