Purpose from Disruption

global map with connection lines

Matt Hartman, Author

One was supposed to be saying goodbye to her childhood home on the other side of the Atlantic. Another was meant to be working with refugees in Ireland. Two more had plans for research projects in Africa. None of it happened.

With international travel grounded thanks to COVID-19, all of the plans that Duke students carefully laid for the summer came apart at the seams. But Duke’s inherently global nature remains—evident in its diverse student body and celebrated by the Global Baton project.

Started six years ago by Duke’s Office of Global Affairs, the Instagram account allows members of the Duke community to share photos of all the different places across the planet that they work, study and live. “We thought it would be a good way to showcase where Duke was in the world,” said Eve Duffy, associate vice provost for Global Affairs.

This year, Global Affairs’ communicator Amanda Solliday chose a different approach, where student photographers would share images of life in their hometowns. That didn’t go according to plan, either. But by documenting what did happen, it showed something else: “That with their creativity, flexibility, and dedication, our students can connect the globe to their homes,” Duffy said.

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