Sparking global thinking

The Global Center organizes international conferences that bring together scholars, practitioners, government officials, journalists, businesspeople, and others to spark thinking and debate on critical global issues. In 2017, for example, we sponsored the “Art and Refugees Symposium.” We encourage conference proposals and paper presentations that address global issues from all academic disciplines and professional schools.

Submit a symposium proposal

Past Symposiums

Getting Started on Your Indiana Global Career

12 - 1 PM, April 8th, 2021 

Panelists from early career, workforce development, and hiring professionals discussed the variety of global careers that exist in Indiana and how high school and college students can build and market their global skills.


Global Leaders in Indiana

4 - 5 PM, April 8th, 2021

Global leaders in diverse sectors and from around the state shared how their global skills have benefitted their organizations, careers, and their fellow Hoosiers. 

Hosted by the Global Service and Peace Corps Preparation Program at Indiana University, this event provided students with the opportunity to listen and speak to professionals who have or are currently working in a variety of nonprofit organizations around the world, within the U.S., and in our own community—emphasizing that globally beneficial service work can be done at international, regional, and local levels. The showcase was composed of four panels organized thematically around the Peace Corps’ work sectors: education and youth in development; health; community economic development; and environment and agriculture. The event took place March 2-4, 2020 in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. 

Check the Panel Videos HERE.

  • Environment and Agriculture Panel (Mar 2nd, 3-4 pm)

Tyler Lloyd, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Sarah Cahillane, Director of Development at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

Jon Eldon, Lecturer at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

  • Education and Youth in Development Panel (Mar 3rd, 5:30 - 6:30 pm)

Kenneth “Biznessman” Allen, Director of Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program

Elisheva Cohen, Center for the Study of Global Change

Dana Vanderburgh, Movement Exchange & IUB, Dept of Anthropology

  • Health Panel (Mar 4th, 3-4 pm)

Sarah Rose Oswalt, Medical Case Manager, Vivent Health

Cate Reck, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Clinical Professor, Dept. of Chemistry

Dr. Nancy Richman, Project Director, HealthNet Bloomington Health Director

  • Community Economic Development Panel (Mar 4th, 5:30-6:30 pm)

Hal Beresford, Board Member, Friends of Gueoul, MBA Candidate Class of 2021, Kelly School of Business

Dr. Jill Long Thompson, Visiting Clinical Associate Professor and Dean’s Fellow for the Intersection of Business and Government at Indiana University Bloomington

Andrea Richter-Garry, Indiana Economic Development Corporation

In today’s world refugee crisis, an unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from their homes, the UN Refugee Agency reports. Among them are 25.4 million refugees, the majority of whom are children. Art & Refugees: Shine the Light highlights the complex intersection of art and refugees, telling the story of perseverance that transcends cultures, time, and religion.

This exhibit brings together glass, photography, and documentary art to create awareness of the refugee experience that crosses generations. The exhibit includes Todesmarche Revisited by Laura Donefer, an installation by of cast glass and plaster footprints, some of which were taken from actual Holocaust survivors, telling the story of the forced marches and displacement. The glass installation is juxtaposed by German photographer Charlotte Schmitz’s Take me to Jermany photography installation, capturing the faces and experiences of displaced peoples living in refugee camps in Greece and Turkey, and excerpts of the Finding Home documentary by multi-Emmy Award Winning filmmaker David Marshall in collaboration with Deborah Haber, creator/playwright of the Moses Man: Finding Home musical.

More information can also be found HERE.

Co-sponsors: Indiana University’s College of Arts and Sciences Ostrom Grants, IU Office of the Bicentennial, IUB Center for the Study of Global Change, IUPUI Office of International Affairs, IUB Center for the Study of the Middle East, IUB African Studies Program, and IUB Institute for European Studies


