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Citizen diplomacy: NIU Business partners with WorldChicago

October 15, 2018

WorldChicago, NIU Business and citizen diplomacy.

WorldChicago officially welcomed Balaji Rajagopalan, dean of the NIU College of Business, onto its board of directors. WorldChicago is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to citizen diplomacy:  the shaping of mutually beneficial foreign relations through one-on-one interactions between citizens from other countries.  Citizen diplomats cover a wide range of individuals, including students, teachers, athletes, artists, business professionals, humanitarians, adventurers, and tourists.

“As dean, I am honored to be joining an organization that has an exemplary record of impacting lives across the world.  Our relationship with WorldChicago will enable both organizations to benefit from new programs and initiatives made possible because of this partnership. For the NIU College of Business, being responsive, even anticipatory, and increasingly with a global citizen perspective…those characteristics are very much in our DNA,” Rajagopalan says.

Worldwide network for collaboration

WorldChicago fellowship activity (Go Cubs!)

WorldChicago utilizes its extensive network to engage leaders in the public, private, nonprofit, and tech sectors in order to create collaborations between Chicago and the world. The overarching focus of these efforts is to advance national security, economic development and social justice. Previous collaborations have focused on green technology and climate change as well as preserving cultural heritage, among many other areas.

“Our visitor exchanges and events engage hundreds of Chicagoans in citizen diplomacy each year,” says Peggy Parfenoff, president of WorldChicago. “With citizen diplomacy becoming a necessity in today’s world, we are delighted to have Dean Rajagopalan join our board of directors. Having the NIU College of Business join the WorldChicago network is a great addition and helps us further reach our goal of connecting visitors with Chicago-area organizations to engage in meaningful, mutually beneficial dialogue.”

WorldChicago meeting with Marie Curie High School

The organization has direct affiliation with Global Ties U.S.and the U.S. Department of State. Its mission is to connect the Chicago community with U.S. government-sponsored international professional and youth leaders to promote mutual understanding and build lasting connections. Founded in 1952, WorldChicago annually welcomes between 800 to 1,000 emerging leaders from over 130 countries to the Chicago area. In recent years the non-profit has developed strength in the tech, innovation and entrepreneurship communities, growing along with Chicago’s entrepreneurial community.

Rajagopalan adds, “Much like WorldChicago and its many and excellent partners, NIU Business enjoys a long history of crossing the boundaries of perspectives, ideas, and places. Our mission has a focus on building a mindset for innovation through crossing boundaries and creating an impact on the world.  We recognize this is particularly important in a world that is increasingly global with highly interdependent economies.  The college’s nationally regarded efforts in the social impact space and our growing number of impactful global experiences are two examples of how our efforts align.”

“We are very excited to partner with WorldChicago and to have Dean Rajagopalan invited onto their board,” says Anthony Preston, executive director of the college’s global programs. “This new partnership brings new opportunities for our students and faculty to cross global boundaries and make a difference in the world.  We look forward to collaborating and achieving our common missions together.”

Crossing global boundaries

As a complement to the college’s much heralded social entrepreneurship program and the college’s growing global exchanges with universities around the world, NIU as a whole has also increased its focus on global citizenry. NIU continues to build upon its international education programs for students, inspired in part by the decades-long excellence of its renowned Southeast Asian Studies program. In the college of business alone, the school has developed business education relationships with universities in South America, Europe and Asia.

Legacy of excellence

The NIU College of Business holds full AACSB International accreditation – the world’s highest standard of excellence for global business education – and has done so continuously since 1969, just eight years after its founding.  The college is also one of few to enjoy a national ranking for 32 consecutive years. NIU business alumni number more than 60,000 with many holding C-suite executive positions in companies of all sizes, located in the Chicago metropolitan area and around the world.