With new shield, Jackson School reflects ambitions, global perspective

Introducing the new Jackson School’s shield, which is divided into quarters and features blue and white horizontal stripes and two gold armillary spheres.

It has its first dean, several new world-class faculty members, and soon, two additional buildings on campus.

Now, the new Jackson School of Global Affairs, which on July 1 will become Yale’s first new professional school since 1976, has unveiled its shield.

The design of a shield is part of Yale’s long-standing heraldic tradition — each of Yale’s professional schools and undergraduate residential colleges has a distinctive shield as part of its visual identity.

The Jackson School’s shield is divided into quarters and features blue and white horizontal stripes and two gold armillary spheres. The colors and symbolism were chosen to visually represent the broad theme of navigation and the joining of disparate interests that is fundamental to cooperation in a global context.

The shield is divided into quarters to represent a balanced distribution of power among individuals, families, political alliances, or business organizations — as in a marriage or other committed joint venture.

The primary quarters of the Jackson School shield, the first and fourth, display an armillary — an ancient device, developed in China and Greece in the fourth and third centuries BCE, respectively. It was used throughout Europe and Asia in Early Modern times. Armillary spheres modelled the apparent positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars related to the Earth, providing solutions to various timekeeping, navigational, geometric, and astronomical problems. They also served as a tool for teaching about these matters in a geocentric context.

The armillary spheres displayed on this shield symbolize the range of complex issues that will be addressed by the Jackson School. They reference the work of the world’s nations, cultures, and organizations to understand their opportunities for growth and advantage while confronting the practical challenges of competitive coexistence.

The design of the second and third quadrants is based on the international maritime signal flag that represents the letter “J” for Jackson. Coincidentally, the “J” signal flag is blue and white —the colors of Yale University. The level design of these quarters represents peace and perspective — as in the long view of the horizon over a calm sea.

The design project for the Jackson School shield was led by John Gambell, head of Yale’s Office of the University Printer, with input from Jackson students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

I’m thrilled to introduce the Jackson School’s new shield to the university community,” said Jim Levinsohn, Jackson’s director and dean-designate. “This handsome emblem represents Jackson’s ambitions and its forward-looking, global perspective. I look forward to seeing the Jackson School shield displayed proudly for years to come!”

The Jackson School — now called the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs — promotes education and scholarship on global affairs at Yale. The institute is home to Yale’s master in public policy in global affairs, a master of advanced study in global affairs and the undergraduate major in global affairs. Jackson’s interdisciplinary academic programs inspire and prepare Yale students for global leadership and service.

In 2019, the Yale Board of Trustees approved plans to expand the institute into a professional school that will train and equip a new generation of leaders to devise thoughtful, evidence-based solutions for challenging global problems.

The Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs will officially open on July 1, 2022. Learn more about the future of Jackson.

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