Texas A&M International University, Reading the Globe
Each year, Texas A&M International University gives its freshmen students an international memoir for a common read experience in its Reading the Globe program. Students engage with the work and discuss it in university seminars; the author comes to campus to address the entire freshman class each October, followed by an essay competition. 15 Reading the Globe Ambassadors are selected to travel to the author’s country for programming to prepare them to become responsible global citizens. Reading the Globe introduces narratives about events of the highest global importance, promotes discussions of international issues across the campus, and connects the broader world to the Laredo, TX community.
Over the last 12 years, more than 10,000 freshmen have engaged with Reading the Globe memoirs about war, immigration, social justice, and human trafficking, and over 170 Ambassadors have traveled to Poland, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, South Africa, Chile, and many others. Speaking on behalf of the entire campus community, Texas A&M International University President, Dr. Pablo Arenaz said, “Each semester, we find ourselves as inspired as our students, and this creates a truly transformative dynamic that colors their remaining years here.”
The program focuses on building tolerance of other cultures and the importance of service and leadership. Many students participate in service learning projects with community partners that engage with people who are facing some of the same concerns as the authors of the memoirs, providing a clear link between the global and the local. “Investing in student learning about global issues,” Dr. Arenaz continued, “is not only part of our mission statement, but a most worthy goal.”