Interdisciplinary & Global Studies Division
Global Perspective Program

The Value of a Global Perspective

"We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace;
that our own well-being is dependent
on the well-being of other nations, far away.
We have learned that we must live as men,
not as ostriches, or as dogs in the manger.
We have learned to be citizens of the world,
members of the human community."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Once, geographic distance was a great barrier to the flow of commerce and ideas. Today, words, images, sounds, ideas, data and money flash from one corner of the globe to the other in seconds over the Internet and satellite links. Products are designed and brought to market by multinational teams. Even the smallest business finds itself competing in the highly competitive global marketplace. In this shrinking, interconnected world, one's vision must be broad, and one's perspective truly global.

WPI was one of the first technological universities to appreciate the need for students to be citizens of the world--to understand other cultures, and to be able to succeed no matter where their paths take them. More than 25 years ago, we added a global focus to our curriculum; in the mid-1980s we established the innovative Global Perspective Program, which is unrivaled, both in scope and in its power to help students learn about the world and their own potential. We send more engineering students to more nations than any other university, and we give them an experience no other school can match. WPI students go abroad not to sit in classrooms or haunt museums but to solve important problems for agencies, organizations and corporations around the world.

In Venice, for example, WPI student teams have, for over 10 years now, developed the most complete knowledge base ever compiled about the city, a tool that dozens of agencies and organizations are using to help preserve the city's environment and art treasures. A long series of projects in the Klong Toey slums of Bangkok have focused on the concerns and needs of the city's poorest residents. Students in Costa Rica have addressed a host of problems for national tourist organizations, multinational corporations and museums. Teams in Rotterdam have studied issues surrounding sewage treatment and the recycling of concrete and building materials.

No matter where they go or what they accomplish, WPI students find global project work eye-opening, confidence-building--and life-changing.

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Last modified: October 31, 2006 14:15:45