Over the past 10 days, protests against the killing of George Floyd have spread across the United States, and beyond, to places like London, Milan, Rio de Janeiro and Sydney.
While the U.S. protests against Floyd’s death and other acts of violence against Black people arise in response to this country’s unique historical context of deeply embedded racism, it is clear from the international response that many others see themselves in this experience and grapple with underlying inequities rooted in their own national contexts and power structures.
We are also seeing around the world and in the U.S. how the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in global systems and exacerbated disparities between those who have access to resources and those who do not. Violence against people of color and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities are not discrete problems – both result from systemic racism.
International education is founded on the belief that we have something to learn from each other and that it’s imperative to listen and create dialogues within and across difference. We don’t send students abroad to maintain the status quo. We create encounters where we can learn from one another in order to change the stories we tell, unveil prejudices and stereotypes, and also to find other models and understandings.
While our work takes us into this at the international scale, we recognize our responsibility to be part of this dialogue also in our campus community and in the U.S.
We commit to joining the university in its comprehensive review of policies and procedures to ensure they are anti-racist, and to working with students, faculty and staff to effect change on campus. We will continue to engage with organizations that are moving this dialogue to the center in our professional community. And we will use our network of global partnerships to foster the emerging global dialogue and create new opportunities for action.
We understand that effecting change will take sustained effort. And we believe that as international educators, we have an important role to play. We see this is central to what we do and how we prepare students to engage with the world and lead lives of meaning. Together, we can do better.
Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs