Universities exist for a simple yet profound reason: to create new knowledge through research and discovery and to pass on knowledge to the next generation. It is also the duty of every university to prepare its students to become engaged and contributing citizens. In the 21st century, this task takes on new meaning.
The great compression of our world—a consequence of the spread of technology and information, the interdependence of economies, the transnational nature of major human challenges, and an increasing embrace of diversity—will only accelerate. We already see evidence of the emergence of a set of global "idea capitals," magnets for talents and creativity. To help you become citizens of this world, you will have one of the greatest opportunities available to an NYU undergraduate—the chance to pursue international study.
Just as NYU's founders chose in 1831 to move education out of the ivy tower to be "in and of the city," NYU is now "in and of the world" in a way that defines and exemplifies something that has not existed before: a global network university.
No university has a greater global presence. NYU leads all universities in students studying abroad; over 40 percent of our undergraduates now study abroad, and each year the number increases. In September 2010, NYU opened NYU Abu Dhabi, an audacious step in higher education: the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus to be operated abroad by a major American research university, offering a complete NYU education to undergraduates outside of New York City and from around the world and creating another "portal campus" to gain access to this dynamic, global network university.
In 2013, the first 300 students (half from China and half from the rest of the world) matriculated on NYU's newest degree-granting campus, in Shanghai. Students at NYU Shanghai have a unique opportunity to reflect upon the role that great cities play in human progress, and upon the interdependent relationship between China and the rest of the world.
Our newest international study center recently opened in Washington, DC--the 11th of our international academic centers, which also include Accra; Berlin; Buenos Aires; Florence; London; Madrid; Paris; Prague; Sydney; and Tel Aviv. Even our curriculum is changing to reflect both the desire and the need for our students not only to attain an education but also to become world citizens: two new globally oriented undergraduate majors are being offered this year as NYU more fully integrates international study into its academic programs.
Under the umbrella of Arts and Science, the Global Liberal Studies Program merges our premier liberal studies curriculum with experiential learning and an intensive intellectual experience abroad. The Business and Political Economy Program at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business combines course work in business, politics, and economics with integrated study at four global locations—New York, London, Shanghai, and Washington, DC.
This unequaled global network allows you to study with faculty and students around the world with an anchor in New York City, the first truly international city—a place where, for example, almost all countries of the world are represented in the public school system by their native speakers. We give you the chance to experience the world in miniature here in New York. And the next step is, of course, to make it possible for you to also experience the world firsthand. I invite you to consider not only how NYU's global network can serve you but also how the global network university can prepare you to be of service to the world.
We are actively reaching outside our comfort zones, confronting difference, and challenging our preconceptions of how the world should be. For example, NYU students enrolled for a semester of study in China are interns at global companies headquartered in Shanghai. In London and Prague, NYU students study acting and film-making with some of the great theater companies of Europe, and in Accra as part of their course work they learn as supervised teaching assistants in local middle schools. An NYU Paris student wrote a research paper on the history of African Americans in Paris and their experiences as expatriates in the French capital while an NYU Prague student interned at Human Rights Watch, gaining exposure to nonprofit management and research-based activism. Stern School of Business students volunteered their time and energy in Costa Rica during winter intersession as part of Stern International Volunteers, a program that complements the school's four-course, social impact sequence. Silver School of Social Work students regularly travel to Tanzania during their winter and summer breaks in order to work at the Tanzania Children's Rescue Center, a safe haven for children founded by an NYU undergraduate.
The examples of how our students work and learn globally are endless.