Soka University of America hosted a conference on Globalizing the Liberal Arts (GLA) on June 3-5, 2018 at their campus in Aliso Viejo, CA. The meeting was co-organized by leaders from Yale University, Pomona College, Carleton College, Middlebury College and Soka University of America. The meeting brought together a group of 80 academic leaders that included Presidents, Deans, Directors of Internationalization, and faculty from 44 liberal arts colleges and programs in 12 countries to engage in an intense working discussion about globalization of the liberal arts. The conference was attended by 14 Soka University faculty and staff, representing all of the SUA concentrations and international programs, as well as the SUA administration. International representatives from liberal arts programs in Japan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Denmark, India, Mexico, Netherlands and Switzerland made the conference a truly global conversation about the state of liberal arts.
Sharing case study examples through panel presentations, and engaging in-depth working group discussions, the participants explored the ways in which liberal arts can provide undergraduates with the capability to collaborate on complex problems that span diverse cultural perspectives. Thought leaders from across the country articulated how their campuses have implemented diverse models for globalized liberal arts, and the role of liberal arts in fostering global perspectives and critical thinking. From the meeting emerged a stronger awareness of the importance of liberal education to help students respond to urgent social, political and scientific challenges that are global in their scope. Details about the conference as well as presentation slides can be found at http://sites.soka.edu/GLA/.