April 6, 2017 Indiana University Bloomington

This day-long symposium investigated the complex intersection of art and refugees by combining scholarship, performance, practice, and an art installation. The symposium viewed art as a social and political agent and as an illustration of human struggles and accomplishments. Symposium participants explored the refugee situation alongside an array of artistic expressions, as well as the artists, sociopolitical contexts, analytic frameworks, and global trends from which art about refugees is created and defined. And, in so doing, participants explored the refugee experience through multiple lenses, from the political and cultural, to the aesthetic, economic, intimate, and historic. The symposium’s overall goal was to use art as an entry point to a more meaningful and intimate understanding of the experience of refugees. Symposium events included two panels: Refugees, Art, and Rethinking Geographies and Displacement, Stories, and Refugee Policy. A multi-media performance from the creator of Moses Man: Finding Home, a story of a Holocaust survivor that is now being adapted to incorporate the current refugee crisis, bridged past and present stories of displacement. Charlotte Schmitz, a German photographer, presented an interactive outdoors installation of polaroids she took of (and with) refugees upon their arrival in Europe.

March 22-23, 2016

This two-day symposium was part of an on-going initiative to rethink area studies, Critical Area Studies in a Global Era. It brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars, practitioners, and graduate students to learn from each other and begin to articulate a scholarly and practical framework for our 21st century and its increasingly borderless, changing, and ambiguous territories. Using ice and water – which are constantly in flow even when perceived as permanent, fixed, or bounded – as entry points is a useful tool for new approaches for regional and global studies that integrate the mobility, movement, unpredictability, and ambiguity that is so profound in the contemporary world. While considering ice – particularly arctic ice – and water, rivers, and oceans, the symposium conversations led to thinking about the ambiguity that is embedded in all of the geographies and areas that we try to understand. Contributing support for the symposium were the College of Arts and Sciences Ostrom Grants Program, the Department of International Studies, Russian and East European Institute, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the Center for the Study of the Middle East.

September 26-28, 2013

Framing the Global, a five-year initiative of Indiana University Press and the Indiana University Center for the Study of Global Change, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, hosted an international conference on new approaches to global studies in September 2013. The project seeks to support scholarly research and publications that develop and disseminate new knowledge, approaches, and methods in the field of global research. A working group of fifteen scholars from around the world met regularly to discuss and generate new integrative approaches to Global Studies. At the conference the working group presented the work it has been doing and, along with other scholars, shared and further explored innovative frameworks for empirically understanding global phenomena.

November 3, 2012

This one-day conference focused on a wide range of media activism, ranging from the playful to the political. The goal was an interdisciplinary mix of scholars investigating media and social change phenomena. Formats included: two keynote speakers, short research presentations of graduate students and faculty (in a roundtable setting), panel talk, “idea tournament,” Skype or video conversations with global media activists. This was the first annual conference for graduate students and faculty engaged in media production, management, teaching, research, and creative activity, hosted by the new Media@IU group.

July 19-20, 2012

The two-day workshop brought together experts from diverse areas of research and practice to explore the delicate balance between collaboration and competition for the scientific research workforce in a globalized century. All participants shared the goal of identifying challenges and opportunities in building and sustaining scientific, organizational, and commercial expertise at institutions of higher education on a global basis. Specific areas of discussion included: scientific discovery & innovation; law and business development; history and philosophy of science; teacher education programs; complexities of research compliance; policy planning, evaluation and strategy; higher education administration and finance; physical, chemical, and environmental science; and geological and information science.

March 23 - 24, 2011

A conversation between media professionals and scholars brought together journalists, scholars, bloggers, and the general public for an exploration of the narratives spun about Islam and Muslims in the news. The goal of this conference was not only to discuss these issues, but to also move the conversation forward. Topics included Muslim identity and politics, the creation of Muslim counter-narratives, and Muslims and new media. The project held live webchats throughout the two-day conference featuring some of the speakers; panels and talks were, also, live-blogged on the Muslim Voices website.


Globalization and sustainability remain topics of great interest to the Center's faculty and students and are central to the study of global change. They also remain misunderstood and theoretically contested phenomena. Therefore, the center is currently involved in planning a multi-year colloquium series where colleagues from a variety of world areas, such as South Africa, Thailand, and Spain, among other nations, will be invited to discuss these polemic and extremely important topics. Face-to-face meetings as well as interactive video technology will facilitate the dialogue as scholars discuss some of the key questions to be addressed, tackle definitional issues, and establish some contextual and disciplinary boundaries, as well as potentially devising suggested policy revisions.

