From my first days as director, I have always been struck by how our Institute was internationally incredibly diverse. This has continued to the present, one can’t walk the hallways without hearing several languages going on at the same time (not including the constant Java and C++).
At the same time, particularly since we began the Decade of the Mind initiative in 2007, the Institute itself has been reaching overseas. Our faculty have recently visited East Africa, Moldova, Singapore and, as I write these words, we have a critical mass in Paris.
In less than a month, I’ll visit Berlin for the second time in two years and we just recently hosted a scientist from Indonesia.
This both reflects, the very real internationalization of “advanced studies” and, more importantly, a changed outlook: while US research universities (including Mason) remain superb, there is an entire global generation that is coming of age and they are highly literate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields–and hence the potential for growing new gardens of collaborations.
In the next five years, I hope that we can do something substantive along these lines both in Asia and Europe, combining both research and education.