Mission Statement

The Duke University Center for International Studies (DUCIS) promotes internationalization across our campus and beyond. We accomplish this through curriculum innovation, instruction in new languages, expanding international holdings in the Duke Library, programs that explore global themes, bringing international visitors to Duke, travel support for graduate and undergraduate students’ research abroad, among other means.

DUCIS is housed within the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies, an innovative community of scholars committed to research, teaching and communicating across disciplinary and geographical borders.

What we do

We are among twelve federally funded National Resources Centers (NRC) in International Studies. As an NRC our mandate is to support development of the international studies curriculum, enhance the teaching and study of less-commonly-taught languages, fund library acquisitions, develop outreach efforts, and most broadly deepened our understanding of critical global issues.

In recent years, DUCIS has focused its efforts on a select number of themes: global health, globalization governance and development, global production of the arts, human rights, and regional powers. At the core of our efforts on such themes are non-credit University Seminars. The seminars bring together faculty and students with the goals of developing an intellectual community and supporting individual research and training. A seminar meets eight to twelve times a year, hosting outside presenters. Many of the recent seminars are now available on iTunes U.

Globalization, Governance and Democracy is the oldest of our on-going university seminars. Its focus is an exploration of the impact of global institutions on national political and economic life. The seminar is particularly concerned with issues of global equity and governmental transparency.

The decade-old Globalization and the Artist brings to campus speakers and performances with the goal of gathering together artists and faculty from other disciplines. Presenters in the series have included Nobel laureates such as Wole Soyinka and J.M. Coetzee as well as emerging artists.

Our interests in human rights are pervasive and shape our seminars on global health, global governance, and global arts. We work closely with Duke’s new Human Rights Center. Much of our library support has gone toward the acquisition of “grey” literature (ephemeral materials on human rights such as pamphlets, posters, and cheaply produced tracts) and we anticipate jointly organizing a summer institute for college faculty in summer 2009.

Support for teaching and studying critical languages is an essential task. We provide salary support for instruction in Persian, Polish, Romanian, Turkish and Wolof. We provide additional academic year and summer funding for students to study a wider range of critical languages including Arabic, Czech, Hungarian, and Russian.

An innovative part of our work began with a Ford Foundation grant in the mid-1990s. The funding permitted us to support graduate students in organizing and running their own non-credit seminars. The application process is competitive. Students must demonstrate that their seminar will deal with more than one world region and will have students from two or more disciplines. The topics for 2009-2010 are human rights, global health, environment and ethics. The sessions organized by the graduate students are opportunities to discuss and learn across disciplines.

We have a regular Diplomat-in-Residence from the U.S. Department of State and two to three international visitors who spend a year conducting research and sitting in on Duke classes. In 2005-2007 we were host to a Scholar-at-Risk.

One of our long-standing missions has been support for new regional and thematic initiatives. Many of the area centers at Duke began as committees within DUCIS. Our undergraduate major, International Comparative Studies, began, as a project of the Center. Currently we are host to the Concillium on Southern Africa, a university-wide initiative, and the Policy and Organizational Management Program, which offers training for international government officials. We house two national organizations: the Association of International Education Administrators and the Council of National Resource Centers.