I am committed to UCLA’s global mission and humbled to be the first woman and person of color to serve as Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement.

My appreciation for a global perspective began in childhood. Raised by parents who were farmers in rural China, I was born in Hong Kong and received a British colonial education. I feel incredibly fortunate to be the first in my family to have gone to college. Undergraduate geography field trips to the Philippines and Japan, followed by the culture shock of being a Ph.D. student in Ohio, allowed me to experience the transformative power of study abroad. My education and the benefits of international study have enabled me to become a Vice Provost at one of the world’s great public universities.

At a time when nations throughout the western world are reacting to globalization and the refugee crisis by strengthening barriers to immigration and travel, it is imperative to re-affirm the commitment of U.S. universities to international collaboration in service of the common good.

International research and academic exchanges are vital to the intellectual vibrancy of universities in the U.S., long held to be the world leader in higher education. At UCLA, a big part of our global vision is to become a university where all students have an opportunity to become globally proficient through study abroad and international experiences on campus.

International exchanges greatly enrich faculty, students, staff and communities. Scholars and students from abroad are among the top talents in this country — individuals who have contributed to advancing science, the humanities, arts, social sciences and above all, a global perspective that is essential for the United States to remain competitive in the world.

For the United States to remain a global leader in education, innovation and research, it is critical that we welcome and learn from scholars and students of all nationalities. For UCLA students to become effective leaders and productive citizens — and to work with their peers from other countries to address the complex challenges that require global solutions — it is critical that they have an informed understanding of the world and its contemporary concerns and controversies.

As UCLA’s senior international officer, or SIO, I support three pillars of our success as a leading global university: global engagement, international education and the UCLA International Institute. I invite you to join me and my team in advancing research on burning questions of the world, inspiring our students to gain global experience and providing them the means to do so, and continuing to forge partnerships across disciplines, borders and continents.

Cindy Fan
Vice Provost for International Studies and Global Engagement
August 2017 


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