UN Global Compact: George Mason University formally signed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in summer 2012. UNGC is a strategic policy initiative for businesses and other organizations that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 widely accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, UNGC now has more than 10,000 signatories in 145 countries. While UNGC originally targeted business entities, President Cabrera helped lead the effort to engage institutions of higher learning to use the Ten Principles to set their operational and academic priorities. President Cabrera also facilitated the development of the UNGC-related principles of Responsible Management Education, a code of professional ethics designed to cultivate values of social and environmental responsibility in future business leaders.
The Office of Global and International Strategies helps Mason attain its strategic goals in international education and expand its reputation as a global university. The Global Office assists units, programs, faculty, and students in pursuit of international initiatives and coordinates efforts across traditional organizational boundaries. It serves as an incubator for innovative university projects that engage Mason faculty and students with their counterparts around the world. The Global Office has forged teaching and learning partnerships with universities in China, Russia, India, and, most recently, Korea. In 2013, the Global Office launched its Global Register, a database that creates a one-stop shop for information on Mason’s global activities and expertise.
Today’s university students will inherit a world characterized by pressing global challenges. They must be prepared to focus their intellectual skills on problems of world health, unequal access to resources, environmental degradation, and more. It is incumbent on institutions of higher education to prepare students better to confront these pressing concerns. In response to this challenge, Provost Emeritus Peter Stearns invited a select group of prestigious international institutions to join a new Global Problem Solving Consortium in 2012. The consortium offers focused programs that bring students and faculty members together to improve their knowledge of global issues and their awareness of how other major societies approach these issues. the consortium offered its first summer workshop, Water Management for Environmental Sustainability, in July 2013.
New Initiatives and Future Goals
George Mason’s commitment to the United Nations Global Compact creates an opportunity for the Mason community to think carefully about next steps as we move forward into what is truly a new era for our university.
Below are goals for Mason’s future participation with the UNGC:
- Establish new International Education Week programming on campus to engage the Mason community in dialogue about UNGC commitments, showcase UNGC-related student scholarship, identify areas for improvement, and articulate future directions.
- Modify Mason’s general education program to include environmental and global citizenship paths that combine academic course work with cocurricular activities.
- Follow through on the School of Management’s new commitment to the UNGC-affiliated Principles of Responsible Management Education.
- Include the UNGC Ten Principles broadly in Mason’s strategic planning process.