Where learning transcends borders.

Where research transforms societies.

Where dialogue bridges divides.

Where leaders become change-makers.

Where thinking meets doing

Columbia Global

Students from Columbia and Boğaziçi university at Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, with Professor Holger Klein

At Columbia Global, insight becomes impact.

Using the full weight of Columbia University — scholarship, expertise, resources — we tackle complex global problems and foster intellectual endeavors that inspire, surprise, and challenge.

How? By supporting trailblazing research and taking it to action. By developing the leaders that our tomorrow needs. By daring our scholars to explore the unknown.

This historical moment demands creativity, change, and wonder — everywhere and at all scales. We help make that happen.

At Columbia Global, conversations start, ideas are shared, and thinking meets doing.

What we do

Who we are

Columbia Global includesfour global initiativesat Columbia University. 

  • The Gateway
    Where the university and the world intersect, fostering innovation, understanding, and engagement in 11 global cities (and beyond).

  • The Action Lab
    Where thinkers and doers come together with partners to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

  • The Rethink Tank
    Where a community of distinguished faculty pushes boundaries, thinking beyond borders to tackle humanity’s most intractable problems.

  • The Creative Incubator
    Where scholars join forces with accomplished artists, writers, and creative thinkers to foster intellectual and creative discovery.

Our work

  • Surgeons in scrubs focused on a monitor during a medical procedure.

    Offering global experiential learning opportunities

    The problem

    Students in health professions face limited access to global opportunities, hindering their exposure to diverse health systems and care models.

    Our response

    A six-week practicum at health facilities for nursing students in India, Jordan, China, and Kenya to gain invaluable knowledge, clinical experience and skills.

    Who

    Columbia Global Centers, Columbia University School of Nursing

  • Addressing challenges with global thinking

    The problem

    The interconnected, ever-changing world requires scholars who embrace open-ended and diverse approaches to considering and tackling global challenges.

    Our response

    The Masters in Global Thought Program enables students to ask critical questions rather than offer prescriptive answers to global challenges, thinking across disciplines while receiving a foundation in global governance, political economy, and culture.

    Who

    The Committee on Global Thought

  • Creating an immersive global educational experience for students

    The problem

    An effective global education requires immersive experiences, and learning from local experts who encourage new thinking and learning.

    Our response

    Mentored internships, practicums, academic programs for undergraduate and graduate students, residencies, seminars, and workshops with distinguished Columbia and local faculty.

    Who

    Columbia Global Center Paris, Columbia College, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, French institutional partners

  • A diverse group of graduates in caps and gowns at a graduation ceremony.

    Bridging the gap for scholarship interrupted

    The problem

    More than 117 million people were forcibly displaced in 2023, among them early-career scholars in the humanities whose access to educational opportunities, resources, and networks is disrupted.

    Our response

    Support to displaced scholars to continue their work, strengthen their research skills, and expand their professional networks while based in their host country.

    Who

    Columbia Global Centers in Amman, Nairobi, and Santiago

  • Providing displaced students an opportunity to continue their studies

    The problem

    Students forcibly displaced from their home countries face significant challenges in pursuing their education, hindering their ability to rebuild their lives, pursue meaningful careers, and contribute to their communities.

    Our response

    The scholarship for displaced students offers a Columbia education, while embracing what such students offer to the Columbia community.

    Who

    Columbia Global, and the following schools at Columbia University: Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Arts; Arts and Sciences; Business; Climate; Engineering and Applied Science; International and Public Affairs; Journalism; Law; Professional Studies; Public Health; Social Work; Teachers College; Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

  • A diverse group of individuals sitting on the steps of a Columbia University building.

    Advancing the work of emerging social impact leaders

    The problem

    Emerging leaders require new knowledge, mentorship, networks, and resources to advance their efforts in addressing local, regional, and global challenges.

