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Launched in fall 2009, the Global Research Institute (GRI) was envisioned at once as a center for scholarly research on key international questions and as a conduit through which generated knowledge can successfully be disseminated and applied to problems in the real world.

Bill Harrison (left) moderates a conversation with Larry Summers.

The GRI focuses on research areas in which the University already has significant strengths as a way both to advance knowledge in these areas and to help to attract world-renowned scholars to Chapel Hill.  Visiting distinguished scholars collaborate with UNC faculty members on targeted themes that rotate over time.  In addition to the first two themes: Globalization, the Economic Crisis, and the Future of North Carolina, and Making Scarce Water Work for All, other potential topics include corporate governance and global financial markets; immigration and migration; work and economic development; and global health and the environment.  The GRI supports and supplements the University’s research, teaching, and public service missions, as well as extends and renders more visible UNC’s position on the international stage. 
Located at the heart of Carolina’s international enterprise on the fourth floor of the FedEx Global Education Center, the GRI  offers various means of engagement and unique opportunities for exchanges between scholars of different generations, informal and formal teaching possibilities, and interaction within a wider university and public community through a major annual conference.

An Interview with Director Peter Coclanis: New Venture to Fuel Global Thought

The Inaugural Theme

During academic years 2010-11 and 2011-12, the inaugural theme of the GRI was “Globalization, the Economic Crisis, and the Future of North Carolina,” focusing on the future of the state of North Carolina, with a particular emphasis on the development of innovative new strategies for rebuilding and renewing the state’s economy.  Few states have been affected so profoundly by the current episode of globalization as has North Carolina, and the GRI is committed to helping the state to meet the economic and social challenges and to seize the opportunities associated with globalization, even as we turn our attention to other important topics.  UNC has considerable faculty expertise to bring to bear on such matters—economic development, migration and immigration, public health, and environmental studies are among the University’s strongest fields—and such expertise is spread all over campus.  Beginning in academic year 2010-2011, the GRI brought together a team of outstanding scholars and thought leaders from around the region, the nation, and the world to work (along with UNC faculty and students) on solutions to the serious economic and social problems the people of North Carolina currently face.