Berkeley International Group (BIG) Events

The Berkeley International Group (BIG) is composed of UC Berkeley faculty and staff who meet monthly to collaborate and participate in informal discussions related to the international work that we all do on campus. Each meeting is hosted by different units on campus. The group meets for one hour during the first week of every month, with the host deciding upon the topic, date, time, and location of the meeting.

Below is a summary of upcoming and past Berkeley International Group meetings since 2018.

If you would like to host a future BIG meeting or have a suggested topic, please email Global Engagement Office at

April 30, 2024: End of Year International Education Networking Social (in-person)

Please join BIG on Tuesday, April 30 from 4-6 p.m. at the Bear’s Lair (2465 Bancroft Way #140) for an informal networking social. Connect with colleagues with shared interests while celebrating the conclusion of the academic year and all we have accomplished supporting UC Berkeley’s global engagement and internationalization. BIG leadership will also be announcing our first international educator's staff bookclub at the event - more details to...

March 20, 2024: International Education at UC Berkeley: Community Building and Career Pathways (in person)

Please join the Berkeley International Group (BIG) on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 from 12-1:30pm for an in-person panel discussion with UC Berkeley staff who work in international student and scholar advising, study abroad, international partnerships, global affairs, global research, and area studies at UC Berkeley. Participants will deepen their knowledge of a variety of global...

February 7, 2024: Part 3: UC Berkeley's current trends and goals in undergraduate study abroad

Please join the Berkeley International Group (BIG) staff organization on February 7th on zoom from 12-1pm to learn more about the current state of undergraduate study abroad at UC Berkeley. Berkeley Study Abroad, part of the Summer Sessions, Study Abroad, Lifelong Learning, and Extended Education (SSALLEX) Division, will give an overview of Berkeley Study Abroad program offerings, describe the students that participate in various overseas programs, including Berkeley Global Internships, UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) and Berkeley Summer Abroad opportunities, and explore trends...

December 5, 2023: Part 2: Current international trends among UC Berkeley visiting student programs with Summer Sessions, Study Abroad, Lifelong Learning, and Extended Education (SSALLEX)

Please join BIG on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 on zoom from 12-1pm to learn more about visiting students at UC Berkeley. The Summer Sessions, Study Abroad, Lifelong Learning, and Extended Education (SSALLEX) team will give an introduction to the unit, describe the students that participate in various visiting student programs, including summer sessions and semester/academic year programs, and explore data trends for SSALLEX visiting student populations. The session will help UC Berkeley stakeholders understand the various opportunities and trends, as well as explain the...

November 15, 2023: Part 1: Current trends among international students, scholars, and employees

The Berkeley International Group (BIG) is pleased to announce we have recently added to our leadership team including representatives from the Berkeley International Office (BIO), Summer Sessions, Study Abroad, Lifelong Learning, and Extended Education (SSALLEX), and the Berkeley International Studies Program (BISP). Together, we are happy to be kicking off a new series of events, starting during the upcoming International Education Week 2023!


December 1, 2022: Current trends among international students, scholars, and employees

Please join the Berkeley International Group on Thursday, December 1, 2022 on zoom from 12-1pm to learn more about the state of international students and scholars at Berkeley. The Berkeley International Office team and UC Berkeley's Director of Federal Government Relations will be providing an update on current trends related to international students, scholars, and employees at UC Berkeley, as well as the Federal landscape. They will review the...

November 17, 2022: International Education Week Celebration IRL!

Please join the Berkeley International Group (BIG) on Thursday, November 17th from 4-6pm on the back patio of Raleigh’s Pub (2438 Telegraph Ave) for an informal networking and social hour to celebrate International Education Week - our first IRL event since the pandemic!

UC Berkeley’s international education professionals (and enthusiasts!) are invited to reconnect in person, make new connections...

October 24, 2022: Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI)

Event Summary

Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI) is a partnership of migration experts at UC Berkeley who study all facets of global migration. Come and learn about BIMI's research programs and plans for international partnerships to further research on migration, and share learnings, knowledge, and opportunities for collaboration.

September 13, 2022: Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley

Event Summary What services does the Undocumented Student Program (USP) offer? What have been recent trends that we have seen in the undocumented community at UC Berkeley? How have policies changed, especially since 2016 to today, related to undocumented students and DACA? How can we do our part to best support undocumented students on campus? Come hear from Liliana Iglesias (Program Director of the Undocumented Student Program) and Gina Daly (Director of Federal Relations) as they...

April 5, 2022: Best Practices for Engaging International Partners - approaches to global engagement at IPIRA’s Industry Alliance Office

Event Summary

How does Berkeley engage with potential international partners, including transnational corporations, foreign research institutes, and quasi-governmental entities? What are best practices for partner due diligence, or knowing your partner? How do we learn about the country and its government and laws, and discover and address any concerns? With this information, how do we work out an agreement between parties?

