Virginia Tech Global Perspectives Program

On May 23, 2016 the VAUZ has been given the opportunity to participate in the reception of the delegation of the Global Perspectives Program (GPP) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT). The program of sui generis was developed in 2005 by Prof. Dr. Karen P. DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education at Virginia Tech Graduate School in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. Already during the presentation of the UZH International Relations Office, the UZH Graduate Campus, our own VAUZ presentation and Prof. Dr. Philippe Gonon’s introduction to the Swiss Education System, it became not only clear that our American guests were highly motivated to learn more about the Zurich University, higher education in Switzerland and in Europe in general, but also that our University can benefit from this unique program, too.
The goal of the Global Perspectives Program (GPP) is to prepare graduate students to become the next generation of leaders inside and outside academia - that is, faculty members, scientists, educators, scholars, engineers, artists, and career professionals in an ever-evolving global context. Given the raising global challenges, this aim is of particular importance in higher education, both, in the USA and in Europe, but also on a worldwide scale.
Already during the reception at the University of Zurich it became obvious that it was possible to quickly create an inspiring learning environment in which both, the Virgina Tech delegation and the UZH hosts could benefit from the knowledge exchange on higher education topics. This fact was again confirmed in the seminar held in the Steger Center for International Scholarship, Virigina Tech’s European campus center in Riva San Vitale (TI), on May 31 and June 1, 2016, where a delegation of the University of Basel's Global Perspectives Programme (GPP) was present as well. The seminar’s focus was on the Agenda for the Modernisation of Europe’s Higher Education System. The European University Association's Response to the Consultation on the Revision of the EU’s Modernisation Agenda was studied and during the stimulating two-day workshop, three groups dedicatedly and vividly discussed on the relevance of learning and teaching, higher education institutions as strong regional innovators and mutually reinforcing education and research activities. The innovative findings of each group were presented in a concluding plenum.
The VAUZ is now pleased to enable the participation of a small UZH delegation at the Global Perspectives Conference hosted by Dr. Martin Dahinden, Swiss Embassador to the USA and former VAUZ President - from 1985-1986 - at the Embassy of Switzerland in Washington D.C. on June 17, 2016. The results of the Global Perspectives Program 2016 will be presented there.
In summa, the VAUZ would like to express its gratitude for having been invited to participate in this exceptional program and we wish the delegation in Washington all the best! This Global Perspectives education will for sure enhance graduate students' abilities as responsible global citizens - enriched by the acquired international experiences, they will be able to master many of the upcoming challenges with bravoura and make key contributions to the creation of new knowledge!

Christine Janine Wittlin