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A Cross-Border Exchange of Ideas

Charles Burdick ’73 furthers global scholarship and public policy

Conflict, economy, trade, migration, public health, and natural resources cross borders to affect every corner of the planet we share. Our world is shaped by globalization, as Charles Burdick ’73 has experienced throughout his career. A new program established through philanthropy, The Charles Burdick Global Scholars will help students rise to the challenges of our multicultural and global society.

“UC Santa Barbara made a formative impression on me from an academic, social, and athletic perspective,” said Charles, who majored in economics and played volleyball for the Gauchos. “The UCSB experience deepened my self-confidence to move forward in life.”

After earning an MBA at UCLA, Charles took a job at Carnation. This started his international career as the company sent him first to Paris and then to Switzerland when Nestlé purchased Carnation. His long career in global media and technology spans across Europe, Israel, Russia, Turkey, Serbia, and the United States, and he ended up with a British passport as well.

“I got the wanderlust spirit and said to myself if I ever had the chance to spend more than a year in another country, I was going to jump at it,” said Charles. “There is great excitement in being in a new culture, living, working and adapting.”

The Charles Burdick Global Scholars Program will pilot a two-year program to examine pressing international topics. Each yearlong cohort will consist of UC Santa Barbara faculty and an international scholar invited to join as a visiting collaborator. Together, the faculty and students will conceptualize a research project. UC Santa Barbara faculty will then travel to the research site with students to advance their research.

“What I hope to see accomplished is an opportunity for students to experience another culture and to work on macro issues,” said Charles. “Our first challenge is being defined now: water scarcity issues faced in India and around the world.”

The Charles Burdick Global Scholars Program will facilitate academic publications, writings for academic degrees, and public reports designed for direct impact in policy debates.

“It has been a great pleasure to work with Charles on this innovative program,” said Charlie Hale, SAGE Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences. “He brought to bear his own vast experience and keen sensibilities in the international arena to guide us in imagining a 21st century approach to global/area studies. Charles Burdick’s generosity, commitment and vision inspire us all to excel in our quest to raise UC Santa Barbara to new heights as a truly global university.”

“In today’s political climate, people are challenging the idea of globalization,” said Charles. “To be part of a campus that supports the cross-border exchange of ideas is pretty special and I’m very pleased to be part of that in a very small way. The more we understand our differences, the more we understand that in the end we’re all the same.”