From 1754 to 2054: Columbia’s Global Future from the Perspective of the Committee on Global Thought

The 1754 Society and the Committee on Global Thought

November 12, 2015 · 12:00PM – 1:00PM

Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY

  • Opening Remarks: Amelia Alverson, Executive Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations
  • Introduction: Kenneth A. Forde, MD, ’59PS, 1754 Society member, University Trustee


  • Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs to the President, Senior Research Scholar, School of International and Public Affairs, Member of the Committee on Global Thought.
  • Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Family Professor of African Studies, Director of the Institute for African Studies, Member of the Committee on Global Thought.
  • Wafaa El-Sadr, University Professor, Director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) and Global Health Initiative at Mailman School of Public Health, Member of the Committee on Global Thought.
  • Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History and Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Chair of the Committee on Global Thought.
  • Jeffrey Niu, Columbia University Undergraduate Student, Co-Chair of the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought.
  • Wei Qing Tan, Columbia University Master of Arts in Global Thought Student.
  • Adam Tooze, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History, Director of the European Institute, Member of the Committee on Global Thought.

Rainbow Room shadowColumbia University is preparing students to live and thrive in an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world. What will this world look like in 2054, the year of Columbia’s tricentennial? How can Columbia meet the challenges of new teaching and research that cross conventional disciplines and geographies to address issues as disparate as health and human security, religious diversity, global capitalism, world order thinking, and humanistic values?

Carol panel shadowIn this special conversation organized exclusively for the 1754 Society, senior faculty members of Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought (CGT) from across the University and Medical Center joined a graduate student from the newly established MA in Global Thought and an undergraduate student from the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought to discuss what it will mean to think, act, and teach globally over the next four decades. Vishakha N. Desai, President Bollinger’s special adviser for global affairs, a professor at SIPA, and a member of the CGT, introduced the program and Professor Carol Gluck, chair of the CGT and George Sansom Professor of History, moderated.

If you would like to help support the efforts of the CGT through a charitable gift, please visit or contact our Associate Director Daniel Rivero.

Amelia AlversonAmelia Alverson was appointed to the position of executive vice president of university development and alumni relations at Columbia University. Alverson, who has more than 25 years experience in the field of development, will build upon Columbia’s very successful philanthropy and alumni engagement programs and help realize the ambitious goals set forth by President Bollinger for the university. Alverson had been serving in the post on an interim basis since last April.

Alverson previously served as senior vice president for development at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), where she led the $2.1 billion raised as part of the Columbia Campaign. Alverson joined CUMC in 2009, after having served as vice president for development at Stanford University Hospital and Clinics.

Prior to joining Stanford, Alverson served in senior leadership roles at the Mayo Clinic, Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois. Alverson earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and her MBA from the University of Toledo.

Kenneth FordeKenneth A. Forde graduated from The City College of New York and received his M.D. from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Following training at Columbia, he remained on the faculty from 1966 to 2006, attaining the rank of professor of clinical surgery and occupying the José M. Ferrer Chair in Surgery from 1997 to 2006.

He has been a teacher, researcher, and practitioner of surgery for 45 years, chiefly in the areas of diseases of the colon. Dr. Forde has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Townsend Harris Medal from the City College of New York (for outstanding postgraduate achievement), the Bolmfalk Award for teaching, and the Arnold P. Gold Award for Humanism, both from the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The Kenneth A. Forde Professorship in Surgery was established at Columbia University in 1996, honoring his contributions to academic colorectal surgery. He has had leadership roles in many professional organizations, having served as president of the New York Surgical Society and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).

He has been active in Columbia alumni affairs, having been president of the P&S Alumni Association from 1985 to 1987 and has served since medical school as co-chairman of his class. He has been the recipient of the Columbia University Alumni Federation Medal, the Gold Medal for Excellence in Clinical Medicine, and the Silver Medal for Meritorious Service from the Alumni Association of P&S. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of Columbia University Medical Center.

He served on several editorial boards (Surgical Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy), governing boards, and as trustee of several professional and lay organizations, including the American College of Surgeons,SAGES, the New York Academy of Medicine, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and Episcopal Social Services (New York).

