March 29, 2021
To Friends of the Hamilton Lugar School,
A year ago, I sent this note of appreciation to the Hamilton Lugar School community for the inspiring support and response of our students, faculty, and staff to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few days removed from our fifth conference on America’s Role in the World, we did not imagine how profoundly the novel coronavirus would upend daily life and the way we learn, work, and relate to one another. Twelve months on, I see how much we’ve learned about ourselves: we’re stronger than we knew; we retain a sense of community during difficult times; and the School’s mission of providing a global education is critical to the future of our country and world.
The pandemic’s first anniversary has delivered bright spots and tragedy. We are wrapping up our celebration of Women’s History Month, where we featured daily spotlights on faculty and guests making a mark in their fields, from African Studies and climate change to human rights and international law. We have also watched with pride as many recent HLS speakers and visitors to campus prepare to take roles in the new administration, including William Burns (CIA Director), Pete Buttigieg (Secretary of Transportation), Catherine Coleman Flowers (White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council), Bonnie Jenkins (Under Secretary for Arms Control & International Security Affairs-designate), Kelly Magsamen (Department of Defense Chief of Staff), Janet McCabe (EPA Deputy Administrator-designate), Brian McKeon (Deputy Secretary of State for Management & Resources), Samantha Power (United States Agency for International Development Administrator-designate), Wendy Sherman (Deputy Secretary of State-designate), and Jake Sullivan (National Security Advisor).
We have, however, also borne witness to a terrifying spike in hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the murderous rampage in the Atlanta area that killed eight people. Last Thursday, HLS and the Maurer School of Law co-hosted an important faculty discussion on understanding the roots and current manifestations of racism and misogyny faced by Asian-Pacific women and practical ways to make change. I added remarks about the global dimensions of anti-Asian racism and the Atlanta-area murders and reiterated our statement of solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Hamilton Lugar family and around the world.
Scholarship and teaching is our main path to deepening global awareness and understanding. Generous donors continue to make this possible for our students and school with new gifts to endow two professorships. A $1.65M gift from the Korea Foundation and IU alumni Young-Jin Kim and William (Won-Suk) Joo will endow the Korea Foundation Professorship in Korean Studies. A $1.5M gift from the Tang Research Foundation will endow a professorship in Silk Road Studies. These generous gifts reinforce IU’s tradition of excellence in area studies, at a time when it is most needed.
To learn more about the stories shaping and strengthening our community, subscribe to our newsletter: Globally Engaging Together.
Thank you for your support and generosity in providing the teaching, learning, and research the world needs. When I look at all our school community has achieved over the last year, I can’t help but feel hopeful and invigorated. I wish the same for you.