The Global History Lab (GHL) is a platform for learning, skill development and collaboration in the creation of new narratives across global divides. Using cutting-edge technologies, innovative pedagogical practices, and training in oral history methods, the GHL educates students about the history of globalisation and prepares them to become knowledge producers for a wider world. The program enlists universities and NGOs to engage in a new model of global education through peer-to-peer exchanges. It pushes the study and application of history into new humanitarian frontiers by integrating displaced peoples and refugees into its network. It promotes human capabilities of understanding by developing narrative voices and listening skills between strangers. The GHL is committed to the pursuit of the production of knowledge about the global past globally — in a way that is innovative, economical and reaches across the world’s fractures.


In September 2023 the Global History Lab moved from its founding home at Princeton University to the University of Cambridge, working with Cambridge Online Education to provide the online platform for learning. The Global History Lab is supported by Open Society Foundations.

Previous to its relocation to Cambridge, the GHL received a multi-year grant from the Open Society University Network (OSUN)in 2020. With this expansion came a move from Princeton’s Department of History, where the GHL was founded in 2012, to the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS). With its new OSUN partners, the Central European University(CEU) and Bard College, the GHL expanded its global reach to international students at over twenty-five institutions and NGOs worldwide.

Explore the full list of our Worldwide Partnerships, and read more about our Courses Across Borders.

Courses Across Borders

The Global History Lab (GHL) is a platform for learning, skill development and collaboration in the creation of new narratives across global divides.

How does it work?

The GHL program begins with its first course, History of the World or ‘HOW’, which is a course about world history from 1300 to the present. Students at our 28 partner institutions work in teams, solving common historical problems and posting their work in a shared gallery space where fellow GHL students across the globe comment and collaborate. HOW has two goals. First, to teach global history globally. It encourages students to engage with each other to debate the dynamics of integration and disintegration across borders. Second, it bridges the divide between refugees and non-refugees, stateless strangers and host country students. HOW is the world’s first course to merge refugees and non-refugees into a single, collaborative, learning ecosystem. Refugees feel included in the historical mosaic; non-refugees learn from their stateless peers.

The GHL’s second course, Qualitative Research Methods, carries deep exchange one more step by enabling all of the GHL’s learners, including refugee learners, and their collaborators to transition from consumers of knowledge into producers of knowledge. By integrating refugee learners and host community learners to design collaborative oral history projects narrating the lives of strangers and their new neighbours, students work to create studies and stories about migration, resettlement, integration, and exclusion. Once complete, students are invited to share their oral history projects with the greater global community on the Global History Dialogues website. 

Pedagogical innovation

Unlike most online—and even traditional—history courses, in which students learn parallel to each other, the GHL’s emphasis on collaboration, conversation, and connection places interaction at the heart of the classroom, both digital and physical. A network of partner institutions offers the course concurrently, meaning students participate in local classrooms embedded in the larger global whole. This blended model, wherein students use an online platform to watch lectures and interact with distant peers, and meet with local colleagues for in-person discussions and assignments, increases the time students are able to spend working with and learning from each other.

Global learning in a global classroom

The use of digital technologies allows for collaboration across oceans, borders, and time zones. By partnering with institutions of higher education in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, the GHL welcomes the world into the classroom. As students work with their local peers in both courses, they rely on their counterparts around the world to teach them about other topics and sources. Interdependence is built into the class structure, and students are encouraged to see their peers, near and far, as contributors to the program’s growing reservoir of shared knowledge. The many perspectives that students bring to the classroom, and the narratives they study and create with each other, both enrich learners’ experience in the class and suggest possibilities for global histories that are more polyphonic, dialogic, and decentered.

Humanitarian history

From its inception, the GHL has been committed to including refugee and migrant learners, a commitment that has profoundly shaped the GHL over the years. It is the first program to include refugee and non-refugee learners in the same global classroom.

The GHL is unique not only for its class makeup, but also for its content as history, particularly historical narratives, are central to how we understand the world and make sense of the strangers that inhabit it. Moreover, the work of historical inquiry, from analysing primary sources, to creating narratives with other members of a team, to presenting findings in written and oral form, develops and hones a myriad of transferrable skills. The GHL thus challenges the prioritisation of vocational training in emergency higher education contexts, making a case for the importance of historical understanding and insight in our fractured world, and for the broad utility of the historian’s toolkit.


Jeremy Adelman

Emanuelle Degli Esposti
Postdoctoral Researcher

Richard Latham Lechowick
Postdoctoral Researcher

Candie Furber
Programme Coordinator (

Emily East
Course Coordinator (Cambridge Online Education) ( )


One of the principles of the GHL is to have teams of students engage with each other across borders, to learn the history of the world globally. Along the way, they learn about conflict and teamwork and connectedness. To that end, we rely on partners. The original GHL partner institutions were universities in Greece (Panteion University), France (Sciences Po), Rwanda (Kepler University), and Germany (Potsdam University). In the fall of 2019, we began collaborating with the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative in Uganda to work in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement.

