Students form new ILR Global Affairs Club

IGAC is first ILR undergraduate club devoted to international issues
Students Form New ILR Global Affairs Club
Friday, August 15, 2008

"We are delighted to support a new student-led initiative… The ILR Global Affairs Club will foster discussion and debate around international topics, provide an outlet for leadership and learning about international opportunities that add to your undergraduate experience, and whatever else you as students decide it should do... We strongly encourage undergraduate students to participate." –Dean Harry Katz

When the ILR School created the Department of International and Comparative Labor a few years ago, it signaled the increasing importance of international issues in today's workplace.  Subjects such as globalization and multinational governance have become frequented topics of workplace study.

ILR Dean Harry Katz commented on the new international initiatives, "As you know the ILR School has been placing more emphasis on international issues during the last few years. We are offering more international courses, grants to undergraduate students for international travel related to their theses and WISPs, and more international exchange opportunities and internships."  In many ways the academic issues surrounding this department and initiative represent the future of labor-management relations and as a result, Katz went on to state, "We are happy to note the significant increased student interest in international issues at the [ILR] School."

The heightened interest spurred the creation of ILR's Global Affairs Club (IGAC) on the initiative of ILR Senior, Lakhpreet Gill.  Last spring, Gill started working with the ILR International Programs Office to form a new student club from the ground up.  After gathering a group of motivated students to serve as board members for the club, the newly formed IGAC Executive Board worked throughout the summer (coordinating from three different continents!) to ensure the club would have a solid basis for its inaugural school year in 2008-2009.

IGAC's stated mission is to capture the diverse objectives and perspectives of the international workplace in one central sphere that can cater to student interests. In considering this, IGAC's External Opportunities Manager, Jillian Szymonifka states, "IGAC will provide students at Cornell the opportunity to broaden their international understanding through initiatives undertaken within and outside of the ILR School under some of the leading names in the field."

IGAC was founded in order to offer outlets for interested student to explore international work issues and foster discussion on issues outside of the classroom.  Blair Lapres, IGAC's Vice-President, comments on the new club, "We hope to make the club into an international management and labor practicum for students wishing both to gain knowledge of international labor affairs and to utilize this knowledge in a way that can potentially change the world.  It is my hope that the club will function in part as an international advocacy group for those labor issues with international consequence."

The club's founders have established IGAC as a neutral organization that will serve the interests of both labor activists and business enthusiasts.  Since IGAC seeks to foster open discussion and debate around international topics, it will strive to provide outlets for leadership and learning to complement ILR classroom instruction with applied experience. Club advisors are Robin Remick, ILR International Programs, and Professor Lisa Nishii.

Interested students are encouraged to become members and apply to serve in one of the many leadership positions available.  As a member you may help to:

  • connect with alumni and businesses to find relevant job opportunities
  • coordinate events featuring alumni and prominent leaders from abroad
  • explore international service learning projects
  • channel globally oriented campus events & courses to students
  • host regular topic forums
  • be a resource center for students looking for educational travel opportunities

So be sure to attend IGAC's first meeting Monday, September 8th at 4:30 pm in Ives 108 to share your ideas and get involved!

Contact Blair Lapres at or Preeti Gill at with any questions or concerns.