History of the Committee on Global Thought

The Committee on Global Thought was created in 2006 by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger to provide a forum for faculty and students to rethink and reconceptualize the ways in which the University confronts the challenges stemming from globalization. The establishment of CGT evolved from the recommendations of the Task Force on the University and Globalization, chaired by Bollinger, which drew from a wide membership from within the University.

Since its inception, membership of CGT has expanded from six founding members to over thirty, who are appointed by President Bollinger. Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz served as Chair from 2006 to 2010. Professor Saskia Sassen was named Co-chair with Professor Stiglitz in Fall 2010, and then served as Chair from 2013 to 2015. Professor Carol Gluck served as Committee Chair from 2015 to 2020. Professor Vishakha N. Desai was appointed Committee Chair in 2020. Members of the Committee come from diverse backgrounds, from finance to epidemiology to East Asian history, and draw from a diverse range of the University’s schools. Their collaboration as members of the CGT affirm the importance of drawing on multiple perspectives and methodological approaches for advancing the scholarly understanding of global issues.

The Planning and Budget Subcommittee was established soon after. Comprised of nine members, one Chair and the Director, the Planning and Budget Subcommittee is charged with coordinating and facilitating program and budgeting in order to foster the committee’s contribution to intellectual innovation, institutional contribution, and global impact.

Membership History

Stiglitz_shadowFounding Members – 2006

  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, University Professor, appointed Committee Chair
  • Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy
  • Partha Chatterjee, Professor of Anthropology and of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
  • Michael Doyle, Harold Brown Professor of International Affairs, Law and Political Science
  • Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History and of East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Katharina Pistor, Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law

Appointed 2007-2008

  • José Antonio Ocampo, Professor in the Professional Practice of International and Public Affairs
  • Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology

Appointed 2008-2009

  • Patrick Bolton, Barbara and David Zalaznick Professor of Business, Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School
  • John Coatsworth, Professor of History and International and Public Affairs, and University Provost
  • Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Family Professor of African Studies

Sassen_shadowAppointed 2010-2011

  • Richard G. Parker, Professor of Anthropology and Professor of Sociomedical Sciences
  • Sudhir Venkatesh, William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology
  • Saskia Sassen appointed Committee Co-chair

Appointed 2011-2012

  • Wafaa El-Sadr, University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine
  • Reinhold Martin, Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
  • Mark Mazower, Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies and Professor of History
  • Jan Svejnar, James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy, School of International and Public Affairs

Appointed 2012-2013

  • Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President, and Senior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Appointed 2014-2015

  • Carol Becker, Professor of the Arts; Dean of the School of Arts
  • Richard Bulliet, Professor of History
  • Deborah Coen, Professor of History, Barnard College
  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor and Chair of Department of French and Romance Philology
  • Mark Hansen, David and Helen Gurley Brown Professor of Journalism and Innovation; Director of the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute of Media Innovation
  • N. Turkuler Isiksel, Assistant Professor of Political Science
  • Brian Larkin, Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars, Barnard College
  • Amber Miller, Professor of Physics; Dean of Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Rosalind C. Morris, Professor of Anthropology
  • David K. Park, Dean of Strategic Initiatives, Arts & Sciences
  • Christina Duffy Ponsa, George Welwood Murray Professor of Legal History
  • Ursula Staudinger, Robert N. Butler Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Professor of Psychology; Director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center
  • Adam Tooze, Professor of History; Director of the European Institute
  • Andreas Wimmer, Lieber Professor of Sociology and Political Philosophy

Gluck_shadowAppointed 2015-2016

  • Carol Gluck appointed Committee Chair
  • Sharon Marcus, Orlando Harriman Professor of English; Dean for Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Perry G. Mehrling, Professor of Economics, Barnard College
  • Micheal Morris, Chavkin-Chang Professor of Leadership in the Faculty of Business, Graduate School of Business

Appointed 2016-2017

  • Neil Krishan Aggarwal, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
  • Patricia Culligan, Robert A.W. and Christine S. Carleton Professor of Civil Engineering
  • Peter de Menocal, Thomas Alva Edison/Con Edison Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Founding Director of the Columbia Center for Climate and Life
  • Bernard E. Harcourt, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law

Appointed 2017-2018

  • Vishakha N. Desai appointed Committee Vice Chair
  • Yasmine Ergas, Director of Gender and Public Policy Specialization; Lecturer in the Discipline in International and Public Affairs; Senior Adviser & Director of Gender & Human Rights Program

Appointed 2019-2020

  • Vishakha N. Desai appointed Committee Chair
  • Perry Mehrling appointed CGT Research Scholar
  • Qin Gao, Professor of Social Policy and Social Work; Director of China Center for Social Policy

Members Emeritus

  • Sherry Glied (2007-2009)
  • Nicholas Dirks (2007-2013)