    Our response

    The Obama Foundation Scholars Program at Columbia University offers immersive education, mentorship, and skills-development opportunities to equip emerging leaders with the tools to accelerate their impact.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Obama Foundation

  • Nurturing the next generation of impact leaders

    The problem

    There are limited opportunities for undergraduate students to explore their interests in tackling complex societal challenges.

    Our response

    A year-long social impact fellowship for rising juniors and seniors that focuses on skills-building, site visits, and conversations with social impact leaders.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Columbia University, and Barnard College undergraduate students

  • Supporting women in leadership for social change

    The problem

    Women across the world face a dearth of executive and leadership training programs, reducing their ability to grow professionally and overcome gender discrimination.

    Our response

    Offer strategic training, workshops, networking, and mentorship to diverse women leaders from Brazil, which empowers them to address systemic social challenges in their communities.

    Who

    Columbia Global Center Rio de Janeiro

  • Supporting early career faculty to advance their scholarship and transform research into action

    The problem

    Early career faculty need access to training and resources to design and implement effective solutions that have the potential for societal impact.

    Our response

    Provide training, seed funding, and technical assistance over a two-year period to advance innovative ideas from faculty that can impact societies.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects

  • Dense green trees of Rio’s rainforest

    Addressing today’s climate crisis for tomorrow

    The problem

    The accelerating climate crisis poses an enormous threat to Brazil, impacting health, livelihoods, and economic growth, especially among vulnerable populations.

    Our response

    The Climate Hub at the Columbia Global Center Rio de Janeiro that works with civil society, public institutions, and the private sector in Brazil to deepen collaborative, climate-related initiatives, research, and dialogue.

    Who

    The Columbia Global Center Rio de Janeiro, Mayor's Office in Rio, public, private, and civil society institutions

  • Transforming indoor pollution to maintain health and well-being

    The problem

    Nearly three billion people around the world use traditional cookstoves and fuels, resulting in indoor pollution that causes an estimated four million preventable deaths per year.

    Our response

    The comprehensive, clean cooking technology project in Ghana uses behavioral and economic strategies to promote clean cooking practices, deploy clean technologies, and address infrastructure and regulatory barriers.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Kintampo Health Research Centre in Ghana, University of California, Santa Barbara, Clean Cooking Alliance

  • Adapting agriculture to climate today, for tomorrow

    The problem

    Climate variability threatens health, food security, and agricultural sustainability of communities around the world. There is an urgent need for state-of-the-art forecasts, timely and quality climate information, and decision-making tools.

    Our response

    Partnership with governments, non-governmental organizations, research institutions, and universities in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Senegal, and Vietnam to develop climate products and advisory systems that inform agricultural decisions.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Columbia Climate School’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society

  • Protecting climate-vulnerable communities in the Dominican Republic

    The problem

    Global climate change and extreme weather events have highlighted the urgent need to build community resilience and sustainability.

    Our response

    Develop a blueprint for a community resilience center to enable a vulnerable community in Santo Domingo to prepare for and respond to climate emergencies.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Mailman School of Public Health, the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, Office of the Mayor of Santo Domingo, and Universidad Iberoamericana

  •  A man and a young girl carefully tending to plants in a garden.

    Ensuring children have a thriving future

    The problem

    Children in Sierra Leone face significant health and educational challenges, leading to disproportionately high morbidity and mortality rates.

    Our response

    Develop and evaluate wraparound health services for children two to six years old and their families through a preschool-based health unit and teaching garden.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, ICAP, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Government of Sierra Leone

  • Focusing on policies to advance the health and well-being of postpartum women

    The problem

    In the U.S., one in three maternal deaths occurs within one year of delivery and more than half of these deaths are preventable.

    Our response

    Support a large-scale, multi-state survey on postpartum health designed and conducted to inform policy and reduce maternal mortality.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Cornell University, and health departments in New York State, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Utah

  • Understanding how debt contributes to societal inequality and political instability

    The problem

    Rising debt in contemporary societies leads to systemic failures, instability, growing inequality, and increased uncertainty for debtors.

