Dancers from Harvard College Deepam perform during the October 2017 International Student Festival during the inaugural Worldwide Week program. On Saturday, Oct. 12, Worldwide Week will close with “Raunak: An Adventure of a Lifetime” an intercollegiate South Asian dance show in Lowell Lecture Hall, including performances by Harvard Raaftar and Harvard College Bhangra.

Photo by J. Graham Pearsall

Campus & Community

Worldwide Week spotlights Harvard’s global presence

5 min read

More than 50 events will be hosted

On any given week, Harvard’s campus is host to lectures, exhibitions, and seminars highlighting research by faculty and students conducting their work around the globe. A network of international offices for Harvard Business School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and University interfaculty initiatives maintains Harvard’s presence beyond its geographical boundaries, extending its footprint to almost every continent. As we recently learned, Harvard research extends even to the frigid reach of the South Pole.

Worldwide Week at Harvard aims to shine a bright light on this international work.

Starting with its kickoff event Friday, Engaging the World: Harvard College International Opportunities Fair, and continuing through Oct. 12, Harvard Schools, departments, research centers, student organizations, and administrative offices will host more than 50 events showcasing the breadth and depth of Harvard’s global engagement. Worldwide Week, now in its third year, provides a chance for the entire University community to participate in conversations about Harvard’s work worldwide, and draws attention to the inherently international nature of the research and teaching enterprise today. Events this year consider multiple perspectives, diverse voices, and cross-discipline conversations.

This focus was inspired by the call to action included in the recommendations from the Report of the Presidential Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Incorporating these prompts was critical, according to Mark Elliott, vice provost for international affairs, because, “It was important for us to encourage our colleagues to keep in mind the [taskforce] recommendations as we celebrate the robust opportunities for international research and study presently available to our community at Harvard. As this year’s program comes together, we are thrilled to acknowledge and showcase those whose voices and perspectives are not always represented here at Harvard, or in academia more broadly.”

To advance this call to action, an information session hosted by the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging will be offered on Oct. 10, providing details about grant funding opportunities available to all members of the Harvard community through the Culture Lab Innovation Fund.

Harvard University Center for African Studies Director Emmanuel Akyeampong greets the crowd gathered for the All-Africa Fall Mixer. This year’s event takes place Oct. 9.

Photo courtesy of the Center for African Studies

Emmanuel Akyeampong greets the crowd

“The timing of this Worldwide Week event is ideal. Just days ago, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs handed down a decision that reaffirms the importance of diversity as a way to enrich the education of every student. At Harvard, we draw strength from the confluence of cultures on our campus. And, mindful of the kind of true excellence that can only come from diversity, we are working hard to ensure that our global community feels a strong sense of belonging at this institution. To that end, the Harvard Culture Lab Innovation Fund is looking to surface ideas that will strengthen our capacity to advance a University-wide culture of belonging,” said John Silvanus Wilson, senior adviser and strategist to the president of Harvard University.

This year’s Worldwide Week includes three events taking place internationally: On Tuesday in Mexico City, the Matos Lecture co-hosted by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and Harvard Divinity School in collaboration with the Moses Mesoamerican Archive will feature a lecture by Los Angeles County Museum of Art Deputy Director Diana Magaloni. The lecture will be live-streamed. On Oct. 10, Villa I Tatti in Florence, Italy, will host a lecture by Visiting Professor Patricia Falguières titled “Aristotle and the Duplicity of Nature: Proposals for an Ontological Turn of Art History.” In Tunis on Oct. 11 the Center for Middle Eastern Studies will host a talk by Harvard Graduate School of Design Professor Gareth Doherty titled “Paradoxes of Green: Color, Space, and Environmental Movement.”

Signature events for the week will continue to welcome, large enthusiastic crowds, including Monday’s Harvard Global Health Initiative symposium “15+ Years of PEPFAR”; Tuesday’s cross-discipline conversation “Future of Cities: Water,” featuring an introduction by Professor Sarah Whiting, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and Wednesday’s “International Comedy Night” featuring Cristela Alonzo, hosted by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Ban the Bomb image from exhibit

Through Oct. 8, the South Lobby of Wasserstein Hall showcases a photo exhibition that documents the impact of nuclear weapons and recent progress toward their elimination. “Campaigners outside the United Nations during negotiations of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, New York, March 31, 2017,” is among the images on display.

Photo by Claire Conboy ©

Sample events include:

  • Film screening: “Bending the Arc,” with a Q&A with Salmaan Keshavjee and Mercedes Becerra, Monday at 3:30 p.m.
  • Worldwide programming on WHRB 95.3 and streamed live online: Live recordings, exclusive interviews, and student performances.
  • Through Oct. 8, a photo exhibit at the Harvard Law School Wasserstein Campus Center examining the impact of nuclear weapons and progress toward their elimination.
  • Climate Change, the Environment, and Oral Health,” hosted by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Office of Global and Community Health, features speakers from the School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston College, Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
  • Destination World: Student Tales From Beyond the Comfort Zone,” Oct. 10 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Social events for students and alumni take place almost every day, including the All-Africa Mixer, Woodbridge Society Meet and Greet, Harvard Chan CultureFest, and Spanish Undergraduate Association’s Fall 2019 Welcome.

Most events are free and open to the public. Some require RSVP or registration in advance, as noted on the Worldwide Week calendar, which is searchable by day and type of program. For a full listing of events, and more information, visit