Global Readiness and International Programs

In fulfilling its mission in instruction, research and scholarship, and public service, the University of North Carolina recognizes the challenges of the rapidly changing, knowledge-based global economy and environment of the 21st century. With America's destiny increasingly being shaped by common global concerns and the interdependence of nations and peoples throughout the world, the University affirms its responsibility:

  • To provide its students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to become informed and productive citizens of the state, the nation, and the world, through interactive courses in language, culture and economics, through increased student exchange, through enhanced virtual experiences and study abroad.
  • To bring its educational, research and public service resources to bear in addressing current and future global concerns through faculty exchange, collaborative research and other means.
  • To bring in top students from throughout the world to learn here. Some students will stay and become key knowledge workers and entrepreneurs here; others will return to help their home countries and form future partnerships with North Carolina.

The UNC Board of Governors first adopted internationalization as a strategy in 2002. Its goal is to promote an international perspective throughout the University to prepare citizens to become leaders in a multi-ethnic and global society.

In December 2007, a major finding of the University of North Carolina Tomorrow Commission report confirmed that Global Readiness is vital to the future of the University and the state and recommended that UNC increase partnership, programs and preparedness of graduates to compete in the global economy.

The 2013 strategic plan for UNC, "Our Time, Our Future" encourages continued international engagement efforts, with a particular priority on further developing partnerships in China, India, Brazil, Mexico and in the continent of Africa.

UNC seeks funding to support this expanded work on a system level and through strategic investments in promising campus-based programs with the ability to scale.

Each campus has a unit dedicated to the development and support of international activities. UNC General Administration provides coordination and support for University international programs.

Contacts for further information about international programs

Campus International Websites

Other Program Websites

Study North Carolina
The Study North Carolina website was launched in the fall of 2011 to encourage international students considering college in the United States to "think North Carolina" and consider making this state its "education destination." Toward this end, UNC collaborates with private colleges and universities in the state, and North Carolina community colleges, expanding educational and cultural opportunities to students worldwide.

UNC Exchange Program
The UNC Exchange Program (UNC EP) was established by action of the Board of Governors in 1997. Through this program, UNC students can study at a number of international universities at a cost equal to that of an academic semester or year of study at a UNC campus. Presently UNC EP operates University-wide exchanges with UNC partner states or systems in Australia, Canada, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Mexico, and Uruguay and maintains consortial membership with the International Student Exchange Program.

UNC Center for International Understanding
Established in 1979, the Center for International Understanding (CIU) is a public service program of the University of North Carolina. CIU is committed to helping North Carolinians live and work effectively with people of all cultures. Its unique blend of global education includes short-term immersion programs abroad, coupled with study and training in North Carolina. The Center works primarily with policy leaders and educators, providing them with the experiences and tools necessary to guide their communities and the state through changes associated with an increasingly interdependent world.

The University Council on International Programs (UCIP)
Consists of Senior International Officers from each of the constituent UNC institutions, the Vice President for International Engagement, the International Programs Coordinator, and representatives from affiliated organizations that support international efforts. The Chair of the UCIP is appointed by the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, from among the Senior International Officers of the 17 campuses and serves with the approval from the campus Provost. The UCIP meets regularly to advance the international agenda across the University and encourage inter-institutional programs, outreach, and communication. The mission of UCIP is to advise the President, through the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, on international matters and on policies influencing the support and operation of international programs, and to coordinate the University's diverse international efforts to meet the growing needs for global readiness in international education, research, and service.

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