Eric Giegerich, Director of IPIRA’s...

December 2, 2021: Updates from Berkeley International Office and Federal Relations

Event Summary:

Although 2021 has been less tumultuous than 2020, this year still has brought several shifts in immigration policy that affect UC Berkeley's international students, scholars and employees. Join us to learn from members of the Berkeley International Office (BIO) and Government and Community Relations about how these members of our community have fared, and about how the BIO has worked to support the international community through these changing times.


The Berkeley International Office...

November 4, 2021: Best Practices for visiting scholars at UC Berkeley

Event Summary:

The Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) office is UC Berkeley’s central resource for the campus’ postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting researchers. Join us as the VSPA staff (re)introduces the office’s new website, shares best practices related to hosting visiting scholars and researchers at UC Berkeley, and discusses...

October 12, 2021: What is “foreign influence,” and how does it affect our international students, scholars, and collaborations?

Event Summary:

UC Berkeley’s reputation for excellence in teaching and research is built, in part, on its long tradition of robust international engagement. In recent years, federal agencies and Congress have increasingly scrutinized international engagement in US higher education. Their concern is called foreign influence: the idea that international institutions or individuals may be using access to academic research in an attempt to compromise the United States’ economic competitiveness and national security....

(POSTPONED) May 5, 2021: A Journey of Hope from Earth to Mars: Elevating the Role of Women in STEM Education and Advancing US-Arab Relations

Event Summary

Can a mission to study Martian climate inspire a generation of young Arabs to pursue STEM careers? How does the UAE foster widespread female involvement in STEM fields?

Join us on May 5 at 12 PM to hear about the Amal (Hope) interplanetary probe and how this ambitious mission is driving societal, economic, and educational development in the UAE. The UC Berkeley Space Sciences Lab (SSL) is a major knowledge-transfer and educational partner in this historic endeavor, providing technical support and summer research...

April 13, 2021: Facilitating Intercultural Learning Programs in a Virtual Era

Event Summary:

What does it mean to connect and communicate skillfully across cultures in a virtual era? In this session, Berkeley Study Abroad and the Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership (CIL) will share their insights from the past year of facilitating rich international experiences for students and professionals, despite and in...

March 16, 2021: The importance of local leadership: contributing to campus equity and inclusion goals through visiting scholar programs


Local scholars are best positioned to identify and address challenges in their own communities and countries. The Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at UC Berkeley helps train scholars from low- and middle- income countries to lead rigorous research in their home countries and regions. Through semester-long fellowships at UC Berkeley, visiting scholars audit development economics courses, present their work at seminars, apply to competitive...

February 4, 2021: Outlook for International Relations and Immigration under the Biden Administration

With the recent transition to the Biden Administration, many of us working in higher education have questions about what changes this will bring for our international programs, research, and constituents. Please join the Berkeley International Group for a briefing from the Director of Federal Relations for UC Berkeley, Gina Banks Daly, to learn about current and anticipated policy changes and executive orders related to immigration, international affairs, and higher education. Participants will also learn about Federal Relations’ advocacy role with congressional leaders and...

January 27, 2021: A Year in Review: International Student, Faculty, and Scholar Issues and the Future of US Immigration

2020 was a momentous year for UC Berkeley's international students, scholars and employees. In addition to facing travel restrictions related to COVID-19, they also were confronted by an array of other regulatory changes that challenged their status in the US. Join us to learn about these policies and to hear how Berkeley International Office is working to help our international community navigate them.

Nov 2020 BIG Meeting: UC Berkeley COVID-19 International Operations Briefing

With international travel grinding to a halt across the UC system in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted UC Berkeley’s international operations and programming. Please join the Berkeley International Group for a panel discussion with key international leaders across the campus, including representatives from the Global Engagement Office, Berkeley Study Abroad, Summer Sessions, and UC Berkeley Extension International Programs. Our colleagues will share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges the pandemic has presented to their work and programs, as well...

Fall 2020 BIG Event Series: Anti-Racism in International Education

How can international educators lead in crafting a vision for a post-racist world? How can they leverage the multiple tools that intercultural learning and cross-cultural communication provides to develop the next generation of anti-racist leaders? How can they work to normalise cross-cultural and intercultural diversity in the communities that they inhabit?

Sept. 2020 BIG Event: Courageous Conversations Workshop

Speaking up and speaking out about racism and white supremacy has become a priority for organizations and institutions across the globe, including here at UC Berkeley. However, when it comes to confronting the ways racism shows up in our everyday lives and relationships, it can be difficult to create environments where people can be truly courageous in their own growth and encourage the growth of others. In multinational/multicultural environments, this is further complexified, yet equally critical. In this session, we will focus on skills and practices for higher education professionals...

