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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs



The Schematic State: How Nations Create Conditions that Perpetuate Racial Inequalities

December 18, 2020
Northwestern University Associate Professor of African American Studies Barnor Hesse was joined by Debra Thompson, Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University for a dialogue about “the racial state” and the structures that create, shape, and maintain it during a Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar.

The Pitfalls and Potential of International Cooperation

December 3, 2020
Northwestern University Weinberg College Center for International and Area Studies Director and Political Science Professor Ian Hurd and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights Program Manager Jonas Grimheden highlighted the potentials and pitfalls of international cooperation during a Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar.


New University Alliance Addresses Persistent Global Challenges

November 20, 2020
What role should universities play in addressing global challenges such as climate change, inequality and, now, the novel coronavirus pandemic? That is the question university leaders worldwide, myself included, have begun to explore in earnest as the complexity of the global challenges we currently face demands collaboration and action from every sector of society.

A Crisis of Legitimacy: Lessons from the U.S. and Ukraine on Inequality, Polarization and Crumbling Institutions

November 5, 2020
At the same time that the United States is struggling to resist the crumbling of its institutions in the face of polarization and populism, Ukraine struggles to move beyond corruption and foreign domination—including corruption in which wealthy Americans have participated. In some respects, the two countries appear to be converging. Northwestern University Professor of Law Paul Gowder joined Dmytro Vovk, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, to discuss what each country can learn from the other in this Northwestern Buffett webinar.


Stuck in Motion: Reexamining the Roots of Sustained Crisis in the Middle East

October 22, 2020
What does it mean to be living-in-crisis and with constant insecurity? How do people imagine their futures when they’re trying to survive the present? Northwestern University in Qatar Associate Professor of Anthropology and Acting Liberal Arts Program Director Sami Hermez and Villanova University Associate Professor of Global Interdisciplinary Studies Samer Abboud discussed these questions and more this week in a Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar on “Ecologies of Crisis and the Proliferation of Violence.”

Northwestern Professor Spotlights Forces Behind Structural Racism in Liberal Democracies

October 9, 2020
Why do racial injustices, racial inequalities and racial disparities in democracies persist over time without redress? Why has police violence against Black citizens persisted in the post-civil rights era? Northwestern University Associate Professor of African American Studies Dr. Barnor Hesse discussed these questions and more this week in a Northwestern Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar on “White Sovereignty and The Law of Racial Rule.” Hesse highlighted some of the reasons why liberal democracies are the sites and sources of continuous racial injustices, inequalities, and disparities, despite claims to liberty and equality as universal ideas and practices.

Future of Higher Ed: Impactful Global Action Starts on the Local Level

October 7, 2020
Held online through Zoom, the first virtual Convening of Presidential Delegates from the U7+ Alliance of World Universities attracted more than 100 senior officials and faculty from 33 universities across 13 countries for two days of discussion on the role and future of higher education and how universities can operate as global actors and help solve global challenges.


Northwestern Hosts Inaugural U7+ Worldwide Student Forum

August 18, 2020
This summer, 85 students from 22 universities in 12 countries convened virtually to address one big question: How should universities best prepare students for life after graduation in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic and global and local events since its onset? The students participated in the inaugural U7+ Worldwide Student Forum, which Northwestern University hosted as a precursor to this year’s U7+ Alliance of World Universities Summit.

Student Spotlight: An Interview with Maria Beatriz Rocha

August 12, 2020
This past July, Northwestern Buffett sat down with undergrad Maria Beatriz Rocha (Weinberg, ’22) to discuss her experiences navigating the coronavirus pandemic as an international student. In our discussion Maria recounts her experiences adjusting to online classes; her journey back home to Portugal; her involvement in planning the first virtual iteration of International Student Orientation; and coping with the uncertainty of returning to the US in the fall. Read the full interview here.


Aghia Sophia and a Reckoning with History

July 27, 2020 – from Platform
Article written by the Buffett Institute's Keyman Program Director İpek Kocaömer Yosmaoğlu on the history linked to Aghia Sophia’s recent reconversion, current implications in Turkey and U.S. parallels is now available on Platform.

