The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to reaffirm our core values as a community

We are a global university—and increasingly so. Our students, faculty, and staff hail from more than 100 countries around the world. I have long believed that universities can and should be models for society. Our enduring commitment to the advancement of knowledge means that we find strength in the differences within our community. As a university, we are comprised of an incredible array of identities and heritages and represented by diverse ethnicities, races, beliefs, political ideologies, backgrounds, and traditions.

This diversity is a source of tremendous strength and should be celebrated—not merely tolerated.

At its best, our diversity should be pluri, not multi. What does this mean? It means that we do not want our differences to simply co-exist alongside one another. We can do even better. It is through the integration of our differences that we truly benefit as a community. It is through this kind of plurality that we become a genuinely global institution.

While we should actively engage different opinions and points of view—and this may result in strong and intense discussions—we will not tolerate any conduct that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for members  of our community.

I hope that in the year ahead each of us will resolve to learn more about—and indeed celebrate—the backgrounds and traditions of others in our community. This kind of exploration is at the heart of our mission and, even more important, will strengthen each of us as individuals and all of us together.


Joseph E. Aoun