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About the Center for International Studies

Founded in 1966, the Center for International Studies (CIS) sponsors and coordinates a wide variety of activities related to research, teaching, curriculum, and public outreach on global and international topics. The Center, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, hosts the Program on the Global Environment and the undergraduate International Studies Program.

  • The Program on the Global Environment (PGE) was officially launched in 2007-08. The program integrates perspectives on key environmental issues coming from the sciences, social sciences, and the policy community. The program includes an undergraduate major and minor in Environmental Studies and a faculty and graduate workshop on the global environment as well as support for internships, research, conferences and other events.  Among the innovative offerings of the undergraduate program is the Calumet Quarter, a hands-on, intensive field program in the Calumet, Chicago’s own back yard.
  • The Undergraduate Program in International Studies boasts an innovative and rigorous curriculum  developed with support from a UISFLP grant (2002-2005). In addition to core and other thematic and area-focused courses, major requirements include foreign language proficiency and study abroad as well as a BA thesis. The major enables undergraduates to take maximum advantage of the impressive range of international studies faculty and resources across departments and divisions of the university.
  • CIS sponsors a wide range of public programs from scholarly conferences and workshops to teacher training programs.  Our signature series, The World Beyond the Headlines, focuses on events of outstanding contemporary importance, bringing an international lineup of scholars, journalists, and world leaders to the Chicago campus.

CIS also serves as a the coordinator for regional studies programs not covered by Department of Education National Resource Centers, including African Studies and (with the Centers for Middle East Studies and East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies), Central Eurasian Studies. CIS is also the institutional home of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies (COSAS), a faculty interest group whose members work in South and Southeast Asia.  We also work closely with Chicago’s area centers: the Centers for East Asian Studies; East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies; Latin American Studies; Middle Eastern Studies, and the South Asian Language and Area Center.

Through its Norman Wait Harris fund, CIS sponsors supports a wide range of conferences, lectures, invited speakers, and other events on international topics aimed at both university and broader audiences. In recent years, the Center has utilized new technologies to increase the reach and impact of its programming through its online CHIASMOS multimedia content delivery site featuring podcasts and other audio and video feeds of public lectures and other events.