Update for International Students on U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Directive

July 15, 2020
The U.S. government is withdrawing the directive that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on July 6, which would have prohibited international students in the U.S. from taking a fully online/remote course load during the Fall 2020 term while remaining in F-1 status. Following legal challenges from Northwestern University and from higher education institutions and states nationwide, a federal judge announced today that ICE will rescind the directive.

International Students Continue To Pursue Passions Amidst Pandemic

July 7, 2020
As coronavirus cases began escalating months ago, the University moved to remote learning and took other measures as the U.S restricted travel overseas in addition to the state issued stay-at-home order. Whether at Northwestern or on the other side of the world, resilient international students—such as incoming junior Maria Beatriz Rocha who is studying neuroscience and global health—adapted to the new normal and continue to forge ahead.


Prisons: A Petri Dish for COVID-19

June 30, 2020
Northwestern University professor and Prison Education Program (NPEP) Director Dr. Jennifer Lackey and Uptown People’s Law Center Executive Director Alan Mills joined the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs for a discussion on COVID-19 contagion in U.S. prisons and what measures could help curtail it.  They were joined by NPEP student Antonio McDowell, who was recently released from Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center and shared his firsthand account of serving time there amidst COVID-19. Here are three key takeaways:

Pandemics and Primary Health Care Resilience: Why This Matters Now and in the Future

June 25, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the delivery of routine and emergency medical care around the world. Primary care systems that often serve as a first point of medical contact are stretched and stressed, making the delivery of comprehensive and coordinated care a challenge. Here are three key takeaways from this week's webinar.

Northwestern Buffett Perspective on Discrimination and Injustice

June 18, 2020
We know that we have much to learn, and much work to do. In the days and weeks to come, we will be thinking through and mapping out our next steps and actions all of us at Northwestern Buffett can take to contribute to combating discrimination and injustice in all of its forms. We are committed to doing this work to bring about change in a spirit of collaboration with colleagues across Northwestern and around the world and we invite your partnership.

The Great Unraveling? Media, Geopolitics and the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 16, 2020
What do new physical boundaries mean for our understanding of identity and geopolitics? How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect U.S. global influence? What rival media narratives are emerging amid COVID-19? Global media authority and incoming Northwestern University-Qatar dean Dr. Marwan Kraidy joined the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs this week for a “tour d’horizon” of the repercussions of COVID-19 on media and geopolitics. Here are four key takeaways from the discussion.

Surveying the Social and Cultural Impacts of COVID-19

June 9, 2020
Northwestern University assistant professor of sociology Dr. Beth Redbird and Kyiv School of Economics assistant professor Dr. Tymofiy Brik joined the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs this week for a webinar addressing these questions and more, drawing on large-scale surveys of citizens in the United States and the Ukraine. Here are five takeaways:

COVID-19, Education and Inequality: Reimagining Justice in Uncertain Times

June 4, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised urgent questions not only about access to education, but also about education’s deeper purposes, challenges and possibilities. In a Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar this week, Dr. Sally Nuamah and Dr. Shirin Vossoughi provided a critical analysis of current educational discourse, policy and practice, drawing on their scholarly perspectives and experiences as educators. Here are four key takeaways:


Northwestern Buffett Convenes Faculty to Discuss the Role and Future of Global Universities

May 28, 2020
On May 1, members of the Northwestern Buffett Global Council and Faculty Advisory Council convened to reflect on and discuss critical questions facing university leaders worldwide: How will the impact of global universities shift because of the COVID-19 crisis? What should be universities’ global impact in the aftermath of the crisis? How can universities continue and even amplify their commitment to global learning, research and engagement?

Rapid-Fire Idea Dialogues Catalyze Work to Combat COVID-19

May 28, 2020
Novel approaches to addressing COVID-19 aren't coming from one field or institution, one world leader or one small group of heroes; they're bubbling to the surface out of collaborations among experts thinking and working together across disciplines, sectors and geographies. We're already seeing this manifest in the form of new collaborations among Northwestern and other university researchers, industry and policy leaders. Here are a few examples stemming from rapid-fire Idea Dialogues Northwestern Buffett hosted this month on different dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Viral Misinformation: Navigating Coronavirus “News” on Social Media

May 27, 2020
The power of social media is in its speed and sprawl – but what do we know about social media use amidst a global pandemic? What happens when misinformation – from the 5G conspiracy to the Plandemic documentary – goes viral? How is misinformation about COVID-19 distinct from other forms of misinformation and how can we combat it?

