Exploring Opportunities for Global Engagement Within Local Communities

As technology and globalization continue to connect people all around the world, opportunities to connect with people of different backgrounds and cultures have become much more accessible. It is no longer necessary to go abroad to have a global experience. Global engagement can occur at “home” by connecting students, faculty, and staff with the diverse people, groups, businesses, and events within their local communities. What partnerships can be developed by faculty and staff with local businesses and leaders to advance global diversity, equity, and inclusion? How can technology be leveraged to connect students from around the world to learn from one another and foster deeper connections? Are there ways to connect the benefits of global education to opportunities to serve one’s local community? How can understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion within one’s local community assist in understanding those topics within the wider global community? In what ways can engaging with the global community at home be a stepping stone to pursuing a global engagement opportunity abroad in the future?



A special thank-you to members of the Diversity Abroad consortium for supporting thought leadership at the intersection of global education and diversity, equity, and inclusion.


If my work in diversity, equity, and inclusion has taught me anything, it is that we must go beyond the idea of “normalcy.” Many implicit bias trainings center critical reflection of our internalized construct of “normal.” Whether that’s unconsciously assigning a generalized archetype of a student studying abroad or an employee impacted by a policy, ascribing to the idea that there can be a “normal” student, colleague, friend, etc. implies the existence and exclusion of one that is “abnormal” or “other.” Part of our work toward a more equitable future is to disrupt the notion that there can be a normal when discussing people, our identities, and our lived experiences. Therefore, as our doors reopen, let’s extend this skepticism of the word and take pause before determining that “back to normal” is the goal. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we cannot go back to normal. It is becoming increasingly acknowledged that based on our identities, we may experience the same cities and even neighborhoods with entirely different realities, requiring us to understand the different lived experiences of our neighbors. There is heightened awareness of issues within public health and the fragility of public infrastructure, offering opportunities for increased awareness of and empathy for conditions of others that were previously overlooked and ignored. Now that we have spent the past year in these discussions, how do we keep this focus and center it in our creation of a “new normal” in global education?

The Summer issue of the Global Impact Exchange offers new visions for global education, moving beyond mobility and exploring opportunities for global engagement within local communities. Colleagues from the field provide insights, best practices, and frameworks for what constitutes global engagement. What does it mean to have global engagement at home? How can we connect with people of different backgrounds and cultures “at home”?

Several articles explore how and why global education can and should interact with one’s local community. Continuing to center issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, this issue also grapples with the potential benefits and dangers of technology as a tool for global engagement opportunities. For example, as virtual programs and hybrid models are brought into our new normal, how might these formats increase opportunities for certain populations, and conversely, what inequities are we at risk of creating and reproducing when leveraging technology as a tool for global engagement?

We hope these articles help and inspire you to continue to disrupt our constructs of normal in imagining this new normal, and we look forward to continuing this discussion online or in person in Atlanta in October at Global Inclusion 2021— the annual Diversity Abroad conference.

We look forward to your engagement with this edition of the Global Impact Exchange and want to hear your thoughts. Please share your reflections and ideas with us on LinkedIn @diversityabroad and [email protected]. Diversity Abroad members are invited to join the conversation on the online community forums.


Editorial Board

The main task of the Editorial Advisory Board is to review article submissions for the Diversity Abroad Quarterly publication. While not a peer-reviewed academic journal, the Diversity Abroad Quarterly publication compiles articles to advance domestic and international conversations around diversity, inclusion, and equity in global education with respect to the thematic focus identified each quarter.

  • Shakeer A. Abdullah, PhD | Vice President of Affairs, Clayton State University
  • Shannon P. Marques, PhD | Dean of Undergraduate Global Engagement, Columbia University
  • Vivian-Lee Nyitray, PhD | Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director, University of California Education Abroad Program
  • Paloma Rodriguez | Director, Office of Global Learning, University of Florida


Table of Contents

  • Going Global Without Going Abroad
  • Back to Basics in Education Abroad: A Case for Language & Culture Programs
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals as a Bridge Between Global Learning and Local Action
  • Approaching Virtual Exchange from an Equity Lens
  • Seeking Global Equity and Engagement in Community with Our Newest Neighbors
  • COVID-19: A Catalyst for Rethinking Global Engagement
  • Global Student Projects as a Catalyst for Social Engagement: Findings from a Brazilian-American Coll
  • Transatlantic Virtual Exchange and Collaboration: Examining Diversity
  • 'Connecting Globally while Grounded at Home': The ASC Experience
  • How Necessity Creates Opportunity: Equalizing Transnational Higher Education
  • Developing a Globalized Localism Model and Practice for Social Justice


Note: To access the articles, you must be logged in as a licensed member user. Once logged in, the list of articles will appear below.

Global Impact Exchange | Summer 2021

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