September 10, 2021

Greetings and welcome to the start of the 2021–2022 academic year!

On behalf of the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation (OGI), I would like to welcome our new and returning NYU community members! We hope that you’ve had a great start to the semester and have enjoyed all of the welcome programs and activities thus far. We are enthusiastic about being together again in person across our respective campuses and the vibrancy that you all bring to our global NYU communities. We are energized by the possibilities ahead for collaborative work.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and come back together after ongoing, pervasive global challenges, I want to take a moment to reflect and acknowledge the impacts that we, as a community and as individuals, have experienced. Our world has changed and so many communities have been impacted by recent issues including but not limited to pandemics, weather crises, global conflicts, and so on. Each of us has our own story about the specific impacts in our lives, and we would be remiss not to recognize the devastation and intense range of emotions so many have experienced.

The effects of the ongoing national and global challenges and disruptions have also foregrounded disparities that may be new for some, but not surprising for others. New scholarship emerges every day highlighting the particular, ongoing, and far-reaching impacts on historically marginalized groups including, but not limited to, people with disabilities, those impacted by abuse, LGBTQ+ communities, those who are socio-economically disenfranchised, and others that are either forgotten or purposely overlooked. The unique health, social, and economic disparities have pressed at the very fabric of our societies, with varied effects on institutions, communities, and individuals across the globe. Many of us have experienced our own hardships and personal losses, and to you all, we express our deepest condolences and offer our continued support.

I would also like to take this time to acknowledge all the frontline workers, our health care professionals, those who care for us, and those who are often forgotten behind the scenes. We would not be here without the essential workers in our communities and want to recognize all of those individuals who have ensured that we have the safest return to in-person operations across our campuses. While continuing to recognize the persistent challenges we are confronting, we must also appreciate the tremendous ways so many have built—and continue to build—community by taking actions and making sacrifices in attempts to help one another. Thank you again to all members of our NYU community for your tremendous efforts and sacrifices.

As we return to our campuses, OGI’s pledge is not to return to normal—to the way things used to be. Rather, it is part of our collective work to use the disruptions and crises of the past and present as opportunities to reimagine our collective futures. In OGI, we are centering our work and reflecting on the following:

  • How will we rectify and reconcile systems of oppression and center anti-racist, disability inclusive, non-heteronormative, environmentally sustainable, intersectional frameworks to advance global inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and access (IDBEA) current—and future—efforts?
  • How will we collaborate and innovate toward leadership strategies that mitigate the next disruptions?

We, at OGI, are committed to taking action to advance opportunities for transformational changes across our global networks. We will continue to hold one another accountable and create opportunities for our community members to do and be better together. We pledge to work towards “a new different”—new ways of imagining, innovating, and doing the work of global IDBEA that are accountable and actionable.

However, we cannot do this work without the community. If we want to go far, we must go together. As we usher in the academic year, we challenge all members of our global communities to join us in this journey as agents of change in our classrooms, industries, student groups, internships, disciplines, careers, departments, families, and friendships. It is collective efforts—both big and small—that mold the futures to which we aspire. To support you along this journey, we continue to develop resources, toolkits, programs, and initiatives to advance global IDBEA here at NYU and beyond.

We invite you to our beginning-of-year OGI Virtual Community Update on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, from 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m. EDT to learn more about OGI and our strategies to advance transformational global IDBEA at NYU. The session will cover some of our core initiatives and efforts, including NYU BeTogether—a university-wide effort centered on strategically creating, fostering, and sustaining equitable and inclusive systems and structures through innovation, accountability, and action. BeTogether provides a platform for our community to examine our present moment and guide us as we embark on our interconnected futures.

We also invite all of our students, faculty, and staff to review the toolkits, programs, and initiatives listed on our website, as well as attend featured events like NYU Reads: A Lecture with Robin Wall Kimmerer. We hope you will proactively engage the resources, programming, and activities across our office’s hubs, including those from the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs (CMEP) and LGBTQ+ Center. The OGI team has planned a plethora of events that cultivate and create spaces and opportunities where students and the entire NYU community can enrich their minds and build community.

To keep up to date on global inclusion, diversity, belonging, equity, and access at NYU, we recommend you stay connected with us by signing up for our weekly digest, taking note of our upcoming events, accessing past programs on OGI’s youtube channel, visiting our our website, and following @nyuogi on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other, and remember to continuously review the NYU Returns website for the latest guidance and updates on keeping our NYU community safe and for resources to support our community members.

Once again, we are excited to come together in person and virtually and for all that we will achieve in the year to come. To those new to NYU, welcome again, and to those returning, welcome back! We wish everyone the very best throughout the year.

In partnership,

Lisa Coleman, PhD (she/her/hers)
Senior Vice President for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation
& Chief Diversity Officer
Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation