The SIT CGI Symposium has been postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19 public health concerns.




Given the current COVID-19 public health concerns, we have made the decision to postpone the CGI Symposium until 2021. Learn more about World Learning and SIT's safety measures in response to COVID-19 here.

SIT programs are developed around a framework of the most critical global issues of our time - challenges that transcend borders to touch every human on the planet. In the first annual Critical Global Issues Symposium, we will examine Identity and Human Resilience. Join us on the SIT campus in Vermont for an examination of cutting-edge research by students and faculty. Through discussions around this work, we seek to develop a platform for meaningful dialogue that will help to advance these critical conversations.


The human condition is in change. Human rights and identity. War. Climate change. Economic disparities. Discrimination. Indigenous and marginalized individuals are exploring what it means to be different and equal in a complicated world, and those under pressure from their environment are on the move with mixed migration challenging national, communal and personal identities. Our programs explore the human condition and the crisis of belonging in an increasingly complex and mobile world. Students gain critical insight on the phenomena of resilience and resistance through listening to the voices of indigenous people and marginalized groups.


Photo of Elizabeth Clay Roy
Elizabeth Clay Roy
Executive Director
TakeRoot Justice

Elizabeth Clay Roy is committed to advancing equity and opportunity in all places. Named as a 40 Under 40 Rising Star by New York Nonprofit Media and a community Trailblazer by Community Resource Exchange, she has more than 15 years of experience in participatory planning, coalition building, and collaborative policy making. She has led campaigns from the neighborhood to national level, and is now executive director of TakeRoot Justice in New York City.

Before joining TakeRoot, she was chief of staff at Phipps Neighborhoods and co-director of South Bronx Rising Together, an educational equity partnership. Prior to that, she was founding deputy director of Opportunity Nation, a national campaign to expand economic mobility, where she spearheaded creation of the Opportunity Index with research partner Measure of America, a first-of-its-kind measurement of contributing factors for economic opportunity at the state and local levels.

Elizabeth is an urbanist and the co-author of Shaping Vibrant Cities, a guidebook on effective community-led urban planning based on her participatory governance work with Janaagraha in Bangalore, India. She also served Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as policy advisor and director of grassroots governance. Elizabeth and her family live in Harlem, where she has been on the boards of neighborhood organizations and a women's giving circle.

Elizabeth is a 2001 alumna of the SIT IHP program Cities in the 21st Century, which took her to India, South Africa, and Brazil, and spurred a lifelong connection to work in India. She received a BA from Columbia University; a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and was an IGNITE Leadership Fellow at NYU's Wagner School for Public Service.


We received more than 80 proposals for presentations addressing Identity and Human Resilience across a broad range of themes including human rights, gender, peacebuilding, memory, climate change, migration; economic disparities, religion, indigenous knowledge, and the arts. Here is a sampling of the presentations you can look forward to. The full symposium agenda will be available soon.

  • Moving in Sound: Music and Popular Resistance
  • Nationalism in a Post-National Space
  • Embodying Resilience: An Identity-Based Self-Mapping Tool
  • Identity and Framing of Movement on the Internet
  • Promoting Resilience: A False Panacea
  • Understanding the Gender Spectrum in a Binary World
  • The Cry of a Million Voices: A Model for Reimagining Church in Rwanda Post-Genocide
  • Political Islam in Post-Revolution Tunisia: Identity Crisis and Contradictions
  • When the "Miracle" Doesn't Work: Attitudes Towards Protest, Voting, and Achieving Social Mobility in South Africa
  • Defenders of the Forest: Indigenous Women in Resistance to Extractivism in the Ecuadorian Amazon


SIT's first Critical Global Issues Symposium aims to bring together thought leaders working with and researching Identity and Human Resilience across a broad cross section of academic disciplines. In spotlighting study and research of some of the most important issues impacting individuals and communities today, we seek to support and invigorate meaningful dialogue that will help to advance critical conversation around these issues.

This event will be of interest to practitioners and professionals in the field of international education including alumni of SIT and IHP undergraduate programs who have completed research and internships in the Identity and Human Resilience critical global issue area; alumni and current SIT Graduate Institute students; and SIT academic and program directors, graduate program chairs and deans with expertise in this area. It will also be of interest to faculty at partner schools who are doing research with SIT alumni or whose work focuses on this CGI, such as faculty seminar participants, custom program faculty leaders, and site visit participants, as well as other professionals from our partner colleges and universities.


The Identity and Human Resilience Symposium will take place on SIT's historic campus in beautiful southern Vermont. The campus has been a hub for international education since it began as a training center for the first Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960s. We have since welcomed thousands of SIT graduate students who have gone on to change the world in their own unique ways, people like Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, Native American activist Charon Asetoyer, Georgetown University professor and Jesuit refugee activist Father Richard Ryscavage, and former president of the Rwandan Parliament Joseph Sebarenzi. The campus continues to host SIT Graduate Institute programs and each summer welcomes young people from around the globe for a wide range of leadership and youth development programs. This rich history and enduring connection to international education is why we chose our own campus for the first symposium of this kind.


The program will include our student alumni, current graduate students, SIT academic and program directors, and faculty from partner schools.
Updates coming soon!

Photo of Sophia Howlett
Sophia Howlett
President, School for International Training
Photo of Katy de la Garza
Katy de la Garza
Associate Dean, International Honors Programs
Photo of Said Graiouid
Said Graiouid
Dean, Middle East, North Africa, and Europe
Photo of Brian Hammer
Brian Hammer
Dean, Asia and the Pacific
Photo of Cheikh Thiam
Cheikh Thiam
Dean, Africa South of the Sahara
Photo of Aynn Setright
Aynn Setright
Dean, Latin America and the Caribbean