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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Josef Korbel teaching a class in international affairs

Newsroom

Statement from Dean Christopher Hill Regarding Executive Order on Refugees and Immigrants

January 30, 2017

To the Korbel Community:

Many of you have seen a message from the Provost concerning foreign travel by members of the DU community who might be affected by the President's executive order. I would urge all of you to read it carefully and to make use of the telephone number and website included in the event that you have any questions. 

To reiterate, in light of Friday's executive order, the University strongly advises students, scholars and staff who may be affected, or who have plans to travel, to defer their travel outside of the United States. The University is reviewing the implications of this order and determining additional resources needed to support our community. We will do everything within our power to respond to the evolving needs of our students, including those who are undocumented or are Muslim.

In sending you this letter, I would like to focus more broadly on what President Trump's executive order of Friday, January 27 means in particular to our community and indeed to who and what we are as a school.

As you should all know by now, the Josef Korbel School is named for a Czech diplomat and scholar who twice had to seek refuge from his homeland, first because of the Nazi seizure of his country and then due to the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia. The images we have at the school of Professor Korbel, cheerfully smoking his pipe and chatting with students, may suggest that he lived an entirely peaceful life, but those images belie the trials and tribulations, and sometimes the horror, of what went on in his native country.

That he came with his family to the United States was no accident. America was known then, and will always be known, as a nation of immigrants. No executive order can change who we are and what we represent. Those of us who have had the honor and the privilege of serving this great nation abroad know the respect that so many people throughout the world have for our country. We know, too, the difficulty they are having in understanding what these decisions by this new administration really mean.

For those of you who are struggling to absorb, much less understand, these developments, we all need to take renewed devotion to our values and what we stand for. There is an ebb and flow to such troubled times. They will pass. In the meantime, we owe it to ourselves to maintain our focus, to be involved, but most of all to remain committed to what we all do here at the Korbel School and to the enduring importance of our mission of educating tomorrow's global leaders and conducting policy-relevant research on the world's most urgent issues. These are the times that require us all to dig deep and do what is right.

Christopher R. Hill
Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies