Congratulations on 11 years as Ruler of the State of Kuwait to Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah GCB, the 15th Ruler and the 5th Emir of Kuwait and the commander of the Military of Kuwait.

Congratulations to the Government and people of Kuwait on the 56th anniversary of their independence and the 26th anniversary of liberation.

To our colleagues, friends, students, and alumni in the USA and Kuwait:

Dismayed. Disbelieving. Heartbroken. Demoralized. Shattered. Shocked. These are just some of the words that come to mind regarding recent events and the hateful rhetoric that is spreading over our country.  The murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd on 25 May, together with the earlier killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, are some of the most recent events that bring to the forefront the continuing problems of racism, xenophobia, and injustice that continue to divide our society.

Dartmouth's President, Philip J. Hanlon, responded to the immediate events tearing at the fabric of our nation and reminded us of the other long-term issues that confront us all.  He states there is hope, however.  The following remarks made to to the Dartmouth community on 31 May explain. A statement by AUK's President, Rawda H. Awwad, follows President Hanlon's. Both statements emphasize the common goals shared by our two university communities.

Kind regards,

The Dartmouth-AUK Program

 

Finding Hope During Difficult Times (Statement of President Hanlon)

As we begin the last week of classes, we are preparing to send our newest graduates into the world and celebrate their accomplishments and their promise.  At the same time, we recognize the sobering realities of the world that they are poised to enter. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the health of our communities and has sent our economy reeling. The unrelenting march of climate change threatens the lives we lead, with particular impact on the most vulnerable among us. And we are exhausted by partisan efforts to limit equity, diversity and inclusion on our campus and within our society more broadly. As daunting as these and other issues may be, they are ones that we can work together to resolve.

Which brings me to what may be the most consequential issue facing our world today.  The forces that seek to divide us, the voices that sow bigotry and hate, are strong and loud at this moment. Racism continues to be a stain on our nation.  We are outraged by the deplorable acts of violence against black men and women, such as the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.  And by the less visible structural forms of racism that lead people of color to disproportionately shoulder the burdens of poverty and inequality as has been so strikingly evident in the higher incidence of illness, job loss, and death they are experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

At times, what we face can seem overwhelming.  But there is much about our work at Dartmouth that gives me hope.  First and foremost, our collective resolve that racism, bigotry, and hate have no place on our campus or in our society.  We are resolute and united in this belief. Second, I am heartened by the impact that Dartmouth alumni -- and our students who will soon join their ranks -- are having in bettering the world using their keen intellects and the values honed over their years at Dartmouth. And finally, I am lifted by knowing that out faculty and staff every day advance the frontiers of knowledge as they take on these great issues of our time for the collective good.

As we look forward to the conferring of degrees on June 14, let us not despair at the challenges our newest graduates will face.  Instead, let us redouble our efforts to build a world that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive, free from racism. bigotry, and hate. Let us give voice to the values that unite us rather than divide us.  No threat is too grave if we face it together.

 

Statement of President Rawda H. Awwad

I'm aggrieved and quite frankly disappointed by the more recent developments in the United States where the purpose of liberal education as well as the liberal arts were in part intended to democratize and advance the conversation on human concerns that are fundamental to upholding people's inalienable rights . . . life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

President Hanlon's message is of paramount importance in his aspiration to recover for all of us the intellectual tradition that is being trampled on and silenced, and to motivate those who may be losing the one thing that keeps us all going: the simple hope of a better future.

As President of the American University of Kuwait, I'm keenly aware of what is potentially at stake.  More so now than ever before, the liberal arts have to become a practical imperative.  They can never be relegated to "philospohical leisure."