Undergraduate students will soon have a new opportunity to learn what a globalized 21st century may look like without leaving Ann Arbor.

Emphasizing a world in which cultural, racial, ethnic and religious differences increasingly impact politics and commerce, LSA administrators announced the introduction of a new living-learning community last week.

Based on the idea of promoting intercultural competency and informed discussion on global issues, the Global Scholars Program will bring together U.S. and international students in an interdisciplinary curriculum. A pilot program of the new opportunity will begin in fall 2009.

Kelly Maxwell, co-director of the Program on Intergroup Relations, said the new community is part of the University’s push for greater emphasis on the impact of globalization in the LSA curriculum.

“As the world opens up, and we have a greater need to identify with and understand people from all over the world, we want an emphasis that people would get that perspective,” she said.

She said the program was created with the mission of creating world citizens.

“I think President Obama this week in his inaugural address outlined a new relationship the U.S. is having with the world, should have with the world,” Maxwell said. “Global Scholars is coming at an opportune time.”

Unlike other living-learning communities, which only accept new students in their first-year, the Global Scholars Program will be open to sophomores, juniors or seniors in any major. It will be housed in the East Quadrangle Residence Hall.

“The requirement is enthusiasm for intercultural exchange,” Global Scholars Program Director Jennifer Yim said, adding that applications are still being accepted.

Lectures, dialogues, collaborative group projects and video teleconferencing will be used to enhance the experience. The program’s officials said that the technological component of the program would allow for interactions between people that once required studying abroad.

Students will also be encouraged to explore options to study, work or volunteer abroad.

The living component of the living-learning community is supposed to foster intercultural exchange.

“Students will be working in small groups together, going to lectures together, doing community service together,” Yim said. “Shared experiences are really powerful for growth and development.”

Linda Newman, interim director of University Housing, said in a press release that the Global Scholars Program, the University’s tenth residential learning program, would offer students a unique opportunity to expand their understanding of global issues.

Marjorie Horton, assistant dean of LSA, said the final details of the program are still being finalized.

“The long-term vision is an undergraduate program that provides intercultural exchanges, intergroup dialogues across ethnic, religious, and national identities, academic studies, and international experiences, leading to the transformation of students into global citizens and problem solvers, committed to mutual understanding, peaceful co-existence, social justice and positive change,” she said.

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