Samanvi Kanugula Shows How GlobeMed Is More Than Your Average Club

May 26, 2020
When Samanvi Kanugula (Weinberg ’22) applied to join GlobeMed her freshman year, she had no idea how deeply the organization would influence her life. GlobeMed is a student organization founded at Northwestern University that is dedicated to global health equity. The group has weekly meetings to discuss international social justice issues, with a focus on sustainable grassroots solutions. And then they get to work.

Virulent Hate: Violent Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 21, 2020
The panel included Lauren Stokes (Assistant Professor of History, Northwestern); Ray San Diego (Visiting Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, Northwestern), Melissa Borja (Assistant Professor of American Culture, University of Michigan); Britta Ohm (Associate Researcher, Institute of Social Anthropology, Bern University), and Ariel Schwartz (Associate Director of Research, Northwestern Buffett).

Wilder Than the Weather: The Limitations of Predicting Pandemics

May 13, 2020
Northwestern professor of chemical and biological engineering Luis A. Nunes Amaral, joined by colleagues Marta Sales-Pardo, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Roger Guimera, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies professor, both from Rovira i Virgili University, discussed the limits of models that predict the spread of pandemics, and what's needed to make them stronger during a recent Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar.

The Power of Human: Disengagement and Engagement with Humanity Amid COVID-19

May 8, 2020
In recent decades, we’ve witnessed a global seismic shift away from collectivism and toward individualism. Humans increasingly feel disengaged and distrustful of those around them due, in part, to the rise of automation, political polarization, stratification, and marketization. This trend has undoubtedly influenced our response to COVID-19 and will likely have serious implications for the nature of human relationships well after the pandemic ends. Drawing on his recent book, “The Power of Human: How our shared humanity can help us create a better world,” social psychologist and Northwestern Kellogg School of Management professor Dr. Adam Waytz joined the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs this week for a discussion on dehumanization trends and what they mean for our future.


COVID-19 Threatens Lifelines, Aid to Already Vulnerable Communities

April 30, 2020
Government restrictions on movement and economic activities in response to COVID-19 have disrupted many small businesses, especially those of already vulnerable populations like the displaced Syrian and Iraqi refugee communities in Lebanon and neighboring countries. How does the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbate existing challenges for refugees and create new ones? What are the prospects for a return to financial self-sufficiency for individuals in war-torn countries and already vulnerable communities? Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law professor Juliet Sorensen and Near East Foundation President Dr. Charles Benjamin joined a Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs webinar this week for a discussion on these questions and more.

COVID-19 and the Chance to Break Out of Our Academic Bubbles

April 29, 2020 – from Inside Higher Ed
Now, more than ever, we must use digital technology to break down the boundaries, borders and barriers that prevent us from collectively addressing our greatest global challenges, argues Annelise Riles.

Considering the role of a university in the face of a global challenge

April 23, 2020 – from Northwestern Now
Annelise Riles is executive director of the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern and associate provost for global affairs. She is also a professor of law and anthropology. In this Q&A, she explains that universities like Northwestern are in prime position to lead in times of global crisis because they nurture collaborative solutions and garner broad, widespread public trust.

Lessons we can—and can’t—apply from HIV/AIDS to COVID-19

April 23, 2020
Countless headlines of late have compared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to HIV/AIDS. When are these comparisons useful and when are they misleading? And what can both pandemics teach us about marginalized populations and racism? Northwestern Medill School of Journalism professor Dr. Steven Thrasher joined a Northwestern Buffett Institute on Global Affairs webinar this week for a discussion on these questions and more.

How to persuade people to stay home: A century of social science research offers clues on human behavior

April 16, 2020
With social distancing and shelter-in-place mandates in effect worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is necessitating large-scale behavior change and taking a significant psychological toll. How can leaders and the media promote cooperative behavior? What kind of messages work best? Northwestern University professor of political science Dr. Jamie Druckman and University of Cambridge social psychology professor Dr. Sander van der Linden addressed these questions and more in a Northwestern Buffett webinar this week, drawing on a century of social science research that sheds light on how to better align human behavior with public health officials’ recommendations.

