Racial Justice & Diversity
Overcoming entrenched social inequities and reflecting on the different dimensions of privilege have become ever more urgent tasks in and outside of universities today. Structural racism and sexism remain urgent problems in the United States. Yet active social movements give us hope that our country is ready to reckon with its shameful past – and present. The European region that we study spans nations and groups that each have their own particular histories of patriarchy, colonialism, fascism, authoritarianism, and persecution of migrants and religious minorities. Many of them have developed ways of working through past and present violence. We believe that there is much that the transatlantic partners can learn from each other if we want to build a more inclusive and equitable world.
Even as we endeavor to educate students to be transatlantic leaders in a world riven with enduring injustices, we acknowledge that can only do so if we also redress discrimination and marginalization in the way we do business in our home institution. Georgetown University has taken some steps to address its own implication in the enslavement of Black people; but confronting the history of the indigenous owners of the land on which it is located has scarcely begun. Tackling class differences in an elite institution, and overcoming sexism and homophobia in a university rooted in an all-male religious tradition pose structural challenges. We are buoyed by, and whole-heartedly embrace, the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s commitment to global antiracism and to confronting and overcoming bias in our institutional culture. The BMW Center is delighted to partner with the new SFS Vice Dean on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Scott Taylor, to ensure that the Center is a diverse and inclusive community equipping global leaders for a pluralistic world. Read more about the University Leadership Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in International Affairs Education’s work here.
We have undertaken a climate survey of students and alumni and organized public events about questions of gender and racial justice. Over the past two years, we have increased the percentage of our guest speakers who are members of underrepresented groups.
We have long been committed to recruiting diverse cohorts, including students from underrepresented communities; to step up these efforts we have made standardized tests optional for all applicants, reached out to prospective students from historically Black and Hispanic-service colleges and universities, and reviewed our admissions process for implicit bias. This year we are undertaking a syllabi review to ensure that topics and authors reflect the diversity of the world for which we want to prepare our students, and to ensure that intellectual inquiry takes place in an environment that is respectful of differences. We will continue to work closely with our students, alumni, and partners to identify and address systemic and institutional inequities.