In late 2020, Reinhardt University became the headquarters and lead institution for the International Studies Consortium of Georgia (ISCOG). The ISCOG, which began in 1993, is a group of colleges and universities in the state of Georgia with a focus on offering opportunities for faculty members and students to expand their knowledge of global cultures and economies and increase cross-cultural understandings.
Founding and executive director of the consortium, Raj Sashti, works relentlessly to plan and provide regular programming to the 17 member colleges and universities and numerous other institutions of higher education in Georgia, the Southeast and other parts of the country. “Right now, we have two programs a month, both of which happen virtually,” says Sashti. “Once a month, we have either a Visiting Diplomat or an Excellence in Leadership program. The Visiting Diplomat program allows students to hear from and interact with Consul Generals/Ambassadors from other countries, while the Excellence in International Leadership Program features executives working for multinational companies in other countries and the U. S. In addition, we also hold a monthly day-long virtual conference on a variety of international topics. These conferences are jointly sponsored by such nationally and internationally recognized institutions as Columbia, Harvard, Boston and Vanderbilt universities, Reinhardt University and the Consortium.”
Prior to COVID-19, all ISCOG programming was face to face and within the state of Georgia. Since moving to a virtual platform, the ISCOG has expanded its reach. “Our membership now includes colleges and universities outside of Georgia. We are also able partner with more institutions for our programming. We currently have roughly 50 to 75 attendees at our virtual conferences. We’ve also found that attendees prefer the virtual platform not only because it is cost effective but also saves time.”
Sashti credits Reinhardt’s president, Mark A. Roberts, Ph.D., for much of what has happened with the consortium during the past year-and-half. “Dr. Roberts’s desire to continue to internationalize the campus and curricula, provide global competency skills to students, guidance and encouragement has really enabled the growth and expansion of the consortium. In brief, he had a vision for what was possible and Reinhardt’s role in it.”
“Reinhardt’s association with ISCOG allows our university’s professors and students to dialogue with world-class scholars, understand more deeply world affairs, and expand our relationship with fellow institutions of higher learning,” says Roberts. “With Raj Sashti’s capable hands at the helm of this unique internationalization program, I am confident Reinhardt and ISCOG have a growing and deepening partnership that will extend global learning well into a future that will no doubt be fraught with complexities and obstacles. These present and future global challenges make our work together even more important.”
Sashti joined the Reinhardt faculty in December 2020, bringing over five decades of experience in higher and international education and exchange experience. He has been awarded more than $5,000,000 in grants by the U. S. Department of Education and other agencies, worked with nationally and internationally recognized universities to organize professional development programs, served as an international education consultant to institutions throughout the U.S., and has been the recipient of three Fulbright Scholarships to study and travel in Germany, Japan, and Brazil.
Participation in ISCOG programming is open to all Reinhardt students, faculty, and staff. To learn more about the programs offered, contact Raj Sashti at firstname.lastname@example.org.