Institute for Sustainable Global Engagement (ISGE)

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The mission of the Institute for Sustainable Global Engagement (ISGE) is to promote and support global engagement, collaboration and professional action among social work faculty, students, graduates and staff.

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Housed within the Buffalo Center for Social Research, ISGE brings together researchers and faculty with common interests, facilitating collaborations in research and expanding and developing educational and service opportunities that foster global engagement and rights based approaches to alleviating pressing social and economic challenges.

The Institute's activities include:

  • Cross-national research projects.
  • Globally focused research that advances trauma informed and human rights perspectives.
  • International scholarly exchanges and teaching collaborations.
  • Training in cross-cultural competence and cultural humility.
  • Hosting special events focused on global social welfare and human rights.
  • International fieldwork, study abroad and service learning. 
  • Advocacy. 

Current Projects

SUNY Learning Through Development Project in Haiti

The Institute began partnering in 2016 with 19 SUNY campuses in various disciplines and five not-for-profit organizations to work on an innovative project to create a sustainable village and learning community in the town of Arcahaie, Haiti.  With a SUNY award from the Kellogg Foundation, the Institute has been tapped to lead the Social Service Sector for the project.  A community needs assessment is currently underway. 

The Experience of Transnational Migration: The Effects of Separation on Individuals and Families

Migration is a truly global issue and one of the most complex and least understood social problems. This pilot study aims to explore what it means for individuals and families that are experiencing this disintegration, documenting issues that arise at the intersection of migration and family life. Results will be used to raise awareness and inform the development of higher education curriculum modules in Eastern Europe and the United States.

Funded by the International Association of Schools of Social Work

Teaching Resource

This online learning module is designed to facilitate skills for effective cross cultural communication and collaboration.  The very important concept of cultural humility is a central focus. Cultural humility entails acknowledging difference, and positioning ourselves as people interested in learning and understanding.  Cultural humility is particularly relevant to a trauma-informed, human-rights-based approach to social work practice; it underscores the dignity and value of the individual and empowers the client as expert in their experience.

This module can be used as a stand-alone resource for educators, students planning to study abroad or engage in international field work, faculty engaged in cross-cultural research and partnerships, human service practitioners, educators and any other interested parties.  

Because the process of self-reflection is so important for the development of cultural humility, sample reflection exercises are provided.  

Request Training on Cultural Competence and Cultural Humility

Request training

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The Institute has provided training to a variety of organizations including New York State Association for Rural Health; Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center; Buffalo Stringworks; and, Big Brother Big Sister.

Workshops generally focus on helping participants build their skills for creating effective relationships with people of diverse cultures, and creating inclusive environments. Content is individualized to meet the particular needs of organizations. 

Fees are waived for affiliates of UB.  Donations accepted as honoraria for doctoral students that may assist with training.  

Feedback from participants:

"The training helped make talking about these topics easier." "Very informative and refreshing!" "Helpful and insightful- helped me realize how I make assumptions about culture." "Emphasis on building relationships very helpful."

Support ISGE

Donate at button below. Funds are used to support community education in cross-cultural competence and cultural humility.