The mission of DUCIGS is to:

  • Support, engage, and connect researchers, students, departments, and schools to work on international issues

  • Promote interdisciplinary research and education to understand and engage with challenging global issues

  • Support and coordinate the activities of the area studies centers, councils, and initiatives

  • 1


Events Organized


Events Co-sponsored


Students Funded


Faculty Funded

Director's Letter


Dear Friends,

I must begin this letter with an expression of deep gratitude to our staff, faculty, students, donors, administration, and collaborators who contributed to a milestone year for DUCIGS and affiliated centers and initiatives under the most extreme circumstances.

This year’s report illustrates a season as rich in programming, research, partnerships, student and faculty support as in any pre-pandemic year. We couldn’t have achieved these results without the passion, the endurance, and the flexibility of our great team.

In 2020-21 we continued to promote discussion and research on global issues through a wide array of activities. We organized and co-sponsored 255 virtual events, facilitated the work of 11 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues, published 15 Global Working Papers to the Social Science Research Network, and created a new forum under our Rethinking Diplomacy series, the Analysis & Opinions column. This year we also welcomed our new Diplomat in Residence, George Sibley, and successfully hosted Ambassador Nicholas Burns as the keynote speaker of the bi-annual Duke University Biddle Lecture on International Studies. Among the global and regional perspectives addressed throughout the year: the impacts of COVID-19 on health, migration, supply chains, and foreign policy; racism and inequality; climate change and environmental issues; and the role of science in diplomacy.

Although our awards have been affected by travel restrictions, in 2020-2021 we still supported 80 student projects and 14 faculty projects. Our certificate programs also celebrated the resilience of students this year, with virtual graduation ceremonies held for the Master of Arts in East Asian Studies Program and the Certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

DUCIGS’ Centers and Initiatives also logged a remarkable year and continued to organize remote events and workshops. Just to name a few highlights (for the full range of our units’ programming, see the ‘Centers and Initiatives’ and ‘Signature Series’ sections below):

  • the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) successfully hosted an all-virtual edition of the classic North Carolina Latin American Film Festival (at its 35th edition)
  • the Asian Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) co-hosted a prestigious and widely attended “China Town Hall” organized by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, featuring American investor and hedge fund manager Ray Dalio; APSI also established and awarded the inaugural Troost Prize, an award that honors Dr. Kristina Troost, who headed the International and Area Studies Department at Duke University Libraries for 20 years
  • in Spring 2021, the Duke Islamic Studies Center (DISC) hosted “The Palgrave Handbook of Islam in Africa” book launch conference, virtually gathering authors from across the globe
  • also last Spring, the Duke Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC) hosted a series of events designed to promote rare manuscripts of the Duke Libraries collection, for the use of students, faculty, scholars, and the public
  • the Duke Brazil Initiative, in collaboration with Duke History Department, developed the virtual exhibit “Black Lives Matter Brazil-USA: A Global Fight for Breath,” thus reaffirming Duke’s renewed commitment to anti-racism, as articulated by President Price’s Juneteenth address last year
  • the Global Asia Initiative (GAI) organized a successful webinar on “Climate and History in Monsoon Asia,” moderated by GAI Director, Prof. Prasenjit Duara
  • the Africa Initiative co-sponsored the first webinar on water diplomacy, “Challenges in the Blue Nile Arena: Geopolitics, Displacements, and Instability,” featuring director of Africa programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace Susan Stigant and former U.S. Ambassador Alberto M. Fernandez
  • the Duke University Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies (CSEEES) produced an extremely successful, three-day-long, 2020 Virtual Summer Institute on Pedagogy, Diversity, and Equitable Teaching and Learning of Languages and Cultures; as well as the event: “The Limits and Possibilities of Linguistic Appropriation,” as part of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series.

Of special mention, over the course of last year the John Hope Franklin Center hosted the traditional Wednesdays at the Center series (now at its 15th year) with a special focus on the topics of racism and inequality. Labeled “Global Anti-Racism (Histories of Action)”, the series produced 17 events and featured scholars and guests from Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

2020-2021 has also been the year in which DUCIGS’ signature Rethinking Diplomacy Program (RDP) expanded the range and quality of its activities, while producing several events that drew the attention of a wide array of scholars, students, and officials from various countries. We hosted the current Mexican ambassador to the United States, as well as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico; our Rethinking Diplomacy team penned op-eds and letters for The Hill, Foreign Policy, and Science Magazine; and we partnered with the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations (UN75) team, producing events that amplified the UN Secretary-General’s report, “The Future We Want, the UN We Need” (in one of these webinars, we hosted the Deputy Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Joyce Msuya). Other RDP events focused on linkages between diplomacy and COVID-19 disruptions of global supply chains, world heritage, and environmental peacebuilding. And lastly, as part of an ongoing series on Science Diplomacy, we launched a new space diplomacy series.

