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For many years, the University of Chicago's Area Studies Centers have brought the world to the University's campus by sponsoring and organizing lectures, conferences, and performances by globally-recognized academics, political leaders, and artists. Today, the University of Chicago Area and International Studies Multimedia Outreach Source (CHIASMOS) aims to bring those events to students, teachers, and the general public in Chicago and throughout the world.

The nickname of the project (from the Greek, meaning "crossing") is indicative of its collaborators' intent to cross not only international borders but also the boundaries that have traditionally separated universities from the general public.

CHIASMOS is a collaborative project of the Center for International Studies, the Human Rights Program, the Center for East Asian Studies, the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the South Asian Language and Area Center, and the Chicago Media Initiatives Group. It is funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Education.