We are Go Global NC and we connect North Carolina to the world and the world to North Carolina.
We have a 35-year track record of delivering transformative global leadership programs and trainings that
- Build Connections
- Transcend Boundaries
- Open Minds
- Unite Diverse Strengths
- Grow Awareness
- Unlock Opportunity
- Strengthen Communities
Go Global NC (formerly Center for International Understanding) has an impressive alumni network of thousands of leaders in policy, government, education, business, and communities across North Carolina. All share the belief that learning to navigate a changing world is essential to our state’s progress. North Carolina is global and more connected to other countries and cultures than ever before. We do business with the world — every day, more than 200,000 North Carolinians go to work each day in foreign-owned companies; and we export $31 billion in goods and services annually. Our education system is international – today, more than 17,300 foreign students attend North Carolina colleges and universities; and some 12,000 elementary, middle, and high school students are studying Mandarin Chinese in NC schools.
Go Global NC helps delivers the leadership and global competence needed to help our state thrive in this complex, dynamic world. We empower North Carolinians with the skills, understanding, connection, and knowledge to succeed in a global community.
Go Global NC is proud to be a part of the world-class, 17-campus University of North Carolina system.
Our roots are in citizen diplomacy. Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. established our organization within the UNC system in 1979. Our mission was to demystify other nations and cultures through people-to-people diplomacy. Affiliated with The Friendship Force and Youth for Understanding, and supported by a network of volunteers, we took planeloads of North Carolinians abroad to live for a week at a time in the homes of people in England, Japan, Kenya, Egypt, and many other countries. Our international hosts would then return back to North Carolina and experience life in the Tar Heel state for a week. Many of those friendships endure to this day with correspondence and regular visits! In the first decade of CIU’s existence, Governor and Mrs. Hunt and Governor and Mrs. Martin welcomed well over 1,000 international visitors into the Executive Mansion through our global exchanges.
Expanding Reach to Education and Policy Leaders
Founding Executive Director Millie Ravenel was the first paid staff member of the organization and she led its transformation to a recognized leader in global education with numerous state, regional, and international awards. Under her leadership, the Center for International Understanding implemented innovative programs in teacher professional development, K-12 global education, civic integration, and leadership development for policy leaders. She also spearheaded the nation’s first statewide network of Confucius Classrooms providing Chinese language in K-12 schools and the Global NC Heat Map, showing global connections in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Millie remained Executive Director for 33 years, retiring in 2012 while continuing to remain an active partner with Go Global NC. All of the organization’s work under Millie’s leadership focused around the theme of Learning from the world, serving North Carolina.
Nation’s First Blueprint for Global Engagement
Go Global NC Executive Director Rick Van Sant is building new partnerships and expanding the breadth and scope of Go Global NC’s work. Under Rick’s leadership, we have developed the nation’s first Blueprint for Global Engagement in collaboration with a coalition of who’s who in North Carolina leadership circles.
The future will see increases in both outbound and inbound international exchange programs as well as expansion of tailored cross-cultural training for public and private sector entities.