From the Director – Melissa Stimell

Continuing Our Work in Challenging Times

January, 2022

As we are about to mark the two year anniversary of the global pandemic, I remain hopeful with the recent positive developments.

In these uncertain times, our work is more important than ever. We continue to use academic scholarship to help solve complex problems for communities at the local, state, national and global levels. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of this ongoing work.

Toni Shapiro-Phim continues to work with Indigenous people. She curated a campus exhibit of work by Canadian Indigenous artist Jaime Black. The REDress Project called attention to violence against Indigenous women and girls across North America with the installation of empty red dresses in outdoor spaces across campus accompanied by, between us, an exhibition of Black’s poems, photographs, and video inside the Kniznick Gallery. See REDress Project article.

Leigh Swigart’s research is generating new knowledge about how international students on English language-dominated campuses use the linguistic resources at their disposal and respond to language challenges in their academic and social lives. The “Multilingual Life on a Monolingual Campus” joint research project at Brandeis University is partnering with Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom to gather information on the experiences of international students across the globe.  See the international justice article.

ENACT: The Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation, is the Ethics Center’s national, non-partisan program engaging undergraduates in the state legislative process. ENACT has trained Faculty Fellows at diverse colleges and universities in all 50 states. The Brandeis ENACT class, “Advocacy for Policy Change,” is in its 13th year and will focus on such priorities as voting, immigration, health care equity, climate change, and workers’ rights. With the help of the ENACT Faculty Mentorship Initiative, experienced faculty fellows are supporting new fellows as they develop and teach their ENACT courses. See more in the ENACT article.

The Ethics Center’s program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, under the direction of Cynthia Cohen, is launching IMPACT, Inc., an independent, global, non-profit organization committed to strengthening the field of arts, culture and conflict transformation. IMPACT continues its work in Cyprus, Colombia, Senegal and elsewhere. Cindy recently presented this work to the UN Secretary General and the senior management group. See more in the non-profit launch article.

The efforts of the VoteDeis Campus Coalition, led by David Weinstein and Leigh Swigart, helped Brandeis University increase student voter participation to 70 percent, a 13 percent increase since the 2016 presidential election, earning the University a Gold Seal recognition from the national ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. See more in the VoteDeis article.

There is much more to come this semester. We look forward to collaborating in person and virtually. Thank you for your continued support. Please do not hesitate to reach out.