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Global Week at UVA 2021

UVA Global Week 2021The University of Virginia is bustling as the UVA community gathers to celebrate diverse global cultures and intercultural exchanges during Global Week 2021. In this posting of Thoughts From the Lawn, Margaret K. Walter and Mandira Banerjee from the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs discuss this year’s weeklong journey showcasing traditional events as well as new highlighted activities.

In October’s column for UVA Global (, Ambassador Steve Mull, Vice Provost of Global Affairs, called on readers to celebrate the upcoming Global Week with this opening statement: “For many years, UVA has celebrated Global Week each year in late October to bring attention to the many opportunities for, and benefits of, global engagement – a celebration that takes on special significance this year as we begin to emerge back into the world from more than a year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Indeed, while we are thrilled that Global Week will once again host a series of in-person opportunities for engagement, almost half of the current listing of 25 events are either fully virtual or are offered in a hybrid setting in accordance with UVA policies. We are still very much “emerging back into the world” and are excited for the opportunities to engage with the many global facets of the University, regardless of format.

Education abroad is perhaps one example that first comes to mind when thinking about global opportunities in a university setting, and students and their families will find a number of events designed to help students explore their options, hear from their peers who have themselves studied abroad, and generally understand “how study abroad works” at UVA. (See Education Abroad @ Family Weekend, Education Abroad Advising, Education Abroad Student Alumni Panel, Engineering Faculty-Led Programs & Internships)

We believe that all members of the University community should have access to global opportunities and are pleased to once again offer a Passport Drive for students, faculty, staff, and their families. 25 students have been awarded a need-based scholarship to cover the cost of applying for a passport at this event. The Office of Citizen Scholar Development is offering support to current students as well as alumni in their efforts to pursue international fellowships and awards. For students looking to “stay global” in the workplace or seeking global career opportunities, the UVA Career Center and UVA Global are providing a series of events focused on specific careers.  (See Passport Drive, Global Fellowships Workshop, Teaching Careers Abroad, Careers in Diplomacy & Public Policy, International Development & Humanitarian Aid Careers)

We also value this week to seek out and celebrate cultures, languages, and stories at UVA and in Charlottesville. Multiple events will highlight performing arts and cuisine from around the world, and a multilingual “café” gives participants the opportunity to mingle with speakers of many languages. Journey over to Morven Farms for a chance to learn the art of calligraphy and enjoy the Japanese Garden. A critical part of global exchange is the sharing of stories, and during Global Week, we’ll get to hear from Peace Corps volunteers about their triumphs and struggles, and Global Studies alumni share their insights with current and prospective majors. (See IRC²: A Celebration of Global Cultures, Final Friday @ the Fralin, VISAS Global Café, Calligraphy Art, Peace Corps Stories, Global Studies Alumni)

Students beta bridgeThose looking to engage with topics like climate change and sustainability, the pursuit of democracy, healthcare, and social justice, will also find a selection of events during Global Week. UVA’s Center for Politics has organized not just one, but two events, one with the current ambassador of Egypt to the U.S., and another with the former ambassador of Afghanistan to the U.S. The Batten School is hosting an event discussing the crisis in Afghanistan. Ambassador Steve Mull will moderate a conversation about Myanmar’s struggle for democracy. We will hear from six Mandela Washington Fellows about a social justice movement taking place in Nigeria. Various sustainability practices, the health impacts of climate change, the importance of supporting nurses around the world, and a conference covering news, propaganda, and diplomacy round out the Week. (See His Excellency Motaz Zahran, Ambassador Roya Rahmani, Batten Hour: The Crisis in Afghanistan, Fight for Myanmar’s Democracy, 21st Century Civil Protest, Sustainability Abroad, Health Impacts of Climate Change, Supporting the World’s Nurses, News/Propaganda/Diplomacy)

We look forward to a week of celebration, reflection, and engagement around all things global at UVA. Join us! For the full event schedule, see

(photo by Natalie St. John)