Bard envisions the liberal arts institution as the hub of a network, rather than a single, self-contained campus. Numerous institutes for special study are available on and off campus, connecting Bard students to the greater community.
The Center for Civic Engagement at Bard College embodies the fundamental belief that education and civil society are inextricably linked. In an age of information overload, it is more important than ever that citizens be educated and trained to think critically and be actively engaged with issues affecting public life.
Bard believes that institutional change must be global in its orientation and reach, and that the task of creating open societies is integrally bound up with education and the involvement of citizens at home and abroad. The College has a long history of global outreach and innovative international programming, and the Center for Civic Engagement has or shares oversight of many of these established programs even as it seeks to explore new opportunities and build new partnerships.
Well-established collaborative ventures show Bard’s commitment to engage in places that are undergoing significant social change and have demonstrated Bard’s interest in the democratic institutional reforms associated with liberal arts education. Partnerships include the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University (Smolny College), in St. Petersburg, Russia; American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences in East Jerusalem; and Bard College Berlin: A Liberal Arts University. For more information about these and other global initiatives, see “Bard Abroad.”
Institute for International Liberal Education (IILE) IILE was formed at Bard in 1998 and is now an integral part of the Center for Civic Engagement. Its mission is to advance the theory and practice of international liberal arts education. IILE manages the Program in International Education (PIE) and Bard English Summer Language Intensive (BESLI), as well as Bard’s commitment to the Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis and projects involving student mobility within Bard’s international network. PIE brings approximately 50 students from Bard’s international partner institutions to Annandale or the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program in New York City each year. BESLI brings a cohort of 25 to 30 Smolny College students to Bard each August for intensive training in English as a Second Language. Other student projects managed at IILE include an opportunity for biology majors from Al-Quds Bard to participate in Bard Summer Research Institute internships and a grant-funded student exchange between Al-Quds Bard and Bard College Berlin.
IILE is also home to Bard Abroad, which operates within the IILE as a unifying identity for all of Bard’s study abroad programs and activities. To learn more about the College’s international study opportunities, see “Bard Abroad” in this catalogue.
Student-led International Projects Many student-initiated—and student-staffed—projects are international in scope. Current TLS projects include educational empowerment programs for young people in Nicaragua and a sewing and sustainability project in Senegal. Other recent initiatives have taken undergraduate volunteers to Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the West Bank. Student-led projects have addressed global issues such as tuberculosis, leprosy, children’s rights, human trafficking, fair elections, and poverty.