May 2020 Panel Discussion on COVID-19: The End or the Revival of International Higher Education?

Recent years have witnessed a rise in the level of nationalism in many countries with tightened immigration policies and stronger governmental oversight of multinational research collaborations. At the same time, competition among countries and universities for international students has increased significantly, while the demographics of young populations in many countries are shifting. Now, the onset of an historic global pandemic, with its serious travel challenges and dramatic economic effects, raises yet another threat to the future of internationalization on U.S. campuses.


May 2020 BIG Meeting: Connecting Berkeley to Europe

About the Institute of European Studies

A federally funded Title VI National Resource Center and Jean Monnet Center of Excellence, the Institute of European Studies (IES) is the hub for interdisciplinary research and education on Europe and transatlantic relations on the UC Berkeley campus. IES staff will give an overview of the Institute’s public programming, outreach activities, international partnerships, and grants for students and faculty. We will also discuss current challenges and future...

April 2020 BIG Meeting: Your emotional well-being amid COVID-19

In light of the rapidly evolving situation amid COVID-19, we understand that our colleagues are likely under stress while handling work and personal life and finding a balance while working remotely. Therefore, instead of having a presentation on regular topics related to international activities happening on campus, BIG would like to support our Berkeley colleagues by holding a presentation given by the University Health Services (UHS) Employee Assistance unit, in the hope of providing some relief to our colleagues so that they may have some professional guidance on how to take care of...

March 2020 BIG Meeting: Graduate Division and International Student Experience

Come hear from the Graduate Division and the Graduate Assembly about their respective organizations and goals in service of international academic and professional graduate students at UC Berkeley. We'll also have current graduate students speak about their experiences and transitions to campus.

Please note this event is open to UC Berkeley faculty and staff only. Please RSVP

Panelists: Larissa Charnsangavej, Director of Graduate Student Life, Graduate Division Shivani Raina, Project Director - International and...

February 2020 BIG Meeting & IEAS Lecture Series: Contextualizing Coronavirus: Scientific, Political, Societal and Economic Impacts of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) appeared in Wuhan, China in early December 2019 and has quickly spread across the globe, leading to the closure of borders, the lockdown of Chinese cities, fears about under-reaction (and over-reaction), and economic effects still to be seen.

A panel of experts will convene at UC Berkeley to discuss the scientific, political, societal and economic...

December 2019 BIG Meeting & CSHE Lecture Series: “Foreign influence” rhetoric and internationalization at UC Berkeley

Over the last year, there has been an increasing discussion led by U.S. Federal agencies and Congress about the nature of U.S. universities and their engagement with international institutions and governments. This oversight and inquiry is expected to continue and increase, with new and revised disclosure and compliance requirements a likely outcome.

Berkeley has long been at the forefront of international engagement, with a myriad of activities administered by numerous offices. In this growing era of more scrutiny of international activities, we must continue to take the lead in...

December 2019 Berkeley International Group meeting: End of year social!

UC Berkeley staff and faculty are invited to attend a belated International Education Week celebration with the Berkeley International Group (BIG) on Wednesday, December 4 from 4-6pm. Join UC Berkeley colleagues with a passion for (or interest in) international education, and celebrate the end of the semester!

Light appetizers will be available; drinks are on your own.

The Berkeley International Group (BIG) is a recognized Staff Organization Community of Practice, offering...

November 2019 Berkeley International Group Meeting: International Students and Scholars: Current Enrollment and Regulatory Trends

UC Berkeley faculty and staff are invited to join the Berkeley International Group to learn more about international students and scholars at UC Berkeley, and current enrollment and regulatory trends.

In this presentation, the Berkeley International Office (BIO) will provide an update on the current trends in international student and scholar enrollment and address how this is being impacted by on-going changes in the regulatory...

May 2019 Berkeley International Group Meeting: First-year pathway & pre-college programs

UC Berkeley faculty and staff are invited to attend the next Berkeley International Group meeting to learn more about two of Berkeley's Summer Sessions & Study Abroad programs including the Global Edge London program for newly admitted undergraduate freshmen and the Pre-College Scholars Summer Program for domestic and international high school students.

Jessica Bauer, Assistant Director of...

April 2019 BIG Meeting - Campus-wide updates from the Global Engagement Office

UC Berkeley faculty and staff are invited to attend the next Berkeley International Group meeting to learn more about campus-wide international updates from the Global Engagement Office, including new partnership development resources, clarification on campus-wide procedures for international MOUs, a new campus-wide international partnership database (in collaboration with other UCs), and more.

Global Engagement Office mission:

We believe that...

