Global Connections Living and Learning Community

Students in desert with flags



أهلاً و سهلاً


The Global Connections living and learning community on the Mount Vernon Campus welcomes students who are passionate about exploring other cultures and sharing their own. This vibrant community will bring together domestic and international students to live with and learn from each other. In the fall, faculty will lead a special Global Connections seminar that will explore how cultures intersect in the global community. In the spring semester, students may choose to pursue independent, faculty-directed research on an appropriate global topic. Throughout the year, students in the Global Connections living and learning community will have ample opportunity to draw upon the wide array of resources and opportunities around GW and in the greater Washington, DC region.

This living and learning community is open to students of all majors and schools. 

2019-2020 Global Connections Academic Courses

Who Made World Trade?: Native People and Global Merchandise

Instructor: Dr. Carolyn Arena

The circulation of goods worldwide has connected peoples and created empires at least from the 1500s to the present. From silver and fur in the 16th century to oil and rubber in the 20th century, trade has connected peoples across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. This course will trace the routes of commerce and examine why those materials have been so desirable. How has trade brought people together? What has happened to the people who produced these goods and how have their lives been different from those who purchased and traded these materials? How has the world changed as a result of this market economy?

Dr. Carolyn Arena earned her Ph.D. in International and Global History from Columbia University. She has previously taught courses at Columbia, NYU, and Quinnipiac universities. She joins GW after completing a National Endowment for the Humanities postdoctoral fellowship at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at William & Mary. Her research on the enslavement of Native peoples of the Caribbean has also received funding through fellowships from Fulbright, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Smithsonian Institute.

A World at War: Geographies of Conflict in the 21st Century

Instructor: Dr. Ali Hamdan

War is often thought of as a force that tears places apart, but it also brings places together in complex, surprising ways. From the arms trade to the movement of refugees and the growing use of drones, conflict increasingly connects the globe. This seminar introduces students to some of the key issues behind how we talk about war in the 21st century. Discussion will address old and new theories about the causes and consequences of conflict, link to pressing issues like the migration crisis, gender dynamics, and the significance of borders, and give students a chance to tie these to ongoing case studies.

Dr. Ali Hamdan’s research explores the geographical dynamics of civil war in the Middle East, focusing on Syria and Lebanon. He has written on the conflict in Syria in several outlets including Geopolitics, Jadaliyya, the Middle East Institute, and the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP). Hamdan received a BA from Middlebury College and a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles.

About Living and Learning Communities on Mount Vernon Campus

The Mount Vernon Campus is home to a growing number of innovative living and learning communities for students who want to combine a small-college experience with the resources and opportunities available at a major university. Programs at Mount Vernon provide guided academic opportunities for students who want to collaborate with other students, faculty, and post-doctoral fellows on a variety of exciting cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary themes and projects, and who eventually want to chart their own path with individual research projects and other challenges. Mount Vernon also provides special programs for residents, from cultural events to special excursions around the greater Washington metro area.

Global Connections Faculty

Carolyn Arena

Dr. Carolyn Arena

Ali Hamdan

Dr. Ali Hamdan