In the fall of 2020, with funding from the Open Society University Network (OSUN), our partnerships expanded and became a global network. A full list of collaborators for the expanded GHL program can be found below.

GHL Program Partners for the 2022-23 Academic Year:


Global History Lab events
Global History Lab launch event
8 May 2024 17:00 - 19:00, The Pitt Building, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RP

An event to mark the launch of the Global History Lab at CRASSH.

Course 1: A History of the World

For the better part of a decade, the Global History Lab (GHL) has offered an online, global course, ‘A History of the World’, that invites international learners to study the history of the world, together. Now known as ‘HOW’, the course is innovative for both its pedagogical approach and its humanitarian one: the GHL’s many partner institutions enrol and support refugee and migrant students who are too often excluded from higher education. This course not only expands the educational opportunities available to refugee learners, but also understands their voices and narratives as part of global history. The GHL’s global classroom is thus not only a learning medium, but also learning material, and has sparked new projects, conversations, and ideas about what it means to teach, learn, and create global history.

An adventure into history that I will never forget.
– Arleha Pimenava, GHL student, European Humanities University (EHU), Vilnius, Lithuania

Introduction to ‘HOW’

By Professor Jeremy Adelman, creator and director of the Global History Lab.

Course 2: Qualitative Research Methods

Continuing the conversation: ‘History Dialogues’ and the right to research

In 2019, the GHL launched the pilot for a second blended course: History Dialogues (HD, now Qualitative Research Methods QRM)

The objectives of this course are to introduce students to research methods that they can apply to their own storytelling capacities.  Qualitative Research Methods (hereafter QRM) explores qualitative methodologies practiced by historians, sociologists, and anthropologists.  QRM presumes that students have taken the precursor course, History of the World (HOW), which provides students with the following foundations:

  1. An understanding of global and cross-border historical dynamics that integrate and disintegrate the world.
  2. Interpretation of curated primary documents in the Case Studies.
  3. Elements of narration, from the development of “narrative mapping” skills to collaborative papers presented on the HOW Gallery.
  4. Familiarity with the use of the online platform for connected learning across borders.

QRM is specifically designed to build on those foundations by giving learners the tools to develop from being the consumers of knowledge to becoming producers.  To that end, new skills are required.  Specifically, QRM builds the following research capabilities:

  1. How to analyze different kinds of sources.
  2. Creating oral history sources, including how to secure permissions, consider ethical and legal responsibilities, and best practices for interviewing.
  3. Creating visual history sources
  4. Using electronic devices (especially smart phones) as research tools.
  5. Creating archives.
  6. How to design a research project.
  7. Enlisting feedback from peers.

Like HOW, this course is 12 weeks long and includes videos, weekly readings, weekly assignments, and weekly class time.

At the end of QRM, learners will be required to present finished drafts of a research prospectus that outlines their subject, sources, methods, and workflow plan – including contingencies.  Students who pass QRM will be invited to participate in the last segment offered by the Global History Lab, to apply their prospectus with peer engagement and supervision by a Teaching Fellow, and to present their results at a global conference in mid-July called “Crossing Borders.”  Students are also welcome to post their final results on the website, Global History Dialogues.

RHEAP: Refugee Higher Education Access Program

The Refugee Higher Education Access Program (RhEAP), co-designed by Bard College, The Princeton Global History Lab and Arizona State University, is for learners who require additional university-level preparation to seamlessly transition into the Hubs’ clusters or full degree programs.

The PIIRS Global History Lab at Princeton University helped to design, implement and lead RHEAP, or Refugee Higher Education Access Program, at the Open Society University Network’s (OSUN) Hubs for Connected Learning. In the fall of 2021, the GHL was instrumental in piloting RHEAP at OSUN’s East African Hub.

About the RhEAP Program

RhEAP is simultaneously globally influenced and locally contextualized, featuring universally acknowledged best-practices—from student-centered to project-based learning—and locally rooted approaches to addressing  students’ psycho-social and emotional learning needs. RhEAP is designed around big questions that thread through the modules; learners are invited to consider such questions through various disciplinary lenses and via different methodological approaches. Courses are offered in a blended format and all courses have on-the-ground facilitators who are refugees themselves and are trained by the OSUN faculty.

Learning Modules

  • Module 1: English/ICT/critical thinking skills building
  • Module 2: Humanities and social sciences
  • Module 3: STEM
  • Module 4: Transition to the integrated classroom through an OSUN Network Collaborative course
  • Module 5: Application preparation

Further details


Tel: +44 1223 766886