Our Motivation

The Global Health Education and Learning Incubator at Harvard University is both an intellectual and physical space where ideas can be shaped toward a shared goal of inspiring innovative learning and teaching about the multidisciplinary global challenges of our age. Our mission reflects seismic shifts of opportunity and need—in world health and in higher education—that demand new strategies and broader dialogue across disciplines, borders, and groups of learners.

A pivotal moment for world health

As global citizens in a rapidly changing world, we live in a moment marked by a deep divide—between disease patterns and cross-border risks, on the one hand, and advances in health-related knowledge, technology, and innovation, on the other. These stark contrasts and disparities—which result from transitions in social dynamics and demographics and result in an ever-worsening paradox of wealth and poverty—are pushing health into the global spotlight. Even within the non-health sectors (e.g., diplomacy, security, development, human rights, urban planning), health has become a crucial factor in the conversation. This context presents an opportunity to enrich and enlarge the global health community.

A pivotal moment for higher education

We also face a new reality in education, which has never been more important to the health of our global society. In a constantly changing global landscape, knowledge is at the heart of skill-building, critical thinking, communication, and informed leadership. Higher education is evolving to meet new needs and opportunities: disciplinary lines blur, student populations are increasingly diverse, and the idea of the “classroom” itself is in the midst of transformation and revolution in concert with advances in digital learning. New challenges coupled with new contexts require creative thinking about instructional design to promote interdisciplinary and integrative learning.