    Our response

    Examine debt dependencies and interdependencies and how they shape economic inequality and political tensions within and between countries.

    Who

    The Committee on Global Thought

  • A sculpture of the head of Medusa in the Yerebatan Sarayi Cistern catacombs

    Preserving Istanbul’s history with digital mapping and access

    The problem

    Cultural and historical sites of significance in Istanbul lack a comprehensive digital platform for scholarly study and public access.

    Our reponse

    Create an open-access digital platform to showcase Istanbul's historical monuments and include high-resolution media, virtual tours, maps, with detailed descriptions.

    Who

    Columbia Global Center Istanbul, The Istanbul Research Institute, Archaeological Museum in Istanbul

  • Developing emergency response conservation for Middle East heritage

    The problem

    Regional conflict and disrupted training threaten the preservation of cultural heritage in the Middle East.

    Our response

    A series of regional workshops between U.S., European, and Australian museum specialists and conservators from Iraq, Libya, and Jordan to advance the learning on how to document and preserve collections, heritage architecture, and monuments.

    Who

    Columbia Global Center Amman, Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Uncovering the long-term impact of nuclear testing

    The problem

    There is little awareness and appreciation in the West of the enduring impacts of nuclear weapons testing in regions like French Polynesia and the Marshall Islands.

    Our response

    Engaging faculty and students in investigating the effects of nuclear weapons testing and their long-term consequences for affected people and ecosystems.

    Who

    Institute for Ideas and Imagination Fellow Emlyn Hughes, K=1 Project at the Center for Nuclear Studies

  • Two men use water testing equipment on a body of water in Alabama.

    Seeking wastewater solutions in rural Alabama

    The problem

    America’s water and wastewater infrastructure is aging. In some communities, it is either absent or failing.

    Our response

    Demonstrate a cost-effective, decentralized wastewater solution, with tools (e.g. needs mapping, models) to enable communities to design solutions, guide public funding distribution, and help improve national infrastructure.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Columbia School of Engineering, University of Alabama, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina, University of South Alabama, Black Belt Community Foundation, Consortium for Alabama Rural Water and Wastewater

  • Accessing energy data to advance economic progress

    The problem

    More than 800 million people worldwide do not have reliable access to electricity, which is a critical barrier to economic opportunity and food security.

    Our response

    A scalable, evidence-based model using satellite technology, field surveys, and consumer surveys to generate actionable data for new energy investments across Uganda.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Government of Uganda, United Nations Capital Development Fund

  • Balancing digital platforms and democratic integrity

    The problem

    A few large firms control the major technology platforms — limiting democratic discourse, healthy financial markets, the free flow of information, and meaningful social interactions.

    Our response

    An initiative to foster regulation of digital platforms through networks of policymakers, regulators, and researchers in the U.S., Europe, and the Global South.

    Who

    Columbia World Projects, Centre for Digital Governance at the Hertie School in Berlin, global stakeholders and institutions, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

  • Rethinking work, labor, and equity

    The problem

    Power, inequality, and uncertainty hinder effective collective labor action and the adaptation of labor movements, creating an uncertain future for labor movements in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    Our response

    Inquiry into the forces that shape labor markets and movements to inform policies and strategies to create more equitable and sustainable global labor practices.

    Who

    The Center for Political Economy at Columbia World Projects, global stakeholders in labor, government, education, and civil society

  • A photojournalist capturing a photo in an abandoned building

    Supporting a resilient global press

    The problem

    Journalists play a crucial role in the success of democracy worldwide by providing accurate information and accountability. However, many have limited access to resources or necessary technical training to fulfill this mandate.

    Our response

    Identify the knowledge and skills most relevant to journalists and provide information, training, networking, opportunities for dialogue, and a supportive community.

