“In the campus strategic plan, our university committed to redefining the role of public higher education and addressing societal grand challenges. Through the Vision 2030 Global Strategy, we have the opportunity to continue living up to that commitment, ambitiously and responsibly. Our diverse community continues to be our most valuable asset: the faculty members who will lead the research and teaching, the professionals who will support our engagement and operations, the undergraduate and graduate students who will explore and challenge the curriculum, the partners who will collaborate with us, and the alumni who will represent us around the globe. I call upon all members of our community to join us in boldly pursuing these priorities.” – Chancellor Robert J. Jones

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s first 150 years have been characterized by world-changing achievements, discoveries, and creations. Advancements in disability resources and education; the development of the fitness movement in the United States; the first computer-based education system; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); the first graphical web browser; and the foundational work on the quantum-well laser that led to the invention of LED lights have redefined industries and influenced scholarship. These innovations are just a few examples of how the university has contributed to society.

The university’s greatest contribution to society, however, is its students, faculty, and staff. Our alumni, faculty, and staff are Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, unparalleled leaders, pioneering scholars, and advocates for justice. It was through these individuals that the university’s global engagement began to thrive. As early as 1871, merely four years after the founding of the university, the first international students arrived on campus from Armenia and Canada. Students from Japan and Greece followed in 1872 and 1873, and the rest is history. The university now welcomes one of the largest international student populations among public institutions in the United States.

Our diverse population has created connections across borders and led to meaningful and collaborative partnerships with several top tier institutions around the world. This legacy of global engagement has facilitated new partnerships, connected faculty and researchers, encouraged domestic students to seek learning experiences abroad, and ultimately provided a solid foundation upon which to anchor the university’s global vision for the future.

Current challenges and emerging global trends represent a call to action for the university to develop its global initiatives in alignment with our core mission and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Over the next seven years, we will take action to expand and create comprehensive global learning, teaching, research and engagement opportunities for our students, faculty and staff. Specifically, the university must dedicate significant efforts and resources on the African continent, Latin America, and parts of Asia that are currently underrepresented in the universityʼs global profile. The Vision 2030 Global Strategy was developed with these considerations at the forefront and the expectation that our university will pursue engagements in those regions–ensuring that when enhancing its position, the university serves all.

The Illinois International Advisory Committee and campus leadership have spent several years developing the initial vision, seeking feedback from stakeholders and experts, and laying the groundwork for future collaborations – all while responding to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. I invite you to explore the Vision 2030 Global Strategy strategic priorities found on this website.

Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela, Ph.D.
Associate Chancellor and Vice Provost Global Affairs & Strategies
Professor: Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, College of Education
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

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