Global College History

Global College History

50 Years of World Education: The History of Friends World College/LIU Global College

LIU Global College--formerly Friends World College--is a unique program in international and experiential higher education rooted in one of the 20th Century’s great educational experiments. The College was founded in 1965 during the heyday of social change by the Committee on Friends World College, a group affiliated with the New York Yearly Meeting of Quakers. It was established to provide an alternative educational path, with a curriculum that would lead students to seek solutions to the world’s pressing issues. The College was built with the ideals of a Quaker concept of human dignity and community, combined with direct experience of the world and its peoples.

In the summer of 1965, the Committee on Friends World College hired Dr. Morris Mitchell, a Quaker educator and civil rights activist from Georgia, to direct the Friends World Institute (“College” was added to the title once New York State accreditation was attained). Mitchell’s long career as an educational innovator had included serving in school leadership positions, studying under John Dewey at Columbia Teachers College, and founding the Putney Graduate School of Education in Vermont. The Friends World model, which emerged over the next few years, owed its essential features to Mitchell and his early associates. The College integrated Quaker humanism, Dewey's experiential approach to education, and Mitchell’s own formulation of “World Education.”

For Mitchell, students should be brought directly to the world, rather than having the world’s fragments presented to them abstractly in classrooms. Basing Friends World courses on the “world's most urgent human problems,” he envisioned study centers in each of the world’s regions. Students would set out in groups of fifty on a world journey that would last the entire four years. In his original (never fully realized) vision, students should spend a semester in each of the world’s seven regions and a final semester in their home region where they would write a senior thesis.

Morris Mitchell’s successor was Sidney Harman, a prominent Long Island businessman, under whose brief tenure a revised education model emerged. In 1968, Friends World settled into a new 93-acre estate in the Long Island hamlet of Lloyd Harbor, acquired from Mrs. Gerald M. Livingston. Later that year, the Regents of the State of New York granted a provisional charter for the establishment of an independent Friends World College.

During the 70’s and 80’s, Friends World College continued to develop academically, experimenting with various centers and programs located in different countries around the world. In 1980, the College’s Board hired a new president, Lawrence Weiss. Weiss strengthened the faculty, advocated for a more integrated curriculum, and concentrated on strengthening the administration. It became clear to the college leadership that in order to gain the stability necessary for full accreditation, it would be necessary for Friends World to formally affiliate with an established university. In May 1991, the Board of Friends World College signed an agreement making this possible with Long Island University (LIU). Through this merger, Friends World gained full accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, moving to LIU in the fall of 1991.

In Fall 2007, Friends World was renamed Global College (now LIU Global). The College subsequently introduced a degree program in Global Studies, a relatively new discipline offered at over 300 universities around the world. Global Studies aligns with Mitchell’s concept of World Education in important ways. It analyzes global processes and issues as they are nested in a set of interrelated cultural, economic, political, and ecological systems. In addition to the ongoing alignment between World Education and Global Studies, LIU Global continues loyal to Mitchell’s concept of an experienced-based World Education that sets students on a journey in search of solutions to the world’s challenges. Current students spend seven semesters traveling (literally) around the world. They begin a foundation year in Latin America and the Caribbean to a second-year program in Europe and North Africa. They then select from options in Asia and Australia for their third year. On their final year, students complete their circumnavigation with a final semester at the LIU Global headquarters in New York City, where they write a senior thesis.

Mitchell’s concept of an experienced-based World Education is supplemented by contemporary practices designed to align high-quality liberal learning with the needs of the Global Age. LIU Global sets experiential and independent learning within a structured curriculum that builds skills progressively over the course of the college career. This curriculum combines dynamic coursework at our centers around the world with a variety of field experiences. The groundwork for global learning is systematically built at each center through seminars, writing intensive courses, area studies, and language programs. Students engage the world directly in each region through integrated study travel and increasingly more independent field research and internships. LIU Global builds interactive, working relationships among students, faculty, staff, and local communities in each region. Through this sequenced engagement with places and peoples on five continents, students graduate prepared to become effective, world-educated leaders urgently needed today.

LIU Global is a discrete educational entity of Long Island University, with its own course content, faculty, staff, graduation requirements, and internal governance procedures. LIU is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, (215) 662-5606. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education Accreditation. Degrees