Dear Friends of the Mortara Center,
I hope that everyone in the Mortara community is safe and is doing as well as can be expected given the unprecedented disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite moving to a virtual learning environment, the Mortara Center has continued to promote and energize faculty and student research at the School of Foreign Service. Focusing on pressing global problems, the Center convened virtual working groups, organized speaker series, and supported deep student mentorship experiences through the Mortara Undergraduate Research Fellowship (MURFs) program and the Walsh Exchange.
For the 2020-2021 annual report, I would like to draw your attention to an exceptional program, which exemplifies the extraordinary work happening at Mortara and the School of Foreign Service.
The Center received a major grant from the Open Society Foundations’ Program on Economic Justice to spearhead a new effort to rethink our understanding of international political economy and the purpose of global market integration. The Global Political Economy Project (GPEP) seeks to prioritize outcomes over process; human values and prosperity over market liberalization. As part of this effort, the Center held a year-long speaker series addressing race and the international political economy. Speakers examined a wide range of topics from trade to colonialism to foreign direct investment and how race and racism intersects with these topics. Hundreds of participants attended these events and watched recordings of the series. At the same time, the Center hosted three pre-doctoral fellows working on various aspects of the GPEP mission. A highlight of the year was an academic meeting co-organized by the fellows examining how qualitative methods can be used to improve political economy research. Over the next several years the Center will push forward the GPEP agenda, as it helps to start a national conversation on how best to guarantee that globalization delivers for all Americans.
While we could not meet face-to-face in the conference room, we continued to support student and faculty research. We advanced our work through the Mortara Faculty Fellows. The program builds an interdisciplinary group of six faculty to help each other as they seek to publish work grappling with major world problems. In this multiyear effort, SFS faculty and students are working daily to help our country and the world grapple with these complex problems. The Walsh Exchange convened an amazing seminar, bringing together student researchers from across the globe. Our MURFs helped their faculty mentors to push forward their research programs. More than anything, the Mortara community worked to stay connected and safe during this extremely trying time.
In the coming year, we are thrilled to return to campus and the Mortara Building. We will be hosting a year-long speaker series dedicated to the national security implications of digital technology, welcoming a new cohort of GPEP fellows, and supporting our students and faculty in their research efforts. If you are near the Hilltop, please check out one of the lectures and see all of the amazing work that is happening at Mortara.
Director, Mortara Center