About ISI

The International Studies Institute (ISI) is an umbrella organization for the interdisciplinary undergraduate program in International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico. We currently offer a minor in International Studies and a Major in International Studies. In addition, we host the Contemporary Jewish Studies Lecture Series each spring and fall semester. 


ISI's vision is to advance the understanding of global issues and other regions of the world- their peoples, cultures, developments, and challenges- including those that are of strategic and economic interest to the U.S


Serving the undergraduates and affiliated faculty of each program, our mission is to provide greater opportunities for the advancement and dissemination of knowledge about today's world of the UNM campus and throughout the state of New Mexico. 


The goal of the Institute is to pursue broad-based initiatives such as coordinating lecture series and conferences, reaching out to secondary schools, and supporting an international and interdisciplinary study, research, and outreach programs.

ISI seeks to attract faculty with international experience, and develop relationships with local, regional, and global communities by supporting faculty and student exchange programs to all parts of the world.

How did the program start?

Before 2003, UNM offered many areas of majoring from European Studies to Asian Studies with their own director and scholarships. In 2003 Melissa Bokovoy, current History Department Chair became the first director of what is officially known as the International Studies Institute. Pulling together multiple disciplines Dr. Bokovoy brought together the resources to create what is our reoccurring Fall lecture series each Fall semester. During the same time, Dr. Bokovoy proposed the present International Studies Major which was finally approved in 2009 with the help of her associate director (Christine Sauer) and the students at that time. Built with limited resources and student engagement the ISI had their first official declared student in 2010. Since then, the program been able to retain up to 154 students with an International Studies Major. 

Did you know?

  • The first administrative assistant was hired in 2013.
  • During the 2014-2015 school year, there was a caring donor who donated to the ISI funding to host the reoccurring Contemporary Jewish Studies Lecture Series each Fall and Spring. 
  • The first official full-time faculty member was hired in Spring 2018. 
  • In spring 2015, the ISI officially got their present office space.
  • In Fall 2015, the ISI was able to host their first visiting professor.