    Who

    Columbia Global Centers in Paris, Amman, Santiago, and Istanbul, Forbidden Stories, Le Monde, DART Center for Journalism and Trauma

  • Showcasing global writers to regional audiences

    The problem

    There are too few public-facing opportunities for international authors to share their perspectives and storytelling, and to engage in thoughtful dialogue around their work.

    Our response

    Host book talks in a variety of international settings around curated themes and select authors.

    Who

    Global Centers in Amman, Beijing, Istanbul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Santiago, and Tunis, the Institute for Ideas and Imagination, The American Library in Paris

Meet ourteam

Wafaa El-Sadr

Wafaa El-Sadr, MD, MPH, MPA

Executive Vice President, Columbia Global Director, ICAP at Columbia University Director, Columbia World Projects University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine Mathilde Krim-amfAR Chair of Global Health

Wafaa El-Sadr is executive vice president of Columbia Global and an expert in global health and infectious diseases with longstanding experience supporting diverse major health challenges around the world.

El-Sadr has focused her career on advancing public health knowledge and putting that knowledge into action, establishing collaborative partnerships to strengthen health systems, and engaging with communities to meet health threats and improve health outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations around the world.

She has led large-scale, innovative projects that have had decisive impacts on such pressing global health challenges as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, antimicrobial resistance, non-communicable diseases including cancer, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. El-Sadr received her medical degree from Cairo University, a master’s in public health from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and a master’s in public administration from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

She is a MacArthur fellow, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Council on Foreign Relations, the African Academy of Sciences, and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health. She has led numerous research studies and published widely.

The Forum at Columbia University during the day, black and white
The Forum at Columbia University

Seniormanagementteam

  • Gina Alvarado

    Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Director
    Columbia Global New York

  • Paige Arthur

    Global Program Director
    Columbia Global Centers
    New York

  • Tom Asher

    Director of Research and Engagement
    Columbia World Projects
    New York

  • Brunhilde Biebuyck

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Paris

  • Ann Bourns

    Project Management Director
    Columbia World Projects
    New York

  • Sarah Burger

    Senior Director of Development
    Columbia Global
    New York

  • Ipek Cem Taha

    Director

    Columbia Global Center
    Istanbul

  • Youssef Cherif

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Tunis

  • Cristiane Costa

    Chief Operating Officer
    Columbia Global
    New York

  • Marie d’Origny

    Paris Director
    Institute for Ideas and Imagination Paris

  • Lisa Dolberry Hancock

    Learning and Innovation Director
    Columbia World Projects
    New York

  • Stefanos Gandolfo

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Athens

  • JoAnn Garcia

    Finance Director
    Columbia Global
    New York

  • Ira Katznelson

    Deputy Director of Research and Engagement
    Columbia World Projects
    New York

  • Reinhold Martin

    Chair
    Committee on Global Thought New York

  • Mark Mazower

    Stavros Niarchos Foundation Director Institute for Ideas and Imagination Paris

  • Helena Na Xiao

    Deputy Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Beijing

  • Murugi Ndirangu

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Nairobi

  • Antonio Pagan

    Human Resources and Operations Director
    Columbia Global
    New York

  • Sala Patterson

    Senior Director of Communications Columbia Global New York

  • Hanya Salah

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Amman

  • Daniella Sarnoff

    Social Impact Director
    Columbia World Projects New York

  • Rachna Tahilyani

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Mumbai

  • Tom Trebat

    Director
    Columbia Global Center
    Rio de Janeiro

  • Peter Twyman

    Deputy Director of Projects
    Columbia World Projects
    New York

Columbia Global is whereconversations start,ideas are shared, andwhere thinking meets doing.

  • Global Centers
  • World Projects
  • Global Thought
  • Institute for Ideas & Imagination
Nursing students attend a lecture at Lusaka School of Nursing, as part of ICAP's NEPI initiative to enhance healthcare education in Zambia.

Thinking Doing

Columbia Global

Columbia Global

The Forum at Columbia University 605 West 125th Street, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10027

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