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Global Activities Registry: Supporting Travelers and Helping the University Achieve its International Goals

September 7, 2010, Volume 57, No. 02
Global Map

Many members of the Penn community travel abroad each year, whether to teach, study, conduct research, attend conferences, or participate in clinical, volunteer, and performing arts activities. Information about these activities is often dispersed across the University, making planning, support, emergency intervention, and other activities cumbersome, if not impossible. This lack of information also reduces opportunities for collaboration and knowledge transfer.

To help address these challenges, the University has launched the Global Activities Registry, an easy-to-use, PennKey-protected web tool for gathering information about Penn’s international programs and activities, as well as the itineraries and emergency contact information of individual travelers. All faculty, staff, and students traveling abroad for academic, research, clinical, and other University-related purposes are encouraged to use the Registry to register their trips, programs, and activities.

Registry data will be made available to authorized administrators across the University to support pre-travel planning, program development, and collaboration across Schools and disciplines. More immediately, the data will be made available to identify and assist colleagues traveling abroad during natural disasters or other emergent situations; selected data relevant to emergency assistance will be shared with International SOS, the organization that provides Penn travelers with international medical and travel assistance, including emergency evacuation. Registry data will also be linked to an interactive map that will help faculty, staff, and students learn more about Penn groups, programs, and operations around the world. An image of the map, which can be viewed after logging on to the Registry, is shown here.

The Registry is sponsored by the Offices of International Programs, the Provost, the General Counsel, and Information Systems and Computing. Its benefits include:

• A rich knowledge base to support and expand Penn’s international presence.
• Automatic registration of travel plans with International SOS; travelers no longer need to register with ISOS directly.
• Ready access to current travel data by Penn and ISOS, for rapid response in high risk or crisis situations.
• Improved coordination among program directors and administrative support centers to address issues associated with traveling or operating in particular destinations.
• Opportunities for closer interdisciplinary or cross-School collaboration on international research and operations.

The vision for the Registry originated with the Office of International Programs and the International Support Coordinating Group, a cross-University body charged by Provost Vincent Price and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli. To ensure that the Registry would meet the needs of various constituencies, input was gathered at various stages of development from a cross-section of potential users across the University, including faculty, students, and program administrators. The Registry was piloted over the summer with several programs and travelers, who contributed valuable feedback.

For more information about or to log on to the Registry, please visit www.upenn.edu/globalactivities. Once you’ve logged on, you can register your group or individual travel, or explore the interactive map illustrating Penn’s global activities. Questions and feedback about the Registry are welcome at globalact@lists.upenn.edu.

—Anne Waters, Executive Director, Office of International Programs
—Wendy White, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
—Robin Beck, Vice President, Information Systems and Computing

Almanac - September 7, 2010, Volume 57, No. 02