You can earn a Certificate in Global Public Affairs (in addition to your MPP, MURP, or MSW degree) by registering for any of the following 4 clusters and completing 3 courses within the chosen academic area. 

Please reference GPA Policies for full details about obtaining a certificate.

Global Environment and Resources

The Arrival of Cortés by Diego Rivera, 1951

This painting is part of a viewing sequence that Diego Rivera painted in the Palacio Nacional de Mexico. Here, Rivera makes vividly clear the attendant violence and exploitation of the Spanish conquerors in the Americas. The painting serves as a reminder of the ways the “environment” and its resources have been conceived of and appropriated throughout colonialism, and that such histories cannot be removed from contemporary debates over the future of the global environment.

Global Health and Social Services

Ward of Arles Hospital, by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

Vincent van Gogh painted Ward of Arles Hospital, during his last months when he himself was confined to the hospital. Van Gogh is perhaps better known for his paintings of outdoor scenery. In this painting one feels the emotional weight of isolation and confinement in the ward, represented by the exaggerated length of the corridor and the nervous contours that delineate the figures within it. Art in this instance is a call to those working within the realm of global public health to consider the fragility of the human condition, and the ways in which this condition has changed since the late 19th century.

Global Processes and Institutions

Imperial Federation Map of the World Showing the Extent of the British Empire in 1886, by Walter Crane, 1886

This quintessentially imperial map at once encapsulates the culture of high Victorian imperialism in a single iconic image conjoining the infrastructure of empire and imperial fantasy. Interestingly, it was recently discovered that the failure of the map to credit its maker—Walter Crane—was a result of Crane’s socialist politics. Close observation reveals the inclusion, at the top of the map, of the red Phrygian cap worn by liberated slaves in ancient Rome, and which was later adopted as a French revolutionary symbol of liberty and widely used as an anti-colonial icon in the nineteenth century. The maker’s politics aside, the map serves as a reminder of the very foundations of global processes and institutions as we know them today.

Global Urbanization and Regional Development

Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, by David Hockney, 1980

Painted from memory in just a few weeks, Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio is the largest of Hockney’s canvases. It captures the landscape through Los Angeles’ quintessential activity: driving. While the painting, among others, is said to evidence Hockney’s great affection for the city that has been his home since the 60s, one must question the ways in which such processes of urbanization—the proliferation of the automobile—has been subsumed into cultural iconography and the urban imagination.

Art and its purpose—to provoke, to remember

Art has many purposes and representing the world through the arts is a feature of the human experience since at least the Neolithic area.  The earliest known paintings, on the walls of the caves in Lascaux in southwestern France (30,000 years ago approximately) show emotion, admiration and fear with regard to hunted animals and are thought to have a “story line” about challenge, respect and bravery. But most art that we have since humans became agriculturalists and have lived in sedentary societies has had a clear role of celebrating whatever social order or structure of power was in place at the time, especially the royal or religious order of societies.  In the modern period, art has expanded its range of purposes, from simply being beautiful to celebrating the social order to critiquing it, to exploring human perception and psychology, and for many other reasons.  Whatever the reason that art is produced, the visual environment affects us.  It is a powerful way of “representing,” whether by being explicit about what it is saying or by giving us a sense of the order of things, of beauty and ugliness, of power, of desire and repulsion.  Much of our visual environment’s effect on us is “between the lines,” so deep that we have difficulty getting any distance from it.

GPA’s website has several images drawn from the arts, and we will be adding more over time.  They are not meant to be pretty, but to be thought-provoking, to help us think about our areas of teaching and research, and to help us remember some painful things as well.  Just like words, data, and other types of information, images and representation are important tools in bringing about positive change, but they can also be used to stymie such change. They can shed light, but they can also obscure and manipulate.

We therefore invite the visitors to our website to think about these images.  Feel free to share your impressions with us.  Feel free to suggest other images that help us think and understand, that sharpen our minds as engaged actors committed to building a better world.