Happening Now

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Launching the Global Conversation

October 4, 2010

Global Conversation Trailer from The Global Conversation on Vimeo.



The Global Conversation is now officially launched – as an online media platform for Brown University students, student groups, faculty, and alums to share their international research and initiatives.

Over the summer, some 50 members of the Brown community began conversations about their global research and activism on a beta version of the site. They have been posting video, audio, and writings on subjects ranging from the plight of refugees to sports for development – from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe – building communities of interest around global problems and solutions.

The new site takes the Global Conversation to the next level, graphically spotlighting videos and other special features, with immediacy and connections across the site, across campus, and across the globe. It was unveiled on Sunday, October 3, at its new URL (http://globalconversation.org) and at A Better World by Design, a conference co-sponsored by Brown and the Rhode Island School of Design.

The Global Conversation is being developed by Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies under a grant from the AT&T Foundation and AT&T Corp.

To help launch the site, 11 AT&T New Media Fellows were selected to conduct research on a range of issues – from health, education, and poverty to politics and culture – in various world regions. The fellows have been blogging on the beta site and contributing audio and video feeds from the field. As the New Media Fellows began to share their ideas and discoveries, other summer fellows, faculty members, and alums quickly joined in.

With the launch of the new site, “We really want you to join the conversation if you're part of the Brown community. It's not hard to sign up and we want to hear all of your voices,” said Watson Institute Deputy Director Geoffrey S. Kirkman ’91.

Anyone with a brown.edu or alumni.brown.edu email address can start a conversation about a global issue on the Global Conversation. Video and other media is readily up-loadable once an account has been created on the site. Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds also facilitate following the site and its individual conversations, which can include comments from anyone, anywhere in the world.

“Brown is a vibrant place full of people who care about changing the world,” Kirkman said. “At any given time there are hundreds of students and dozens of faculty who are all around the world pursuing important projects that are grappling with big problems – whether health issues, environmental issues, or issues of poverty. The Global Conversation is helping to bring this to light.”

Here's How It Works

1. Set up an account (anyone with a brown.edu or alumni.brown.edu email address can do so)

2. Set up an author profile by filling in your First and Last name and adding your photo and something about yourself.

3. Set up a conversation (a blog), with a title and short summary of what it is about, and, ideally, an iconic image that captures its essence.

4. Post your first story. Here we would also encourage you to use photos, videos, and audio in addition to your text wherever possible.

5. Contact us if any of this does not seem to be working for you. We are a startup and will only improve with input from our community.