Graduates with globalization on the brain will soon have the opportunity to earn their master’s degree in Global and International Studies, thanks to a new $500,000 per-year grant from the Orfalea Family Foundation of Santa Barbara.

Lois Mitchell, executive director for the Orfalea Family Foundation, said UCSB received the first portion of the grant last week, following several years of negotiation between the Orfalea family, the university and the Global Studies Dept. The funding will go toward creating the new graduate program, scheduled to open in Fall 2006, as well as to the construction of a new graduate students center. The program will recruit new applicants over the next year.

“This was not an overnight decision …” Mitchell said. “We truly look upon this as a partnership, as UCSB is committed each year with providing facilities, staff and support toward a successful program. The way the grant is structured it could take as long as nine to 10 years [to be fully dispersed], or we have the option of making an earlier lump sum.”

The new program will differ from other universities’ global studies master’s programs, said Richard Appelbaum, sociology and global studies professor, and chair of the new program’s planning committee. He said it will focus on preparing students for nonprofit work or for careers in international government and multinational business, such as environmental protection, economic development and human rights. Appelbaum said the M.A. program will help expand the career opportunities for global studies graduates.

“This program will provide a new kind of education for a new kind of career,” Appelbaum said. “International non-government organizations have become leaders of global civil society, and we want to help prepare the leaders for these organizations.” According to a UCSB press release, the university will also build the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies to provide support for M.A. candidates and to help plan conferences, seminars and public programs.

The Orfalea family, which wanted to provide financial assistance to community, educational and child development programs, created the Orfalea Family Foundation in 2000. Paul Orfalea — the founder of Kinko’s chain of copy shops — and his wife Natalie have also made donations to UCSB in the past, including to the Orfalea Family Children’s Center and the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education’s Autism Research and Training Center.

Paul Orfalea, who is also a visiting professor in the Global and International Studies Dept., said he hopes the master’s program will help students further understand the processes through which people communicate in the international landscape.

In a press release, Orfalea said the UCSB program will be one of the first in the country to focus on issues surrounding globalization.

“As the world becomes more interconnected, we need to understand the processes and interactions that bring people together across traditional boundaries …” he said in the release. “We are delighted to support the campus in this significant endeavor.”

Chancellor Henry Yang said in a press release that he thinks the new M.A. program could help UCSB become a frontrunner in the field of global studies.

“UCSB is extremely grateful to Paul, Natalie and the Orfalea Family Foundation for their extraordinary contribution to global and international studies and the excellence of the campus,” Yang said in the release. “Their vision and commitment to create a program and center that focus on the complex issues of globalization will set the international standard for this dynamic interdisciplinary field.”