Global Engagement Portal

Connect with people around the world through conversation, music, art, food, and more.

March 15 - April 29, 2022

Final week is about Arts & Culture! 

This is the final week of this year’s Global Engagement Portal, where we will be joining artists and musicians from around the world for performance and conversation in the immersive video studio in the gold shipping container next to O'Neil Library. 

Swing by during these open sessions, or book a small group for a 45-minute or 60-minute session. We're excited about the lineup and hope students, faculty, staff, and friends can join us:

  • Tues 4/26: Folk/mariachi music from Mexico City
  • Wed 4/27: Drummers in Kigali, Rwanda 
  • Thu 4/28: Folk & rap as protest music in Erbil, Iraq 
  • Fri 4/29: Kora musicians in Bamako, Mali 


The Portal is back! 

We are delighted to announce that the Global Engagement Portal will return to O'Neil Plaza after an 18-month Covid hiatus, and will be open from March 15 to April 29, 2022. This year the Portal sessions will focus on four central themes...

  • Migration
  • Climate
  • Innovation
  • Culture our connections with Portals in seven locations:

  • Bamako, Mali
  • Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
  • Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan
  • Gaza City, Palestine
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Mexico City, Mexico
  • Nakivale, Uganda

To learn more and book sessions: 

Faculty and student groups interested in organizing Portal sessions for your class or student group should read this 2022 Portal Guide (or click the scheudle image at right) for a complete schedule and details about booking.

Questions? Contact IS major Saraphina Birtolo '22 (, lead curator for the Spring 2022 engagement; or faculty director Erik Owens ( 

Global Engagement Portal on O'Neil Plaza, Fall 2019

Click to view detailed schedule and information packet.

What is the Global Engagement Portal?

The Global Engagement Portal is an immersive, high-definition internet video connection that joins two small rooms across the world to provide a sense of spatial continuity, allowing participants to engage with one another naturally, at real-life size, making eye contact. BC's portal is housed in a climate-controlled shipping container at the edge of O'Neil Plaza.

Created by Shared_Studios, Portals have been used for educational, cultural and artistic exchanges, conferences, shared meals, and much more.

Where do they connect?

During the Spring 2022 installationm, the BC Global Engagement Portal will connect with portals in: 

  • Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh [just outside the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp -- one of the world's largest refugee settlements]
  • Bamako, Mali [the innovative Kabakoo Academy, bridging high-tech and indigeneous knowledge]
  • ErbilIraqi Kurdistan  [inside the Harsham IDP camp]
  • Gaza City, Palestine [in the GazaSkyGeeks tech hub/ startup accelerator]
  • Kigali, Rwanda  [at the Impact Hub public arts/social enterprise]
  • Mexico City, Mexico [outside the CCD digital culture musem]
  • Nakivale, Uganda [just outside another of the world's largest refugee settlements]

Faculty and student groups interested in organizing Portal sessions for your class or student group should read this 2022 Portal Guide. Page 3 gives an overview of dates/times and how the four broad themes (innovation, climate, migration, and culture) are presented in the  seven portal locations. Pages 4-12 offer detailed information about the specific topics available for conversation in each session, and page 13 lists representative guests each portal would bring.

Look for dates and times that suit your class or group, being mindful that most sessions repeat on different dates, then book your session(s) of choice on this site, indicating topics of preference from the list provided. Time slot reservations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis beginning February 9.

Each session can accommodate between 6-10 participants in the Portal. Multiple sessions can be booked, back-to-back or on different dates. Note that session times and lengths vary, to approximate the BC class schedule. We recommend a 45-minute minimum engagement time for each group; but groups can rotate through a longer reserved block in 45- or 50-minute sessions.

Global Engagement Portal meetings and meals