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International Institute receives Ahmanson Foundation grant Wilshire Collonade (formerly the Ahmanson Center) in Los Angeles. (Photo: Redbobsled via Flickr, altered; CC BY 2.0.)

International Institute receives Ahmanson Foundation grant

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UCLA International Institute, April 9, 2021 — The Ahmanson Foundation has awarded the International Institute a generous grant of $216,000 to transform two traditional meeting rooms into “Global Connection Labs.” The state-of-the-art rooms will feature enhanced recording and webcasting capabilities, wireless microphones in desks and the ceiling, video conferencing, LED screens, a full sound system and a digital touch screen at the front podium.

One of the major impacts of the global coronavirus epidemic has been the switch to remote teaching and learning. Since spring 2020, all International Institute courses and center/program events have been offered remotely.

The institute's current meeting rooms, located on the 10th and 11th floors of Bunche Hall, date back to the 1960s and have not kept up with the demands of an interconnected global university and society. The Global Connection Labs will turn these rooms into high-tech meeting/classrooms.

Remote operations have actually seen a dramatic increase in participation and engagement in  center programming locally, nationally and globally. Whereas on-site events typically had 25–50 attendants prior to the pandemic, the transition to zoom webinars has caused centers to experience large increases in participants, with some events hosting 300–800 participants.

As the institute envisions its post-COVID-19 return to campus, the newly outfitted meeting rooms will provide its centers and programs the ability to combine both in-person and remote elements for their public events, permitting them to include and attract participants and audiences from around the world.

The new Global Connection Labs will benefit International Institute faculty, staff and students by improving the quality of an international education at UCLA and supporting the institute's continued ability to reach broader local, national and international audiences with presentations on international issues. The new equipment will produce higher-quality live and recorded webinars that will be archived as instructional material and for on-demand viewing.