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President’s Award for Global Learning 2024 Faculty Programs Selected

Nov 01, 2023

Four faculty teams at The University of Texas at Austin partnering with international universities and nonprofit organizations in Northern Ireland, Colombia, Mexico, Japan and Kenya have been selected to receive the 2023-2024  President’s Award for Global Learning.  

The projects address timely and critical global issues, including reconciliation and peacebuilding, disruptions in animal and human migration, water scarcity, and the application of Smart City technologies in response to climate change and natural disasters. Students who participate will engage in project-based teams with international partners and faculty mentors to research and propose solutions to these complex issues.   

A signature initiative of UT Austin’s International Board of Advisors, the President’s Award for Global Learning was created with the objective of invigorating international engagement between the University and the world, combining interdisciplinary faculty collaboration, transnational institutional partnerships, and cross-cultural work and research opportunities for students. 

To be considered for selection, teams of 2-3 faculty members from distinct disciplines conceive research or service projects that address challenges in a specific area of the world. Each proposal involves collaboration with an international partner in its designated region and supports the participation of 12-15 UT Austin students.  

After faculty proposals are accepted, students from various disciplines form teams and propose projects that operate within the established themes. Students whose projects are selected then enroll in courses taught by the faculty teams and international partners, also embarking on trips abroad to complete in-country work during the program.   

Selected faculty receive $5,000 per program to support student projects and class activities, in addition to an $11,000 honorarium for each faculty member. The award also includes fully funded travel for both faculty and students. 

Students interested in the President’s Award for Global Learning can attend an information session and must submit an application in PDF format to by 5 p.m. on November 27, 2023.

To date, the President’s Award for Global Learning has invested more than $3.5 million into this ambitious and transformative program, supporting 128 undergraduate students and 54 faculty members in projects engaging 16 countries. 

Please join us in congratulating the faculty recipients of the 2023-2024 President’s Award for Global Learning on their winning proposals: 

Northern Ireland 

Leading with Peace:  Lessons from Northern Ireland 

This project will engage students in history, social work, economics and other disciplines to better understand local, regional and national reconciliation processes, using the historical conflict of “the Troubles” in North Ireland as an example. Partnering with nonprofit Corrymeela, whose mission is to build trust and understanding among individuals, communities, power structures and statutory bodies in Northern Ireland and beyond, faculty will guide students to understand the pervasiveness, impact and barriers created by conflict and violence and the usefulness of peacemaking and restorative justice practices as future leaders. 

Faculty team members: 
Noël Busch-Armendariz, Ph.D., LMSW, MPA, University Presidential Professor, Steve Hicks School of Social Work and Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 
Bruce Kellison, Ph.D., Director of the Bureau of Business Research at the IC2 Institute, and co-director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 
Monica Martinez, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts  

International partner:  
Corrymeela, Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom  


Lives in Motion: Human and Animal Migration in Times of Environmental Change  

Disruption of animal migratory patterns, decline of itinerant farm workers and a growing number of displaced peoples worldwide pose a major challenge for the well-being of human societies and natural ecosystems. This team will explore migration from this wider perspective, focusing on Quindío, a region in the Colombian Coffee Axis, and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.  

Benefiting from faculty and partners’ work in Latin American studies, language pedagogy, visual arts and environmental studies, students will transform this learning experience abroad and effect greater global awareness through storytelling.  

Faculty team members
Adela Pineda, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts, and Director of The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Octavio Kano-Galván, Assistant Professor of Practice, Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations, Moody College of Communications 
Boris Corredor, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Instruction, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts

International partners
Ximena Londoño-Pava, founder and director of El Paraíso del Bambú y la Guadua, Montenegro, Colombia 
Isabel Ramírez Ramírez, Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in affiliation with Alternare, Michoacán, Mexico 


The Sustainable and Resilient Smart City in Japan 

This team is embarking on a research project focused on sustainable and disaster-resilient Smart City development in Japan, specifically the “Toyota Woven City” and Smart City Aizuwakamatsu. With an objective to gain insights into the innovative solutions implemented within these smart cities in Japan, the study will encompass three primary research areas: smart mobility, smart homes and robotics applications. By gaining insight into successful approaches employed in Japan, the team aims to explore and contribute to the future development of smart cities and communities in Austin and beyond. 

Faculty team members:  
Junfeng Jiao, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Architecture 
Ming Zhang, Ph.D., Professor and Program Director of Community and Regional Planning, School of Architecture 
Junko Hatanaka, MA, MS, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Department of Asian Studies, College of Liberal Arts 

International partner
Tokyo Metropolitan University, Tokyo, Japan 


Decentralized Desalination Using Renewable Energy 

This program will tackle the global challenge of water scarcity by harnessing solar power to desalinate water in rural and peri-urban communities in Kenya. Students will partner with Austin-based nonprofit Give Power and South Eastern Kenya University to implement decentralized desalination systems, while also examining the socioeconomic impacts of solar water farms. 

Faculty team members
Manish Kumar, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering 
Lucy Atkinson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Stan Richards School of Advertising, Moody College of Communication 
Patrick Bixler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs

International partner
South Eastern Kenya University, Kitui, Kenya

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