April 30 - May 2, 2008

Port cities hosting container shipping industries are the linchpins of regional economies. While anti-terrorism reforms have placed considerable focus on the vulnerability of the shipping industry to biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, this international conference proposed to expand the scope of port security issues to include social and ecological dimensions such as water management; migration, immigration and irregular settlement; marginal and traditional local community perspectives; and fishery sustainability. Colleagues from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the United States were invited. They represented a range of disciplines and professions including city planning, anthropology, port authorities, and law. The collaboration produced a global, interdisciplinary, and multidimensional perspective on 21st century port security.

April 1, 2008

Stephen Flynn, renowned security expert from the Council on Foreign Relations and adviser to two presidents, presented the lecture, "America the Resilient: Rebuilding the Foundation for Global Security Leadership." Flynn outlined why the next administration must move away from its overreliance on the U.S. national security establishment and toward enlisting the private sector and civil society in managing the challenges of globalization. Flynn has appeared on "Meet the Press," "60 Minutes" and Cable NewsNetwork and other media outlets. A 20-year veteran of the Coast Guard, he served in national security roles in the Bush and Clinton administrations and has received critical acclaim for his most recent book, The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation (Random House, 2007).

September 25-27, 2007

Distinguished constitutionalists representing six countries (Spain, South Africa, Burma, Liberia, Mexico, and Kyrgyzstan) came together to tell their stories, compare meanings, and consider the dynamic processes of constitutional narrative. Two participants considered and elucidated each country's path to constitutional democracy and the role the constitution played in this process; they explored the moral and cultural values and institutions that were implied, exemplified, or questioned in their stories; they discussed the lessons their stories offered to citizens and officeholders; they examined the roles of nationalism and identity; they looked at how the stories related to each other and provided guidance for the challenges of constitutional democracy; and they clarified the contested areas of the stories and the sources of potential conflict and disagreement.

Following the initial day of constitutional storytelling, comparison, and analysis, the Indiana University and Bloomington community was invited to a public event at which the participants discussed the divergent national narratives as well as common themes across the constitutional stories.

Spring 2005

In conjunction with Indiana University's Area Studies programs and the Department of Comparative Literature, the Center hosted a conference on the impact of globalization on world literature. Enhanced communications has resulted in the emergence of new voices around the globe who address common problems through poetry, drama, film, and narrative. Global humanities is one of the least developed sub-fields of International Studies and this conference examined new developments in theory and pedagogy in this area.

Odessa, Ukraine, September 24-27, 2004

The Center for the Study of Global Change collaborated with the Center for International Studies at Odessa University on a conference that examined, from varying national perspectives, major security issues confronting Europe. This conference was a follow-up to a workshop on "Ukraine and European Security" that Indiana University and Odessa University sponsored in November 1996. Out of that workshop came Ukraine and European Security (London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999).

Spring 2004

In collaboration with Indiana University's Area Studies programs, the Center for the Study of Global Change developed and hosted a conference on the interrelationship between language, ethnicity, and culture and the future of the nation state. Since the end of the Cold War, problems of national identity have emerged as a critical international issue as national groups seek a greater voice in their governance and self-determination. Some societies have made adjustments peacefully while others have erupted in ethnic violence. The role of language, ethnicity, and language plays a critical role in this process and this conference addressed the ramifications of these processes on the future of the state.

Chicago, IL, April 25-26, 2003

The International Studies National Resources Centers at Indiana University, Michigan State University, and the University of Iowa and the American Council for Education (ACE) hosted a national conference on Innovative Strategies in Internationalization in Higher Education in Chicago. This conference focused on two major issues in international education at the post-secondary level: leveraging scarce resources and the impact of new technologies on technological research in international studies. Faculty from colleges and universities from the Indiana Consortium for International Programs (ICIP), the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), and the Midwest Institute for International/ Intercultural Education (MWIIIE) participated in the proceedings.

