You are here

Cornell faculty and leadership begin to tackle grand challenges

Organizer Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs, gives opening remarks at the two-day Global Grand Challenges Symposium

Cornell hosted the Global Grand Challenges Symposium on November 8 and 9. One of the goals of the symposium was to identify themes to be considered for Cornell’s Global Grand Challenge 2019-20, a yearlong dedication to a topic through new curricular, scholarly, and engaged work across campus. The Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs will announce the selected grand challenge early next year.

SEAP Director and linguistics professor, Abby Cohn, spoke at the symposium during the Einaudi Center's Area Studies panel. She opened with a quote, "Our focus should be place-based, not place-bound." Abby continued, speaking of Southeast Asia as central to our global understanding. With 650 million people, historical intersections of Eastern and Western ideologies, and a plethora of languages and culture, Southeast Asia is a living laboratory of global issues that cannot be ignored. As our planet warms, there is no region under greater, more immediate threat than Southeast Asia. According to Cohn, Jakarta is already 40% below sea level, emphasizing water as a global challenge. In addition, Indonesia specifically is home to 700 languages, which accounts for 10% of all languages around the world, and there is serious endangerment for language loss. At Cornell, we must engage in partnerships, teach these endangered languages, and help preserve indigenous cultures.

You can read the full Cornell Chronicle article about the symposium here