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History of the Royster Global Conference

Through the Royster Global initiative, members of the Royster Society of Fellows at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill lead engagement with graduate education in an increasingly global academic community and professional marketplace. Since 2017, Royster Global aims to increase awareness and understanding of graduate education across international borders and help prepare doctoral students – at UNC-Chapel Hill and beyond – for unprecedented global opportunities for research, networking and employment. Previous conference topics and partner institutions include:

  • 2017 – “Graduate Education in a Global Context: Barriers and Possibilities”
    UNC-Chapel Hill welcomed doctoral students from King’s College London on July 26-30, 2017, for the inaugural Royster Global Conference.
  • 2018 – “Civil Society and the Role of the University”
    Kings College London welcomed doctoral students from UNC-Chapel Hill on July 8-11, 2018, for the second annual Royster Global Conference.
  • 2019 – “Borders”
    UNC-Chapel Hill welcomed doctoral students from partner institutions King’s College London, National University of Singapore, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and Universität Tübingen on May 28-31, 2019, for the third annual Royster Global Conference.
  • 2020 – “PhD and Me: The Third Degree”
    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, doctoral students from UNC-Chapel Hill and King’s College London created a new podcast in lieu of an in-person conference. “PhD and Me” is about the real-life experiences of PhD students walking this sometimes vexing but meaningful path towards the final (third) degree.
  • 2021 – “Tenacity in Turbulent Times”
    The conference, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drew participants from UNC-Chapel Hill, King’s College London, Hamburg University, Universität Tübingen, Tampere University, and National University of Singapore on four Fridays in June 2021.


King’s College London (KCL) is the inaugural partner of the initiative, with the Royster Society of Fellows hosting KCL doctoral students in summer 2017 and KCL hosting Royster fellows in summer 2018.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s collaboration with King’s College London, a research-led public university in the heart of London founded in 1828, exemplifies a commitment to building robust and multi-level global partnerships. In 2006, UNC-Chapel Hill and King’s College London established the UNC-King’s Strategic Alliance, initiated between UNC-Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences and King’s School of Arts and Humanities and School of Social Science and Public Policy.  The alliance has expanded to become one of the most ambitious partnerships between U.S. and U.K. universities, including long-standing and emerging joint activity in teaching, research and other initiatives in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, law and health affairs.

In its third year, Royster Global expanded to include the participation of graduate students from three additional institutions: the National University of Singapore, Universidad San Francisco de Quito and the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. Graduate students from the five universities collaborated on presentations and other activities within the four-day event at UNC-Chapel Hill.


Third Annual Royster Global Conference, UNC-Chapel Hill May 28-31, 2019

King's College London Summer 2018 Global Conference July 2018

UNC Chapel Hill Summer 2017 Global Conference July 2017