The Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies

The mission of the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies is to provide an intellectual and programmatic focus for the University’s activities in global, international, and area studies.  While the Center is administratively located in the Division of Social Sciences in the College of Letters and Sciences, the Center’s Executive Committee includes faculty from across UCSB’s Colleges and Schools.

The Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies was established in 2005 with a generous gift from Paul Orfalea and the Orfalea Family Foundation. The Center works closely with instructional and research units across campus, including the graduate program in global and international studies, and seeks to expand and enhance UCSB collaborations with partners around the world on research and policy questions of global scope, implications, and relevance.

The Center approaches its mission by recognizing three distinct types of learning which build toward the mutual benefits of true collaboration.  The first centers on “learning about,” whereby we obtain knowledge by focusing on similarities and differences, often stressing the “exotic” nature of things “foreign,” which represents only a preliminary step in confronting things global.  The second is “learning from,” a process of adopting, adapting and modifying existing knowledge based on discoveries made while investigating global phenomena, other cultures, or other approaches to knowledge. The third, “learning with,” is a primary goal of Orfalea Center collaborative activities with its global research partners. It is a process in which UCSB faculty and researchers confront global phenomena and global challenges to obtain and enhance theoretical knowledge or new modes of discovery by tapping the insights of collaborators from different cultural backgrounds with different epistemological lenses and different approaches to learning.

Anyone who has ever participated in collaborative global research projects or other global work knows the excitement of these interactions and the innovations that result from the meeting of different cultures. We hope that you will join us in these exciting collaborative research opportunities.