Saint Louis University

In the Spring of 2001, Saint Louis University launched a new initiative known as the Atlas Program. This one-week program was designed to recognize the international dimension of Saint Louis University's academic programs and to celebrate SLU's role in international education and service in light of our Jesuit tradition. The primary goal of the Atlas Program is to increase awareness of the global issues that confront us today in an effort not only to promote discussion, but to inspire and inform action. It focuses on what we as global citizens can do to contribute to a better life for all people now and in the future. The Atlas Program epitomizes the Jesuit mission of SLU and highlights how SLU truly is a place where "knowledge touches lives."

We chose the name Atlas for this unique initiative for the same reasons that travelers, leaders, and historians throughout the centuries have commonly used an atlas. This instrument allows its users to discern where they have been, discover where they are, and decide where they are headed. The Atlas logo features a compass point to emphasize the global vision of Saint Louis University.

During the Atlas Program, students, faculty, and staff from across the University participate by organizing events which highlight the international dimensions of their programs. The Signature Symposium, presented by internationally renowned speakers who have dedicated their lives to issues of political and social justice, is traditionally held on Thursday of the week. The weeklong celebration culminates on Friday with the Billiken World Festival. The Parade of Nations kicks off the event, which also features live cultural music and dance, academic and informational booths, carnival games and international cuisine.

The Atlas Program is unique in that, for one week of the year, it brings together members of the University community to focus on the global challenges that confront us in the 21st century. The events held during week are designed to achieve five main goals:

  1. To educate our students and increase their awareness of issues of global injustice
  2. To inspire and inform student activism regarding issues of global injustice
  3. To build a community of scholars at SLU whose teaching and research focuses on global challenges by forging interdisciplinary ties and collaboration across the university
  4. To foster faculty and student cooperation in the area of international service
  5. To promote cross-cultural understanding

Information on the last few years is available on the left-side menu.  The schedule of events and key-note speaker information for Atlas Week events from 2009 - 2012 can be easily accessed.  If you desire a broader history of activities, please contact Michelle Lorenzini at