In 1991, a group of students received approval from the University to organize a new International House in Dorchester Hall to bring together international and domestic students at the University. Students organized events that encouraged cross-cultural understanding including the first Cultural Explosion in 1992—a showcase of international students' talents and a campus tradition that continues to this day.
The International House formally joined other living-learning programs in 2001 as a global competencies program and changed its name to Global Communities in 2002. Courses and programming focused on intercultural communication skills and brought together international and domestic students, exchange students and transfer students from all disciplines and cultural backgrounds.
With the launch of the university's Global Studies Minors in 2011 the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences partnered with the Provost to sponsor a stronger global studies program headed by academic director, Dr. Virginia Haufler. The program expanded in size, staff, resources and ambition. Global Communities became an invitation-only program for academically talented students, combining the original program’s focus on developing intercultural sensitivity with new interdisciplinary courses on globalization and global issues.
In 2022, building on strengths in the existing program, Global Communities became Honors Global Communities. Now part of the Honors College, and under the leadership of director Dr. Sarah Croco, the program empowers students to understand and engage major global challenges through an approach integrating multiple social science fields and analytical methods, and also to develop an ethics of global accountability, interrelation, and social justice.