Vishakha N. DesaiVishakha N. Desai is Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University and Professor of Professional Practice at the School of International and Public Affairs. She also serves as Senior Advisor for Global Programs to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. From 2004 through 2012, Dr. Desai served as President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global organization dedicated to strengthening partnerships between Asia and the U.S. Under her leadership the society expanded the scope and scale of its activities with the opening of new offices in India and Korea, a new center of U.S.-China Relations, internationally recognized education programs, and inauguration of two new architecturally distinguished facilities in Hong Kong and Houston.

In 2012, in recognition of Dr. Desai’s leadership in the museum field, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the National Museum and Library Services Board. An internationally renowned scholar of Asian art, she has published and lectured extensively on the intersection of traditional and contemporary arts and policy in diverse countries of Asia. Dr. Desai is an Advisory Trustee of the Brookings Institution, and a Trustee of the Bertelsmann Foundation, AFS Intercultural Programs. She serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Auroville Foundation, India, as well as on the Corporate Board of Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India’s largest global corporations.

Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan, in addition to honorary degrees from Williams College, MA 2014, Centre College, 2008; Pace University, 2008; The College of Staten Island, NY 2006; and Susquehanna University, PA, 1996.

Mamadou DioufMamadou Diouf is the Leitner Family Professor of African Studies and the Director of Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies. He joined Columbia University in 2007. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. Before joining the faculty at Columbia University, he was the Charles D. Moody Jr. Collegiate Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Michigan, from 2000 to 2007. Before that, he was Head of the Research, Information, and Documentation Department of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and faculty member of the History Department of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.

His research interests include urban, political, social and intellectual history in colonial and postcolonial Africa. His publications include: Tolerance, Democracy, and Sufis in Senegal (ed. 2013), New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, and Power (with Mara A. Leichtman, 2009), La Construction de l’Etat au Sénégal (with M. C. Diop & D. Cruise O’Brien, 2002), Histoire du Sénégal: Le Modèle Islamo-Wolof et ses Périphéries (2001), Histoires et Identités dans la Caraïbe. Trajectoires Plurielles (with Ulbe Bosma, 2004); Les Jeunes, Hantise de l’espace public dans les sociétés du sud? (with R. Collignon, 2001); Les figures du politique: Des pouvoirs hérités aux pouvoirs élus (with M. C. Diop, 1999); Academic Freedom and Social Responsibility of the Intellectuals in Africa (with Mahmood Mamdani, 1994); Le Sénégal sous Abdou Diouf with M.C. Diop, 1990); La Kajoor au XIXe siècle: Pouvoir Ceddo et Conquête Coloniale (1990).

Professor Diouf is a member of the editorial board of several professional journals including the Journal of African History(Cambridge), Psychopathologie Africaine (Dakar), la vie des idé (Paris), Public Culture, and a co-editor (with Peter Geschiere) of the book series, Histoires du Sud/Histories of the South published by Karthala, Paris and New National Histories in Africa published by Palgrave MacMillan.

Wafaa El-SadrWafaa El-Sadr is University Professor at Columbia University. She is a leader in global health with many contributions in HIV/TB, tuberculosis, maternal and child health, and broad health systems strengthening.

ICAP, the Center she founded and currently directs, works in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations building in-country capacity for HIV prevention, care and treatment and related issues. More than one million individuals living with HIV have gained access to HIV services and more than 500,000 have received access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy through these programs. ICAP champions a health systems approach to reaching key health goals and a commitment to building meaningful partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organizations. Her work has also advanced the concepts of health systems strengthening globally for the purpose of confronting major health threats faced by communities around the world.

Dr. El-Sadr has been a member of the Columbia community for close to 25 years. For two decades, she led the Division of Infectious Diseases at Harlem Hospital where she successfully established a multi-dimensional research and service program responsive to the needs of the community. Building on this experience, Dr. El-Sadr took the lessons learned from Harlem to the global arena at a time when millions had little or no options for HIV prevention or treatment. Dr. El-Sadr has led the design and implementation of numerous studies that have furthered the understanding of the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Dr. El-Sadr’s work demonstrates a deep appreciation of the breadth of issues fundamental to transforming the health of populations at local and global levels–from scientific discovery to implementation science.

Dr. El-Sadr received her medical degree from Cairo University in Egypt, a master’s of public health from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and a master’s of public administration from Harvard University. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship and is a recipient of a MacArthur ‘genius’ fellowship. Dr. El-Sadr is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, one of the highest honors in medicine.

