Please join us in Giving Blue! this year, as The Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) celebrates the tenth anniversary of its highly successful and wildly popular “International Studies” major. PICS and International Studies deepen and expand the Michigan experience with our core emphasis on engaged global learning about the world beyond our borders and of our integral place and role, individually and collectively, in today’s exciting and thoroughly internationalized world. PICS mounts academic and professional programming in International and Comparative Studies, most notably through the International Studies major and minor in which U-M undergraduates study International Security, Norms and Cooperation; Global Environment and Health; Political Economy and Development; and Comparative Culture and Identity.

PICS remains one of the fastest growing undergraduate programs at the University of Michigan, with over 500 students currently enrolled in the International Studies major and minor. We seek to be a focal point for the interdisciplinary study of issues that transcend borders and to encourage students to broaden their horizons while deepening their knowledge of cultures and political, economic, and social contexts. Every year, PICS helps fund about 70 students for study, internship, or research abroad, and we have partially funded thusly well over 400 students since our inception.

Moving forward, PICS aims to expand its already heavy emphasis on global educational experiences for International Studies students. Global experiences include studying, researching or working abroad, and is not limited to opportunities outside the U.S. as internationally focused experiences, such as working for immigration or human rights law firms as do our Perseus Strategies and Human Rights First student fellows, can have similarly global impact for our Students.

As Director Franzese recently stated to the Michigan Daily on the occasion of the tenth anniversary: “International Studies students’ focus is on some global problem they identify, and then they want to learn everything they can about the scope of the problem, the content, how it manifests for the people that are experiencing it and, also, crucially, what we may have at this great University that will help them understand not only the scope and breadth of the problem, but also maybe some ideas we may have about beginning to surmount or overcome these problems, or at least make a dent in them.”

By supporting PICS, you can help our students to have these kinds of life-changing University of Michigan and global experiences and opportunities. Your gifts are essential to enable PICS to maintain and enhance Michigan's well-deserved reputation as a leader in international education. As a PICS fellowship recipient once noted, “Without PICS, we wouldn’t have considered going abroad and would have missed out on one of the best experiences of our lives. Our study abroad program inspired us to pursue careers that will allow us to expand our view of the world. We plan on continuing our education by traveling to new places and learning about new cultures.”

On behalf of all of us at the Program in International and Comparative Studies, we want to wish you and yours all the very best this holiday season, and to ask you to remember us when you are planning your charitable contributions this year. Please consider making a donation to PICS online. Your gift will provide opportunities for our students to conduct research outside the U.S., to study abroad, or to work as interns with organizations focused on human rights, international development, security, global health, and on the environment. We are very grateful that you consider Michigan and PICS in your giving priorities. Thank you!