This programming increased DUCIGS’ relevance, and this is also demonstrated by the growing number of partnerships within and outside Duke. At Duke, we renewed and consolidated collaborations with schools, departments, institutes, centers, programs, student services, and DKU. Outside Duke, of relevance is the new partnership with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN), where our Rethinking Diplomacy team joined forces with representatives of the early-career-scientist organization to advocate for a reform of the U.S. Foreign Policy structure that would significantly increase the presence of scientists in decision-making positions inside the State Department. We also established a dialogue with “The Future of Diplomacy Project” of Harvard University, collaborated with D.C.-based Meridian International Center, as well as with Venice International University (VIU), and other U.S. and international academic institutions, centers, and NGOs. For a complete list see the “Partners” section.

While we realize that the evolving public health situation might pose new challenges for the upcoming academic year, we are also confident that DUCIGS and its affiliated centers and initiatives are well poised for another great year of discovery, student and faculty engagement, and promotion of international topics at Duke and beyond.

Best Regards,

Giovanni Zanalda,
Director, Duke Center for International and Global Studies

Centers & Initiatives

Africa Initiative
Africa Initiative

2020-2021/ Africa/ Initiatives

Asian Pacific Studies Institute
Asian Pacific Studies Institute

2020-2021/ Asia/ Centers

Duke Islamic Studies Center
Duke Islamic Studies Center

2020-2021/ Asia/ Centers

Global Asia Initiative
Global Asia Initiative

2020-2021/ Asia/ Initiatives

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

2020-2021/ Centers/ North America/ South America

Duke Brazil Initiative
Duke Brazil Initiative

2020-2021/ Initiatives/ South America

Concilium on Southern Africa
Concilium on Southern Africa

2020-2021/ Africa/ Initiatives

Observatory on Europe
Observatory on Europe

2020-2021/ Centers/ Europe

John Hope Franklin Center
John Hope Franklin Center

2020-2021/ Centers


At DUCIGS and its affiliated centers and initiatives, we value our partnerships and over the course of 2020-2021, we have continued expanding our collaborations both at Duke and externally. Last spring, our Rethinking Diplomacy Program (RDP) started working with a group of leaders of the National Science Policy Network for events and policy analysis. In April, RDP took part in Meridian Diplomacy Forum’s DiplomacyRISE Strategy Session on Developing Contemporary Critical Issue Area Expertise, and in February 2021 we launched a series in collaboration with the UN75 initiative.

Signature Series

Global Political Perspectives

Seeking to foster leadership sensibilities beyond the U.S. political scene.

Rethinking Diplomacy

Rethinking Diplomacy

DUCIGS launched the Rethinking Diplomacy Program in January 2020, with the goal of broadening the definition of diplomacy in an increasingly globalized world.

Rethinking Development

Rethinking Development

A flagship program to feature speakers with exciting new approaches to development.

Biddle Lecture

Anthony J, Drexel Biddle, Jr. Lecture on International Studies

Due to COVID-19, DUCIGS hosted via Zoom the 2021 Biddle Lecture with speaker Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns.

Diplomats in Residence

Diplomats in Residence

Career Foreign Service Officers providing guidance and advice to students, professionals and the community.

Wednesdays at the Center


W@TC is a topical weekly series in which scholars, artists, journalists, and others speak informally about their work.

Notable Programs

‘A Time for Diplomacy’: 2021 Biddle Lecture with Ambassador Nicholas Burns.


On April 8, 2021, Nicholas Burns delivered the 2021 Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr. Lecture on International Studies.

Ambassador Burns was U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2005-2008) and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and Greece. He now teaches at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Duke’s Senior Advisor for Global Affairs and former US Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy introduced Ambassador Burns along with DUCIGS’ director, Dr. Giovanni Zanalda. Mary Duke Trent Jones greeted Ambassador Burns through pre-recorded remarks, where she reflected on the distinguished career of her grandfather, Ambassador Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr.

The Biddle Lecture is a bi-annual event organized by the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS) and established by Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, James H. Semans, and their family to honor Mrs. Semans’ father, Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr., a United States diplomat and an original signer of The Duke Endowment.


Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., Her Excellency Martha Bárcena Coqui, joined Duke professor and former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy, and DUCIGS director, Giovanni Zanalda, in a conversation about diplomacy and the state of the U.S./Mexico relationship.

Ambassador Bárcena was appointed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and ratified by the Mexican Senate on December 2018, becoming the first female Ambassador to hold this position. Ambassador Bárcena joined the Mexican Foreign Service in 1979. Prior to arriving in Washington, D.C., she was posted as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Rome-based Agencies. She has also served as Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, non-resident to Georgia and the Republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, non-resident to the Kingdom of Norway and the Republic of Iceland, and as Consul in Barcelona.

