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Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

Keough School kicks off Global Affairs supplementary major with focus on addressing international issues

As Notre Dame strives to become a more globalized university, the Keough School of Global Affairs is officially launching its new Global Affairs supplementary major.

“We are the poster child of that mission. We have always had Notre Dame International, but we represent a real integrative approach to that idea that being a global citizen doesn’t mean going to France for a semester. It means addressing this on a consistent level throughout your career here,” Denise Ayo, the associate director of undergraduate programs at the Keough School of Global Affairs, said.

According to Ayo, the Global Affairs major aims to address contemporary global issues in an interdisciplinary manner. 

In order to emphasize the multidisciplinary nature of international issues, the Keough School decided to create a supplementary major, meaning that it must accompany another major.

“I think philosophically [the Keough School] believes that we want to help students globalize their education, and we think that it’s very important that this Global Affairs focus is seen as something to augment students’ primary majors,” Ayo said. “We see this as something that could be paired with anything.”

The Global Affairs curriculum consists of 10 courses and 30 credit hours — a greater amount than what is required by other supplementary majors, which usually consist of eight courses.

Students must take five core courses, including an introduction to global affairs course, a global politics course, a global cultures course and two economics courses.

The other remaining five courses are taken within the nine concentrations offered by the program — which include global Asia, transnational Europe, Irish studies, Latin American studies, African studies, peace studies, international development studies, global policy studies and human rights.

Moreover, students are expected to accomplish the two co-curricular requirements of proficiency in a second language and a six-week-long cross-cultural immersive experience, which can be achieved through study abroad, independent research or an internship.

Through this curriculum and requirements, Ayo said students would be able to develop and foster “a deep awareness of the world out there and a deep respect for other cultures, mindsets and perspectives.”

Joanna Oliveira, a junior majoring in International Economics and Global Affairs, echoed Ayo’s statement about the program’s goals. She said she has found that, through her classes, she is able to truly delve into international issues as well as provide an international perspective.

“I chose this major because you get to really see the application of the theoretical concepts into current affairs. Being Brazilian gives me more insight, as I have witnessed a lot of the systematic problems we discuss in class,” Oliveira said.

Adriana Bodewig, a freshman majoring in Economics and Global Affairs, said she was looking forward to her classes, especially because of the supplementary major’s focus on integral human development.

“I love the projects that you are able to carry out to help countries by working together with other nations,” Bodewig said. “I am very interested in studying about how countries are able to solve problems, because I feel that we can all learn about this, which is something that I find very important.”

Currently, over 40 students are enrolled or are in the process of enrolling in the Global Affairs supplementary major. According to Ayo, the program is receiving a lot of interest, which is something she attributes to the students’ understanding of the importance of having a globalized education.

“Students are smart and know that we can’t be myopic and ‘America first’, despite some of the rhetoric going on,” Ayo said. “It’s very important that students understand what is happening in the world and position themselves as global citizens.”