We confront the most urgent and complex challenges facing people and the planet.

By uniting critical scholarship and practice at the intersections of agricultural, environmental, life, and social sciences, we advance a more equitable, sustainable, and food-secure world for all. Side-by-side with our diverse network of global and community partners, we engage in education with impact and create a flourishing world now and for future generations.

With a focus on education with impact, our transdisciplinary approach emphasizes real-world engagement on a global scale — with communities in New York State, across the United States, and around the world. Our dynamic learning atmosphere and academic culture goes beyond purely technical work to provide a balance of skill-building and analytical coursework toward transformative solutions.

A multidisciplinary approach

The world is complex. But we believe understanding is possible.

Wellbeing and inclusion

“A World that Leaves No One Behind”

Studying the causes, manifestations and consequences of poverty and inequality in the global political economy, the histories and legacies of development projects, and alternative models to promote wellbeing

Environmental sustainability

“A Greener World and Greener Economies”

Addressing strategies to mitigate or reverse the effects of climate change, helping people and communities adapt to new environmental realities, and researching the social and political dimensions of human-environment interactions

Food and nutritional security

“Sustainable and Sustaining Food Systems”

Identifying pathways to sustainable food systems while investigating the social and political dynamics of these systems across the cycle from cultivation to distribution, consumption, and recycling

How will you change the world?

Latest news

Discover how Global Development is committed to making a sustainable impact

Ben Houlton and Ram Ramanathan stand together

News

Houlton to Vatican climate summit: Ag is ‘most powerful weapon’

At last week’s Vatican climate change meeting, Ben Houlton (CALS) spoke on how the global agricultural sector could remove large volumes of atmospheric carbon.

  • Agriculture
  • Climate Change
  • Department of Global Development
Woman sits by the water

Field Note

Meet Sammi Lin '23, a recent graduate in the Department of Global Development with a passion for sustainability and equity, particularly in transforming food systems and empowering marginalized communities. Upon graduating in December 2023...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Man herds cows

Field Note

In the face of entrenched conflict, climate change, and poverty in rural Uganda, Ojok Okello embarked on a bold mission to create the first sustainable rural city in the country. As the founder and CEO of Okere City , Ojok engages with residents...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

Land acknowledgement

Cornell University is located on the traditional homelands of the Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' (the Cayuga Nation). The Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' are members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, an alliance of six sovereign Nations with a historic and contemporary presence on this land. The Confederacy precedes the establishment of Cornell University, New York State and the United States of America. 

We acknowledge the painful history of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' dispossession, and honor the ongoing connection of Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ' people, past and present, to these lands and waters.