Bloomington, IN, October 13-14, 2002

The Center for the Study of Global Change and the Consortium for Institutional Cooperation (CIC) hosted a conference on The Impact of New Technologies on Teaching and Research in International Studies at Indiana University. The aim of this conference was to examine how new information technologies are changing the ways in which pedagogy and research are conducted, specifically in international studies. The conference brought together faculty, librarians, and specialists in new technology who, in many cases, do not often communicate directly with each other. The focus of the conference was both theoretical and applied. A dialogue took place on innovative practices, the use of technology, and the role of librarians in facilitating access to information. Participants reviewed some current cutting-edge practices that may point the way to possible futures. Among the outcomes of the conference were the identification of "unmet" needs and plans for the publication of conference highlights and outcomes on the Web.

March 29-31, 2001

One of the Center's primary mandates is to explore the rapidly changing political, social, economic, and environmental conditions around the world, especially at the turn of the millennium. The focus of this major conference was to examine and analyze the challenges and promises of transgenic organisms and other genetically-modified crops. Are these agricultural products the solution to global hunger or will they result in new forms of genetic mutation which will threaten the biosphere? Are trade barriers to American transgenic agricultural products established for legitimate health concerns or to protect inefficient farming practices overseas? The Center co-hosted this conference in conjunction with the IU School of Law and panels addressed the legal, economic, political, and social ramifications of transgenic engineering on the international system, especially in terms of global trade and politics. The conference proceedings were published in the Fall 2001 issue of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies (Volume 9, Number 1).

March 1-2, 2001

The Center worked with IU's India Studies Program, the Middle East Studies Program, and the African Studies Program to host a major conference on the implications of the nuclear weapons programs of countries on the Indian Ocean littoral. Participants addressed security issues associated with the development and expansion of nuclear programs in India, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, South Africa, and Australia.

Indianapolis, IN, January 28-30, 2000

The "Best Practices in International Studies" conference showcased some of the exceptional programs offered by member institutions of the Indiana Consortium for International Programs (ICIP). Panels included innovative overseas studies opportunities, international service learning, and academic programs and curricula. The conference was geared toward international educators in the Midwest but also attracted educators from around the nation.

Prior to the conference, the Center for the Study of Global Change surveyed the international capabilities of the 42 Midwestern colleges and universities that are ICIP members. The conference was a follow-up opportunity for international educators to learn about other programs in the region and develop a dialogue about collaboration among ICIP schools.

Co-organized with IU's Title VI National Resource Centers and the Office of International Programs

Washington, DC, April 16-18, 1998

National leaders and educators from across the United States met in Washington, DC to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title VI of the Higher Education Act. In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower and Congress recognized that America's growing leadership role in the world made necessary a national effort to develop the country's knowledge of other nations, cultures, foreign languages, and international affairs. The programs authorized under Title VI of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 addressed these urgent needs. As the international system becomes more complicated and economies more open, integrated, and competitive, international education becomes increasingly important to America's success. International education programs also help us better understand and strengthen our country's increasingly diverse society. The conference did not focus solely on the past accomplishments of Title VI, but also looked to the future of the program and international education.

Conference panels addressed the following issues: Contributions of Title VI to International Education and Foreign Language Studies; The Foundations of Future Research on International Studies; America's Role in the World; The Impact of the World Today on Key Sectors of Society; and The Response of Higher Education to the Changing International Scene.

Indianapolis, IN, November 15-16, 1996

This conference was held in Indianapolis at the IUPUI campus (November 15-16, 1996), and examined the economic, political, and social ramifications of the NAFTA Treaty on the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Panelists focused on national identity and cultural perspectives; the Helms-Burton Act and law and regional economic integration; aspirant countries to the NAFTA agreement; and labor perspectives of the NAFTA accord. Seventeen scholars, government officials, political activists, and labor representatives from Canada, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. participated.

Bloomington, IN, March 7-10, 1996

This conference was held at Indiana University, Bloomington with the objective of finding new approaches to the ongoing problems posed by the international sharing and use of water resources. Presentations ranged from case studies of regional water disputes (particularly in the Middle East), theoretical approaches to addressing trans-boundary water conflict resolution, to global scale analysis of government versus private business roles in water management. Several of the conference papers appeared in the March 1997 issue of Water International, the official journal of the International Water Resources Association.