GAIA CENTERS 2011-2013 BIENNIAL THEME
Dear Colleagues: March 30, 2012
As we come to the close of the first year of the 2011-2013 biennial theme Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders, we would like to thank all of the participating units who made the 2011-2012 academic year another huge success. Events under the theme were more innovative and collaborative than ever!
We are now inviting you to join us in the second year of the theme, running through the 2012-2013 academic year. The second year will continue to focus on Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders. Just as technology changes by the minute, so do the global challenges we face, and the second year will allow units the opportunity to explore new issues as well as focus on the new sub-theme of Citizenship and Social Responsibility.
Today’s challenges are truly global in nature, both in the breadth of issues that confront us and in a geographic and social sense; thus solutions also require global approaches. These can no longer be developed within the borders of a single country or within a single academic or professional discipline; they require the cooperative efforts of writers, artists, social scientists, engineers, scientists, physicians, lawyers, politicians, activists, across regions and continents. As technology becomes more and more integral to human life, societies are forced to adapt to new technological advancements.
The biennial theme, Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders, aims to engage with these and other questions and dilemmas. Events may explore, but are not limited to:
- The role of technology in combating global social inequalities and health challenges such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, violence against women, and in the development of sustainable solutions
- The implications or consequences of a lack of diversity among leaders in technological industries and innovation on gender, racial, and ethnic justice
- How new technologies including facial recognition software, global positioning applications, and tracking programs redefine the notion of privacy
- The relationship between technology and security in the age of cyber-attacks and unmanned drones
- How new technologies affect local community development from access to clean water, medical care, and education, to community engagement and political involvement
- New centers of economic influence based on the influx of technological industries
- The impact of new technologies on changing roles of workers and professionals, as well as new opportunities for entrepreneurship
- The implications of new energy sources on local ecosystems, and which new technologies offer the best solutions for growing energy demands
- The commercialization of technologies and its impact on learning, teaching, and the search for new discoveries
- The implications of new technology on scientific discovery and scholarship production
The theme Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders will seek to explore how new technologies push the boundaries of scientific discovery, what is considered an opportunity or advancement, but also is acceptable and permissible.
SUB-THEME: CITIZENSHIP AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILTY
While Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders will still serve as an umbrella theme for the 2012-2013 academic year, units are also encouraged to submit events related to a new sub-theme: Citizenship and Social Responsibility.
With the rapid advancement of technologies across the world, multiple aspects of our lives are being impacted in various ways. The 2012-2013 academic year sub-theme of Citizenship and Social Responsibility will examine how technology has the potential to affect, either positively or negatively, one’s role as a socially responsible citizen. In an increasingly global world, individuals can now readily identify not only with their status as citizens of a particular group, community, town, or state, but also of a particular nation, region, continent, or world. While advancements in social media, for example, have potentially allowed a greater number of people to become interested and perhaps actively involved in civic activities across the globe than ever before, there remains a large number of people who are excluded and without access to the same information. Although the definition of citizenship is multi-layered and complex, incorporating social, political, economic and cultural dimensions, there is no question that technology has allowed some people to become more informed and engaged citizens, while others have remained marginalized.
Advances in technology have affected not only our ability to be socially responsible but also our definitions of what it means to be an active and socially responsible citizen. While ethical and moral in nature, how we define social responsibility is becoming an increasingly complicated task and its intersection with technology creates new and challenging contexts.
Possible events within this sub-theme as they relate to the broader theme of Technologies could explore:
- The role of technology in enhancing active citizenship as well as the responsibilities of digital citizenship
- The relationship between technological advances and our ability or desire to act as, or identify ourselves as, global citizens
- The role of the internet in democracy, political organizing, and political discourse, as well as how limits placed on its access can impact individual rights (to free speech, to free information, etc.)
- Ways in which technological advances truly build better societies and/or ways in which they also produce new fears, challenges, social inequalities and injustice
- The consequences of increased access to technology on personal privacy and safety
- The implications for the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with respect to advanced technologies and natural resources
- New forms of student activism and civic engagement using social media and other technologies
- The implications for institutions of higher education with respect to technology and student security
- New ways in which green technologies have positively or negatively impacted our sense of social responsibility to our communities and environments
- The implications of new technologies on corporate social responsibility and their potential to advance innovative and groundbreaking ways of operating
- The role of technology in advancing the work of social entrepreneurs who advocate for marginalized or underprivileged segments of a society
- The consequences of limited access to technology on individual and/or collective knowledge, choice, and opportunity
Several campus-wide events are being planned as anchors of Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders and the Citizenship and Social Responsibility sub-theme. We would also like to highlight the broad range of departments, schools, units, and student organizations who are offering their own courses, programs, projects, and activities that are internationally focused and related to the theme. The idea is not to replace, but rather to connect and enhance diverse programs that are being planned across the campus to meet the needs of different audiences, and to give visibility to the creativity of the Rutgers community.
In the past, special meetings with speakers in more informal settings or the incorporation of readings, films, performances, discussions, and lectures into the course schedule have attracted the most interest on the part of students. Similarly, we welcome graduate-student initiatives in the form of workshops, seminars and formal and informal discussions with scholars or lecture series. Events which highlight creative uses of technology are also encouraged, such as Skype lectures, video-conferencing, or webinars. We welcome any and all internationally-focused and theme-related events that bring together diverse groups of students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general community.
In keeping with tradition, we will produce a poster which will be distributed throughout Rutgers. As last year, the 2012-2013 poster will feature a sculpture designed by artist Nathalie Miebach, and will include submitted activities related to the theme. Submissions falling under the sub-theme of Citizenship and Social Responsibility will be highlighted on the poster in a unique way, separate from events under the general Technologies Without Borders: Technologies Across Borders umbrella.
A theme website (http://technologies.rutgers.edu/) and a coordinated advertising effort will remain intact. Event hosts are encouraged to use our global website (http://global.rutgers.edu/) and our list-servs to disseminate event announcements to a broader group of faculty and students.
FUNDING AND DEADLINES
Funding in the form of small grants (up to $700) will be given to units organizing events related to the theme. Decisions will be made by a selection committee and will be announced in mid-June. Priority will be given to proposals:
- Exploring the sub-theme, Citizenship and Social Responsibility
- Promoting innovative and cutting edge approaches
- Engaging international partners
- Seeding new programmatic efforts
- Involving multi-disciplinary approaches
In order to receive the full amount of funding awarded, participating units MUST submit all necessary forms on or before the following deadlines to ensure their proposed events appear correctly on the theme poster:
- A completed proposal form by May 25th, 2012
- A completed event host form by June 29th, 2012
- An approved poster listing by July 16th, 2012
- An event evaluation form to be submitted AFTER the event(s)
Please note that units who submit proposals, but do not submit the required information for their event to appear on the poster, will not receive funding.
Awards will be processed after the event or series of events have taken place.
We look forward to your submissions!