Reaching out to refugees

Higher education extends opportunity to individuals, strengthens communities and advances human knowledge. As educational leaders, we are committed to the mission of improving the world by developing and disseminating ideas. On our campuses, we seek to realize this ambition by fostering a diverse, global community in which ideas are civilly discussed, respectfully debated and openly shared.

The current executive order on immigration, which was signed on Friday, January 27, endangers the broadly diverse learning environment that is essential to our mission. This new policy implies that international students are neither needed nor wanted. This is false, and we must counter that divisive message.

To promote our mission, we announce today our intention to offer a full scholarship to a student refugee from a war-torn country with a special preference from one of the following countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

At the same time, we urge our country’s leaders to end swiftly the ban on welcoming refugees and foreign nationals to sustain the productive exchange of ideas and viewpoints that make our institutions of higher learning such fertile ground for expanding knowledge and hope.

We call on our colleagues at institutions of higher education across the country to join us in making a clear statement about the importance of diversity and openness on our campuses. By providing scholarship support to refugees from these countries, we extend the hand of opportunity and friendship to those who need it most and offer a model to our nation for more constructive engagement with the world.

College and university presidents can sign on to the statement by emailing [email protected].

Dennis M. Hanno

For applicants

Information on how to apply for the Wheaton College Refugee Scholarship is available online from the college’s Office of Admission.