The precursor of the Center for the Study of Global Change was the Indiana Center on Global Change and World Peace (ICGCWP), founded in 1989 by John P. Lovell, a professor of Political Science. A five-year grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation provided the initial funding. Focused on creating a community of young scholars, the ICGCWP identified and supported ten graduate students per year with annual stipends and participation in a variety of dedicated programs, workshops, and classes. Jack Hopkins, SPEA professor, was the next ICGCWP Director during the period 1994-1996.
In 1996, N. Brian Winchester took on the center leadership, changing the name to the Center for the Study of Global Change (Global Center) to represent a broader global focus rooted in the deeper internationalization of Indiana University and beyond. The Global Center's audience expanded to include pre-collegiate, undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate students, as well as the media, business, and general public. It has been a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center. The Global Center has emerged as a national and international leader in international curriculum, K-12 teacher training, public outreach, and the use of interactive technologies to support and promote global learning, creating the original IU undergraduate International Studies Minor, as well as PhD Minors in Global Studies and Human Rights.
In 2011, Hilary E. Kahn became the Director of the Global Center. Under her leadership, the center has continued its excellence in internationalization of teaching and learning, has developed a stronger emphasis on global research and scholarship, and has engaged in innovative partnerships and networks that have further expanded the reach of the center. The Ph.D. Minor in Global Studies and the Framing the Global Project, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in partnership with IU Press, represent an emerging model for a more grounded and critical approach to global studies. The Muslim Voices Project, supported by the Social Science Research Council and in partnership with WFIU and others, exemplifies the public scholarship, utilization of social media, and global conversations that the Global Center currently pursues and encourages.