Northwestern computer scientist and logistics expert discuss moving vital supplies to the front lines of the fight against COVID-19

April 9, 2020
With the U.S. stockpile of medical supplies for combating COVID-19 nearly depleted, a clogged global supply chain, and a "Wild West-style” online marketplace rife with hoarders and price gougers, what can be done to get medical supplies to health care workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19? Northwestern University Transportation Center Director and multimodal transportation systems expert, Dr. Hani Mahmassani, and Northwestern professor of computer science, Dr. Kris Hammond, addressed these questions and more during a Northwestern Buffett webinar this week.
Visualizing a World of COVID-19

Visualizing a World of COVID-19 Uncertainty

April 2, 2020
A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. But it’s what a picture fails to say that can make it dangerous, especially in times of uncertainty. This week, the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs welcomed Northwestern computer science and journalism professor, Dr. Jessica Hullman, and University of Michigan information professor, Dr. Matthew Kay, for a discussion about popular visualizations of COVID-19 circulating through the mainstream media and how they can be misinterpreted. Here are five key takeaways from the discussion:


Northwestern Buffett hosts transnational dialogue on COVID-19 with cultural and medical anthropologist, Adia Benton

March 18, 2020
Northwestern University researcher Adia Benton discussed topics central to the COVID-19 pandemic in a webinar hosted this week by Northwestern’s Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs. The webinar raised provocative questions related to what is and isn’t known about COVID-19 and its transmission dynamics, as well as the implications of the response to COVID-19 for various forms of governance and our global society, writ large.


Decorated U.S. Diplomat William Burns Speaks at Buffett Institute

February 28, 2020
U.S. Ambassador William J. Burns, author of the national bestseller “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for its Renewal,” visited Northwestern’s Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs on February 25 for a discussion with Northwestern Buffett Executive Director Annelise Riles on how his experiences in public diplomacy can inform debates on contemporary policy challenges.

Learning About “Cultural Logistics”: A Q&A Session with Dr. Anthony Fung

February 26, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fung served as the Roberta Buffett Visiting Professor of International Studies at Northwestern University during the Winter 2020 quarter. Dr. Fung is a Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Journalism and Communications. His research focuses on cultural studies and global media, as well as pop culture in China and Hong Kong and, on February 26, Dr. Fung gave a lecture at Northwestern Buffett on “Culture as Logistics: Infrastructure, Power, and China.”

Global Working Group Spotlight: Gender Justice and Digital Life

February 10, 2020
The Gender Justice group challenges the normalization of gender-based violence and inequalities, apathy and inertia around gender justice, but especially in the digital realm. In an environment where technology and data are privately owned, neither individuals nor companies are held legally accountable for gender discrimination. The group strives to contribute to an increased awareness about gender abuse online, and create a future community centered around gender-equitable technology and practices.
Annelise Riles Executive Director; Associate Provost for Global Affairs; Professor of Law and Anthropology

A Message from the Executive Director

February 10, 2020
Over 200 faculty, staff, students and alumni representing all of Northwestern’s schools have joined the Northwestern Global Strategic Planning process. In these meetings we have discussed the barriers to globalization — we all know that there are plenty of hurdles to jump. But together we challenged ourselves to think bigger, to imagine what would be possible if all of us pulled together in order to make a difference at this university and around the world.
Anthony Fung

An Interview with Buffett Visiting Professor Anthony Fung

February 10, 2020
Buffett Visiting Professor Anthony Fung is a Professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also Director of the Global Studies Program and Co-Director of Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies. His research interests focus on popular culture, cultural/creative industries and policy, and youth and cultural studies.


Northwestern University Announced as Host of 2020 U7+ Global Summit

January 28, 2020
President Schapiro announced today that Northwestern University has been selected to host the 2nd annual U7+ Global Summit. On June 2-3, 2020, our Evanston campus will have the honor of hosting more than 100 presidents and other top leaders from more than 50 universities worldwide.