March 2019 BIG Meeting - Dual degree programs with Berkeley Study Abroad

UC Berkeley faculty and staff are invited to attend the next Berkeley International Group meeting to learn more about Berkeley's first undergraduate dual degree program with Sciences Po

Amber Dillon, International Academic Specialist, will discuss what it took to make the partnership successful and challenges faced, as well as the benefits of the program to the UC Berkeley campus as a whole and the...

May 2018 BIG Meeting - Where do foreign students work and reside after they graduate? with Pew Research Center and Berkeley International Office

Dr. Ruiz presented his research on the question of "where do foreign students work and reside after they graduate?"

October 2018 BIG Meeting - Disrupting the Diploma: The Global Rise of Short Courses with UC Extension

Anna Esaki-Smith presented "Disrupting the Diploma: The Global Rise of Short Courses," examining a growing industry-wide trend to unbundle higher education degrees and provide more flexible and modular study paths for students.

November 2018 BIG Meeting - The future of African Students at UC Berkeley with International House, Center for African Studies & Berkeley International Office

December 2018 BIG Meeting - Models for international collaboration - College of Engineering

The College of Engineering reviewed its models for international collaboration, from large-scale research collaborations to visiting scholar and student programs, as well as new plans for a potential educational program to benefit students who have never been outside of the United States. Additionally, best practices and fundamental guidelines for the College of Engineering's establishment of international partnerships were shared.

February 2019 BIG Meeting - Becoming the Global Hub for Entrepreneurship with Berkeley SkyDeck

How UC Berkeley is Becoming the Global Hub for Entrepreneurship The UC Berkeley entrepreneurial ecosystem has always been rich and in the past few years has capitalized on several elements putting UC Berkeley and Berkeley SkyDeck in the position to become the global hub for entrepreneurship. With proximity to Silicon Valley, access to the vast resources of UC Berkeley, and the ability to vet and select top startups from around the world to join our community, we are truly building something unique at UC...

April 2017 BIG Meeting - Center for Intercultural Leadership

In this session, CIL discussed their overall model for resident engagement, including specific examples and exercises from CIL, in the hope that participants might be inspired to try aspects that they find useful.

November 2016 BIG Meeting - Global Engagement Office (GEO)

A discussion about the GEO's evolving role on campus and how GEO will better serve the campus community moving forward, including a brief discussion of the UC Berkeley Open House to be held on June 5th at UC Berkeley following the National Association of International Educators (NAFSA) conference which will be held in Los Angeles this year.

November 2017 BIG Meeting - International and Area Studies

The degree programs under International and Area Studies are evolving, highlighted by the creation of the Global Studies major. This presentation discussed the reasons for developing the new Global Studies major, and how it will better serve the current generation of students.

October 2017 BIG Meeting - International Undergraduate Admissions

Shifting trends in international applicants over the past year.

December 2017 BIG Meeting - Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET)

Learn about SCET's global programs and international partnerships with a special focus on the "Global Startup Semester at Berkeley," a semester-long program at Berkeley where students learn about entrepreneurship and innovation.

March 2017 BIG Meeting - International Area Study Centers & Institutes

The International Area Study Centers & Institutes outlined who they are and what they do, and discussed their outreach activities, public programs, and funding models, how their work connects with other units and departments across the campus, as well as current challenges.

February 2017 BIG Meeting - Study Abroad & Summer Sessions

Darin Menlove, Director of Berkeley Study Abroad, discussed UC Berkeley’s strategies for increased study-abroad participation and comparisons within the contexts of the UC system and national trends.

February 2018 BIG Meeting - Berkeley International Office (BIO)

A Changing Landscape: New Trends in Immigration Practice and Prospects for Legislative Changes to Come

September 2017 BIG Meeting - Risk Services and UCOP

Presentation on the recently issued UCOP International Activities Policy, which sets out principles and high-level processes for activities conducted overseas.

December 2016 BIG Meeting - UC Extension

Eddie West, Director of International Programs at UC Berkeley Extension, presented on recent trends in the worldwide mobility of students, future directions, and on the emerging realm of "transnational education."

March 2018 BIG Meeting - Visiting Scholars & Postdoc Affairs Office

The session will highlight customized symposia, workshops and networking events designed to support the career and professional development of Berkeley’s 1,600 postdocs, 1,500 visiting scholars and 1,200 visiting student researchers. Additionally, the audience will have an opportunity to comment on new policies affecting this research community.

May 2017 BIG Meeting - Berkeley International Office

Supporting international students and scholars in a time of change.

April 2018 BIG Meeting - Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE)

Discussion of the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium, research and policy outcomes, and the challenges of sustaining an international collaboration.

October 2018 BIG Meeting - Center for the Studies in Higher Education (CSHE)

A panel discussion on observations about the changing market for international graduate and undergraduate students, the impact of changing visa/immigration debates/policies, and the challenges international students face once they enroll in a US university.