21 February 2017

Institute students respond to Trump visa ban

Graduate Institute students have expressed their outrage at Donald Trump’s executive order banning US visa issuance from seven Muslim-majority nations.

''The ban is disheartening not only for the citizens of the targeted countries but for millions of people who believe that hate and fear do not make any country safer”, said Negar Mansouri (Master in International Law). “Migrants from these seven countries, alongside with many other migrants, bring talent and hard work to the host country, and contribute to the spirit of multiculturalism found in successful, diverse societies. As an Iranian, I am proud to study in a school where diversity has always been core to its work and a guarantor of its academic distinction. Alongside my schoolmates, I’ll continue to contribute to this unique atmosphere by being open to different perspectives.''

“Trump’s ban is an invitation to religious tensions and social instability, which like his other thoughtless efforts (notably the Mexican wall) will beget nothing but global unrest”, said Parham Farhang Vesal (PhD in International Law). “One wonders whether to describe as comic or tragic the picture of the 45th US Administration in the Oval Office, that of a rascal kid getting into a spaceship cockpit, running around, pressing all the buttons and laughing as all the alarms go off. I’m proud to belong to an academic community where "Commitment to Diversity" is a core value and a shared obligation, and proud to belong to a larger, global community of scholars where we celebrate unity in diversity in our everyday practice.”

“This hard-line entry ban policy not only prevents a sick child with a rare disease from attending a specialised hospital, or parents from seeing their child, or someone studying at a university, or Google employing a skilled worker, but it also has a far graver by-product”, said Alireza Nouri (Master in International Relations/Political Science). “It intensifies the tensions between Iran and the United States, ruining all the recent efforts under the Obama administration to decrease them. However, in spite of these injustices I have been greatly encouraged by the mass protests of American citizens and the reaction of the judicial system, showing that there is greater adherence towards love than hate. #nobannowall”

Katayoun Hossein Nejad (PhD in International Law) said “my frustration, anger and fear of what is going on under the name of 'security', and the shock of seeing how easily for being the 'other', millions of people, including me, are not only labeled but also excluded are so deep that I can't find proper words to express them.”

Anntiana MaralSabeti (Master in Political Science) said “the majority of my fellow Americans recognise this as an attempt to fan stale flames of animosity by an increasingly reckless administration. As the child of Iranian refugees, I understand the desperation of those seeking asylum and remember the response my parents received time after time – you can't go home but you can't stay here, folks. While human compassion is not legally mandated, the protests and demonstrations reinforce my belief that the United States is still the beacon of hope that it has been for generations of those fleeing persecution and that we, as a country of immigrants, do not close the door behind us after we get in.”

Philippe Burrin, Director of The Graduate Institute, has signed a “Commitment to Diversity” published by the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) in response to the executive order.