This was the first event of our “Conversation with the Ambassador Series.”

A Conversation with Her Excellency Martha Bárcena Coqui, Ambassador of Mexico to the USA

“Making Peace with Nature: A Global Endeavor We Can Achieve.” With Joyce Msuya.


On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations last year, the United Nations launched a global consultation that included a survey responded by 1.5 million people from 193 countries. Within the framework of Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS)’ Rethinking Diplomacy Program, the UN75 Webinar Series is dedicated to exploring the most relevant issues highlighted by the UN75 Global consultation report.

As the second event of the series, we welcomed Ms. Joyce Msuya, Deputy Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN Assistant Secretary-General, for a dialogue on the highest long-term priorities identified by the UN75 Report “Climate Change and Environmental Issues” and UNEP’s recently published blueprint report “Making Peace with Nature.”

The conversation was moderated by Dr. William Pan and Dr. Elizabeth Losos from Duke University.

The webinar was broadcasted on Zoom on April 8, 2021.


In August 2019, journalists Nadja Drost and Bruno Federico joined Caribbean, African and Asian migrants in their perilous trek through a 60 mile-wide swath of jungle straddling the Colombian-Panamanian border. Their reporting offered a rare insight into who migrates to the U.S. through this unusual and long migratory corridor via South America, as well as how and why they do.

In this webinar, we invited the two journalists for a conversation about their Pulitzer Center-supported report. The event was moderated by Piotr Plewa, Visiting Research Scholar at the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS).

Nadja Drost is a Canadian journalist based in New York City after a decade based in Bogotá, Colombia. She works in print, radio, and television, and regularly reports from Latin America as a Special Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.

Bruno Federico is an Italian filmmaker and cinematographer based in NYC, following a decade in Colombia. He regularly shoots for the PBS NewsHour and Foreign Correspondent. His coverage of Colombia’s peace process was recognized with a 2017 Overseas Press Club Award (with Nadja Drost).

The event was produced by the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS), and co-sponsored by Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), Duke Center for International Development (DCID), and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke (CDS).

“Crossing the Darien Gap With U.S.-bound Migrants”. With journalists Nadja Drost and Bruno Federico.

“The Young Lords: A Radical History.” With Johanna Fernández


In the fifth installment of Wednesdays at the Center 2020-2021, “Global Anti-Racism” series, we hosted author Johanna Fernández (associate professor of history at Baruch College of the City University of New York) presenting her new book: “The Young Lords: A Radical History,” published by UNC press.

“The Young Lords” is about a former gang of Puerto Rican youth that rose to become the Latino version of the Black Panthers. In America during the ’60s, they challenged the reputation of “bad hombres” attached to Latinos and joined their African-American counterparts in the struggle against white supremacy.

The conversation was moderated by Ayanna Legros (PhD Student in History, Duke University), with opening remarks by Prof. Cecilia Márquez (Assistant Professor of History, Duke University).

The event was organized by the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS), the Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), and the John Hope Franklin Center, as part of the ‘Wednesdays at the Center’ series. The Regulator Bookshop in Durham and the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University co-sponsored the event.


Former U.S. Ambassador W. Robert Pearson and astrophysicist, Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt spoke at a Duke University virtual event on June 24, 2021. The two fellows of the Duke Center for International Studies (DUCIGS)/Rethinking Diplomacy program were joined by astronomer Britt Lundgren (UNC Asheville), who moderated the webinar.

Schmitt and Pearson recently co-authored the article “The Crisis in Space”, published in the Foreign Policy magazine on May 15, 2021.

The webinar discussed the need for space diplomacy to regulate the proliferation of activities in space from governments and commercial enterprises. Space diplomacy should consider, among many issues, burgeoning space infrastructure and satellite internet service providers, space junk and launch risk scenarios, and deep space regulatory issues. How can the U.S. government learn from terrestrial treaties to chart a path forward in space diplomacy?

“The Crisis in Space: The Future of Space Diplomacy”. With W. Robert Pearson and Benjamin Schmitt.

... also notable

Analysis&Opinions_Rethinking Diplomacy_Duke Center for International & Global Studies

Rethinking Diplomacy Program: Analysis & Opinions column.


This year we launched the Rethinking Diplomacy Analysis & Opinions column, featuring analyses, policy briefs, and commentaries on the future of diplomacy in relation to science, technology, environment, health, space, energy, infrastructure, debt, trade, supply chains, and other disciplines/areas/topics of interest to the program.


We support global research, academic travel, and language learning opportunities through student and faculty awards.

