IILE Programs

The Institute for International Liberal Education

IILE Programs

Special Initiatives

Igbo Dictionary Project

The Igbo Dictionary Project is producing the first comprehensive dictionary of the Igbo language, in the form of a website. The Igbo language is spoken by 30 million people. In creating a dictionary that accurately captures its dialectal richness, the project will restore the richness of a language that was truncated and reduced by colonial powers. The large-scale project involves ethnologic research, scholarly review and editing, and publication.

A prototype of the dictionary will be launched in fall 2009, including (1) the dictionary database, website and wiki, (2) an Igbo text-to-speech engine, (3) an Igbo machine translation engine. The project’s new technique for representing Igbo’s tones may also be applicable to the creation of dictionaries for other tonal African languages.

The dictionary project is directed by Dr. Ike Achebe under the auspices of Bard College, the Chinua Achebe Foundation, and the Chinua Achebe Center, with funding from the Ford Foundation.

Open Studio

The Open Studio is an online studio complex and forum for art students at Bard and Smolny. An offshoot of the Virtual Campus, it is something like a bulletin board in an artist's studio (rather than a professionally presented portfolio), where artists can post not only their own finished (and unfinished) work, but work they're interested in, influenced by, etc. Emphasis is on the student and “production” aspect of art making rather than on buying and selling. (This sets the site apart from Saachi’s Stuart.com and Selfportrait.net.) The innovative design allows visitors to stroll horizontally through the gallery space.

In addition to the studios themselves, the site also includes a magazine and a section devoted to events, such as the series of artists’ visits that is now a regular feature of the project. The site also provides a record of joint Bard-Smolny arts projects such as the exhibitions mounted by students in the Virtual Campus course “Electronic Media Workshop. Landscape and Memory” (taught in 2007 by Peggy Ahwesh at Bard and Masha Godovannaya at Smolny). The Open Studio was developed by Emily Newman, Bard 2000, CalArts 2004.


Virtual Campus

The Virtual Campus (VC) was created in 2000. It offers a space for intellectual and artistic exchanges using information technology, including videoconferencing and the Internet, as well as courseware and other means. 

To date the Virtual Campus has served primarily as a vehicle for increasing integration between Bard and Smolny. In fact it was the Bard-Smolny collaboration that occasioned the development of the Virtual Campus. However, the original idea was broader and the VC has other actual and potential uses.  As the VC website states: 

"The Virtual Campus project seeks to enable students, faculty, and staff at Bard College and our colleagues in other, remote locations to answer the question: How can we best use technology to overcome the obstacles of time and space, conduct an open dialogue, and draw mutual benefit from the intellectual and cultural resources we have to offer each other?"

Currently, the VC is used primarily for co-teaching courses offered by faculty members at Bard and Smolny, and for occasional virtual “class visits” from experts at the other institution. The Bard Globalization and International Affairs program also uses the technology for lectures that originate in New York City and are simulcast at Bard, with live Q&A.

In addition, the VC is used extensively for administrative meetings between Bard and Smolny, including Board of Overseers Meetings, joint meetings of Bard’s Faculty Education Oversight Committee (FEOC) and Smolny’s Methodological Committee, and meetings between staff of the Institute for International Liberal Education at Bard and Smolny.


Words Without Borders

Words Without Borders, the online translation magazine, offers readers in the United States and elsewhere access to what the rest of the world is thinking, feeling, and writing. Each month Words Without Borders features new translations of the world's best writing, selected and translated by a distinguished group of writers, translators, and publishing professionals. Launched in 2003, Words Without Borders has published thousands of pieces from more than 86 countries and 66 languages—all available free on the Internet.


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Institute for International Liberal Education
Bard College, Jim and Mary Ottaway Gatehouse, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
Tel.: 845-758-7835, Fax: 845-758-7040, E-mail: iile@bard.edu