As a Co-Founder & President of Global Experiences, an international education company, and the former Executive Director of the Fulbright Association, the official alumni organization for the US State Department’s flagship Fulbright exchange program, I typically take a diplomatic approach in the face of conflict or disagreement in an effort to respect and understand all perspectives. In these roles, I am charged with representing the views of my team, our members, customers, and a broad range of stakeholders so I try to be careful with sharing my personal views on most issues, especially political ones.
That said, I would be doing my country, my family, all those I’ve had the pleasure of representing in various leadership roles a disservice if I did not speak out against President Trump’s Executive Order banning refugees from entering the United States, my country, which I love and revere.
This order not only breaks our moral code, it breaks the law and insults the character and goodwill of the more than 300 million people who make up our (already) great nation, not to mention the sad message it sends to the other 7 billion people on earth.
As international educators, our values are rooted in cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and an unyielding compassion for all people, young or old, black or white, refugees or the wealthy. The President’s action undermines our foundation as a good and just society, and threatens to unravel the fabric of our core values as a nation, which we have fought hundreds of years to preserve. This action does not make us safer as Americans. Rather, it preys on fear and invites ignorance. This does not ‘make America great.’ It makes us fearful and ignorant, isolationist and lacking in character that in my opinion has actually made us a great country for over 200 years.
This is not about politics or partisan allegiances. It is about the fundamental values we hold dear as Americans and doing the right thing. Today is not a day to be silent. It is not a day to be diplomatic. There are times when we must stand up to defend what we believe as individuals and a country. This is one of those times, more than any other in my memory.