DUCIGS and its affiliated centers and initiatives administer both student and faculty awards.
The student awards support undergraduate, graduate, and professional students while they conduct research abroad, learn a language, or travel for academic conferences. Our Faculty awards provide faculty with funding for conferences and research. Due to COVID restrictions and the limitations to travel, most of this year’s awards have been used for remote research, while some of the candidates have postponed their applications.
The above limitations notwithstanding, this year we awarded 80 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The students’ research spanned topics and disciplines including—to name a few—access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the Middle East; viral species in animals and workers in North Vietnam; and using satellite images to detect bycatch of marine mammals and sea turtles in tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean.
DUCIGS and affiliated units also awarded 14 faculty this year.

2020-2021 DUCIGS Award Breakdown

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate/Professional
  • Faculty

2021 Graduate Grant Recipients

Graduate Grant Recipients

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad

2020-2021 DDRA Fellows

Fulbright-Hays awarded two Duke graduate students DDRA fellowships in 2020-2021.

Undergraduate Grant Recipients


Master of Arts in East Asian Studies

Students in the Master of Arts in East Asian Studies program engage in the interdisciplinary study of China, Japan and/or Korea.
The Duke University Center for International & Global Studies (DUCIGS) invites proposals for Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues at the start of each academic year. DUCIGS provides funding for expenses related to meetings, such as  readings, audio-visual materials, and food. Groups are eligible to request additional support for special programming during the academic year, including workshops, symposia, mini-conferences, and publications.

2020-2021 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues

  • Black Sound & the Archive
  • Corruption in Developing Countries
  • Decolonizing Global Health in LMICs
  • Duke Environmental Journal
  • Global Perspectives on Artisanal & Small-Scale Gold Mining
  • Graduates Engineering & Researching Microbiomes (GERM)
  • Informed Choices for Equitable Development
  • Mammal Behavior and Conservation Group 
  • Moving Aesthetics of Empire
  • Ocean Policy
  • Slavery, War & Gender
To learn more about the working groups visit:

2020-2021 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues

Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues_Ducigs, 2020-2021
At the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS), we are actively engaged in publishing new research. The Duke Global Working Paper Series provides a space for scholars from across the disciplines to explore international topics. DUCIGS welcomes submissions from Duke experts and affiliated scholars.
Papers in this series are published to the Social Science Research Network as part of the Duke Global Working Paper Series. This series is edited by Giovanni Zanalda.

2020-2021 Global Working Papers

  • The More Choice, the Better? Evidence from Experimental Auctions in Rural Senegal
  • Estimating Chinese Bilateral Aid for Health: An Analysis of AidData’s Global Chinese Official Finance Dataset
  • Carbon Pricing and Household Welfare: Evidence from Uganda
  • Using MNE Foreign Affiliate Data to Estimate Foreign Direct Investment via Ultimate Investing Country: A New MethodologyDeveloped for USAID in Vietnam
  • Electrification to Grow Manufacturing? Evidence from Nepal
  • From Social to Digital Capital: Implications for Digital Democracy Research
  • Poverty in China as its Economy Nears High Income: Lessons From Japan, South Korea and the United Sates During Their Upper-Middle Income Transitions
  • Poverty Reduction in the United States During its Middle-Income Stage of Development
  • Japan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy During its Middle-Income Stage of Development
  • South Korea’s Poverty Reduction Strategy During its Middle-Income Stage of Development
  • Early Experiences of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM JAY) in India: A Narrative Review
  • Development Finance in Transition: Donor Dependency and Concentration in Kenya’s Health Sector
  • Making the Final Decade of the Sustainable Development Goals Count: An Analysis of Donors’ Subnational Approaches to Reaching the Poorest People
  • Transitioning from Health Aid: A Scoping Review of Transition Readiness Assessment Tools
  • Policy Approaches to Artificial Intelligence Based Technologies in China, European Union and the United States
Global Working Paper Series_Ducigs
Venice International University (VIU) is a prestigious and truly international consortium of 20 universities from around the world.  The consortium provides an extraordinary opportunity for students from leading international universities to learn from one another in a truly global environment. Duke University students, both undergraduate and graduate, are afforded special opportunities to study at VIU.  VIU offers the Globalization program, which is open to undergraduate students. VIU also offers a series of activities open to PhD and advanced graduate students.  Since Duke is a Member University, VIU provides financial support to Duke graduate students to cover international travel and accommodation costs for their participation in the International PhD Academy and Graduate Seminar programs.

Undergraduate Opportunities at VIU

  • Duke in Venice
    • Fall
    • Spring
    • Academic Year

Graduate Opportunities at VIU

  • VIU Winter/Summer/Autumn Schools
  • VIU International PhD Academy
  • VIU Graduate Seminars

Enter your keyword