Director's Message

Dear Students, Parents, Faculty, and Friends,

As the Director of the Program, I am really thrilled to be part of this exciting, globally-focused educational endeavor.

The Global Citizenship Program at Lehigh University was officially launched in the Fall of 2004 thanks to the hard work and the enlightened willpower of faculty and administrators at Lehigh University, who pursued a generous start-up grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since the grant’s phasing out, Lehigh University enthusiastically renewed its funding for this very successful program, which is now admitting over 20 new students and graduating about the same number each year.

You might be wondering, “What is global citizenship?” In the term “global citizenship,” both components are equally key. The element of citizenship emphasizes how important it is to exercise and cultivate the virtues of ethical responsibility and compassionate care towards one’s own community, that is, towards the fellow human beings with whom we happen to share our daily existence in this world. On the other hand, the global element reinforces the point that one of the defining marks of the 21st Century is the fact that our community of reference can no longer be too parochial and narrow-minded. On the contrary, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a mutual tie between the world’s local and global dimensions: we cannot act locally without more or less directly impacting the global arena, and we cannot afford to refrain from taking a global perspective even when we are making seemingly inconspicuous decisions that appear to affect merely our surrounding neighborhood.

The Global Citizenship Program at Lehigh University is particularly mindful of this complex knot of issues, and is aimed at helping selected like-minded students gain specific knowledge and experiences that they may not otherwise achieve in the course of more traditional curricula. It is a multi-disciplinary program spanning three undergraduate colleges, and relying on the expertise and wisdom of faculty belonging to more than 25 departments who share the same “global citizenship” mission. After a core freshman year that is very structured as it aims at laying the foundations of the program, students are invited to personalize their plans of study by selecting the courses that best meet their interests and curricular requirements. One of the most outstanding aspects of the program is the study abroad trip for sophomore students, which admittedly is one of the most transformative and long-lasting experiences for these young and curious minds. Students are then encouraged to participate in at least another study-abroad program between sophomore and senior years, as well as to keep their level of awareness and civic engagement high throughout their college career by getting involved in several extra-curricular activities.

Lehigh University is proud of supporting this innovative and integrated program, which has been enriching the education and the personal lives of many students so far, as well as the intellectual life of the campus at-large. I am looking forward to attracting more and more qualified students into this program, and to observing them go through this exciting process of becoming true citizens of the world.

Welcome to Lehigh University 's Global Citizenship Program.


Gisella Gisolo
Director, Global Citizenship Program
32 Sayre Hall, Coxe Hall
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Tel. +1 (610) 758-6650
Fax +1 (610) 758-5156