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Penn is turning its focus toward becoming even more global.

The School of Arts and Sciences will introduce an international development minor to the Political Science Department. The minor was approved by the faculty in December according to Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dennis DeTurck.

College senior and current Dean's Advisory Board member, Julia Cohen first proposed the introduction of the minor to DAB.

“It’s a great demonstration of how someone’s ideas on paper can turn into a real initiative,” DAB co-chair and College junior Louise Wang said.

After Cohen’s initial idea DAB created a proposal to be presented to various academic departments in order to find a home for the minor.

DAB also conducted surveys to see what specific areas of study students wanted to see included in the minor, according to College senior Anish Mehta, head of the DAB initiative.

The proposal included a potential curriculum composed of courses taken from various departments, including Political Science, Economics, International Relations, History and Health and Societies, Wang said.

The minor finally found a home in the Political Science Department, which approved it at the end of last semester.

“Students will be able to add it to their worksheets soon. We’re pleased to be able to add this important option to our curriculum,” DeTurck said, referencing the virtual checklists where students track progress on their graduation requirements.

College sophomore Marwa Ibrahim is already planning to declare the minor.

She was one of many students who signed and forwarded the e-mail petition sent out by the DAB last year to gain support for the study of international development at Penn.

Ibrahim, who hails from Egypt, said “it means a huge deal that Penn will be offering academic insight about the development process, especially for those of us who witnessed the urgency of people’s needs in countries struggling with development and are very eager to provide help where it’s most lacking.”

Mehta described the study of international development as “a trendy thing for people to study these days at a lot of colleges.”

He added that it is especially important at Penn, which is “pushing for international awareness but has no formal way for students to study it.”

College junior and DAB co-chair Amelia Williams added that students of the current and subsequent generations will be part of a global world.

“Studies need to suit this new environment,” she said. “We’re super excited to be giving kids in the College new opportunities.”

Mehta also hopes that the minor will not be the final effort in bringing international development to Penn.

“It would be great if this minor could be used as a stepping stone to a larger international development program at Penn,” he said. “For now, we’re just really proud that this initiative has come so far.”

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