Carol GluckCarol Gluck is the George Sansom Professor of History in the departments of History, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

A founding member of the Committee on Global Thought, she specializes in the history of modern Japan from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with writings in modern social and cultural history, international relations, World War II, history-writing and public memory in Japan and the West. She has a B.A. from Wellesley and a Ph.D. from Columbia, including study in Munich and Tokyo. She has taught at the Universities of Tokyo, Venice, and Leiden, Harvard, and the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales.

Her many publications include Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period; Showa: The Japan of Hirohito, Asia in Western and World History, Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon, as well as works in Japanese. Forthcoming are Thinking with the Past: Japan and Modern History and Past Obsessions: World War Two in History and Memory.
Former president of the Association for Asian Studies, appointed member of the Japan-US Friendship Commission, leader of programs to expand K-12 and undergraduate education in international and Asia studies, she has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and has received numerous teaching awards, book prizes, as well as a decoration from the Japanese government.

Jeff NiuJeff Niu is a senior at Columbia University, where he studies East Asian Languages and Cultures as well as Business Management. A native of Flushing, NY and a seasonal resident of Beijing, Jeff has always been strongly connected to his Asian roots. His longstanding academic and professional interests in Sino-US affairs, experience curation, and global entrepreneurship inspired him to return to China, where he helped form a national youth business organization. Having worked in developing extracurricular enrichment platforms in China, he is now writing a thesis aimed at exploring the widening rift between public and private education mediums, and its effect on domestic socioeconomic stratification.

At Columbia, Jeff also serves on the Executive Board of the Chinese Students Club and Co-Chairs the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought. At home, Jeff really enjoys cooking fusion dishes, dancing to pop music, playing his dog Almond, and if space permits, doing all three simultaneously.

Wei Qing TanWei Qing Tan is a candidate in the MA in Global Thought program. Before joining Columbia, Wei Qing obtained a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. At Oxford, she was the director of OxPolicy, a student think tank, and was on the committee of Education Partnerships Africa, a student-run development charity.

Wei Qing holds a scholarship from the Singaporean government, and has interned with several ministries over the last three years. After completing her MA degree, she will return to her native Singapore to join its civil service. Her academic training, public sector internships, student leadership and trans-national educational experience reflect a long-standing interest in improving the human condition through understanding and managing the global issues and collective challenges we face.

Adam ToozeAdam Tooze is the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History and the Director of the European Institute at Columbia University. Born in London, Professor Tooze grew up in Heidelberg, Germany, before taking a first degree in economics from King’s College Cambridge. After postgraduate study at the Free University Berlin he took his PhD in economic history from the London School of Economics in 1996. For 13 years he taught in the History Faculty of the University of Cambridge before joining Yale University, where he was the Barton M. Biggs Professor of History and the Co-Director of International Security Studies from 2009 to 2015.

He has authored three prize-winning books: Statistics and the German State 1900-1945: The Making of Modern Economic Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2001), The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy (UK edition, Penguin Allen Lane, 2006), and The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931 (Viking, 2014). Tooze’s books have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Mandarin, Polish and Bulgarian.

Statistics and the German State 1900-1945 explores the connection between the emergence of modern national economic statistics and the crisis of the German state in the first half of the twentieth century. Wages of Destruction provides a novel account of the Third Reich viewed from the perspective of the regime’s efforts to harness the German economy for its bid for continental hegemony. The Deluge is an analysis of the First World War that challenges the existing narrative of the war, its peace, and its aftereffects. Most recently, it won the 2015 Los Angeles Times History Book Prize.

Professor Tooze has served on the academic panels charged with writing the histories of both the German Finance Ministry and Ministry of Economics Affairs. He has served as the Thomas Hawkins Johnson Visiting Professor in Military History at West Point and contributed to the academic advisory panel of the National Intelligence Council. He has written and reviewed for Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, the Wall Street Journal, Die Zeit, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Tageszeitung and Spiegel Magazine, and New Left Review.


The 1754 Society honors and acknowledges alumni and friends of Columbia who have made plans for the University through trust, estate, or other planned gifts. Named for the year in which King's College, the future Columbia University, was established, the Society recognizes the vital role planned gift donors have played over the centuries in Columbia's emergence as a preeminent educational institution and the role they play today in ensuring its continued excellence.

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