June 9, 2020
Today, CISAC scholars have released a statement of solidarity with all those who suffer from, and peacefully protest against, police brutality and systemic racism. We are all profoundly affected by the painful last minutes of George Floyd’s life. His death was racism in its most blatant form, but it is not an isolated event. Rather, it is part of a wider pattern and deeper stain on our national experience. As jarring as George Floyd’s death was to watch, countless other people of color suffer structural violence and a slower death over the course of their lives as a consequence of deeply ingrained inequality and discrimination. For too long, too many have been deprived of the simple expectation of the opportunity to live, work, and raise their families in safety. Black and brown communities, as well as other minority communities, continue to be systematically denied equal access to their most basic rights, as well as to financial opportunity, education, and medical care—circumstances that have been all brought into even sharper relief by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their lived experiences are unfathomable, and too often ignored, by many who are sheltered by their own privilege. As hundreds of thousands peacefully march to end this injustice, following in the best traditions of our democracy, we stand with them.
The Statement of Solidarity was initiated by CISAC Fellows. We thank the Fellows for their initiative at a time when everyone should rise to the occasion and act. At the same time, we realize that statements of solidarity are insufficient. As co-directors, we accept that our responsibility is to lead CISAC in a manner that helps combat racism and other forms of injustice so that true equality is actually attained. Our power and position of privilege as a policy center at a renowned university extends well beyond the relevance of our scholarship. Every decision, no matter how small, should reduce privilege and increase access to resources at Stanford. The road forward will not be easy. Since each of us is a product of unique circumstance with a different perspective, there will not always be agreement. But, by taking action beyond our scholarship, by expanding the voices at our table, by carefully and thoughtfully listening to those voices, and by committing to concrete steps—small and large—we can together make the world safer and more just. This is a burden we all must bear, and we will.
As the co-directors of CISAC, we commit to publicly releasing an action plan outlining specific additional steps we will take as an institution—in coordination with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies—no later than the beginning of the fall quarter of 2020.
Rod Ewing and Colin Kahl
Center for International Security and Cooperation
June 9, 2020
We the undersigned scholars at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) express our anguish and outrage at the brutal killing of George Floyd—and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, David McAtee, and countless other black Americans who have lost, and continue to lose their lives, as a consequence of police brutality and racism. These recent injustices are only the tip of an iceberg of systemic racism and the violence stemming from it.
To all those in the Stanford community and beyond experiencing hardship and pain in these difficult times, we stand with you. We express our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all minority groups that face the indignity and violence of structural inequality every day.
We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesters. As experts in national and international security, we are deeply concerned with threats to deploy military forces to suppress constitutional rights—actions that endanger the very core of our democracy.
We reaffirm our commitment to diversity, social justice, and basic human dignity. We also recognize our position of privilege in this deeply unequal society, and find it important to reflect, learn, act, and recommit to these basic values as a community.
As an academic and policy community, CISAC’s mission is to generate knowledge to build a safer world. But we recognize that mission is impossible to achieve without addressing the structural inequalities that put true safety and security for so many people around the world out of reach. CISAC is committed to diversity, drawing on scholars from a range of disciplines, experience, and racial and cultural backgrounds. CISAC is also committed to civil discourse and constructive dialogue. As a community, we reject hate, intolerance, and discrimination in all its forms. But at this moment of national reflection, we know there is much more we must do to build a more inclusive institution and disrupt the structures of racism and inequality that we knowingly and unknowingly perpetuate. Moving forward, we will redouble our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our events, curriculum, fellowship program, and recruiting and hiring practices. We will do more to include Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, and LGBTQI scholars and voices, as well as those from other underrepresented minorities, in our conversations. As scholars, we also commit to widening the aperture of national and international security conversations to include a fuller appreciation for the role of discrimination and inequality in all its forms.
If you are part of the Stanford community and would like to add your signature to the statement, please do so at this link.
CISAC scholars released a statement in June expressing solidarity with all those who suffer from, and peacefully protest against, police brutality and systemic racism. Our pre- and post-doctoral fellows drafted the statement which CISAC Co-Directors Rod Ewing and Colin Kahl endorsed and circulated for signatures from faculty, scholars, students and other members of our community.
Recognizing that statements alone won’t change the world, Ewing and Kahl also committed to lead our Center in a manner that helps combat racism and other forms of injustice so that true equality can be attained. The Co-Directors promised to take action to increase diversity, address equity and extend inclusion in our research programs, events, curriculum, fellowship program, and recruiting and hiring practices. They also promised to be transparent so that our community can see the steps we are taking.
In July, the 13-member Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee met and established three subcommittees:
- Research/scholarship; speakers/events/programming; and hiring/recruitment/retention
- Curriculum/education including undergraduate, Master’s in International Policy and the fellows' program
- Public engagement/outreach/growing the pipeline
Each of the subcommittees will continue to meet over the summer. The entire committee will reconvene in August to produce a status report. The CISAC committee will also be working in parallel with FSI’s Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion task force (REDI).
Following the release of CISAC scholars’ statement of solidarity with all those who suffer from, and peacefully protest against, police brutality and systemic racism, we as co-directors committed to publicly releasing an action plan outlining specific additional steps we will take as an academic unit no later than the beginning of the fall quarter of 2020. We also established a CISAC committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), which has been working this past summer, in coordination with the FSI Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) committee. At that time, we organized three subcommittees focused on research, education, and public engagement. Here we provide an update on the work of the CISAC DEI committee so far and outline the road ahead.
The research subcommittee was charged to address two issues: 1) the need for greater diversity of speakers and research topics in CISAC research seminars, panels, and general programing; and 2) the recruitment, hiring, and retention of a more diverse CISAC faculty, senior fellows, fellows, and research scholars. With input from fellows and faculty, we have compiled an initial list of potential BIPOC speakers in the field of national and international security to invite to our research and Directors’ seminars. We welcome additional recommendations for speakers, as this list will guide our programming over the next years. Well over half of the initially identified speakers have been invited to CISAC events for the next academic year, and we are still issuing invitations. As we move forward on issue 2, the committee will develop recommendations for a process by which excellent BIPOC scholars can be considered for faculty, senior fellow and research scholar positions at CISAC. We are also discussing mechanisms for coordinating cluster hires among the centers and programs at FSI.
The education subcommittee is focusing on ways to improve equity, inclusion, and representation in CISAC courses and curricula. It began by conducting an analysis of the readings assigned in CISAC’s two gateway courses, International Security in a Changing World, and Technology and National Security. We found that there is a great deal of room for improvement in both courses to increase diversity and representation. For this reason, we are developing additional resources for our CISAC instructors. These resources are designed to increase CISAC instructors’ knowledge of the large number of BIPOC scholars and practitioners working on national and international security issues who might be included as guest speakers or whose writing might be assigned in courses. In addition, the subcommittee analyzed the outreach, selection, and programmatic processes for both the CISAC undergraduate Honors program and the CISAC fellowship program and made specific recommendations on how to improve both. This includes a focus on diversity and equity in the outreach, application and selection process. We also hope to work with the broader CISAC community in this area, and in particular with our alumni in both programs to increase diversity at CISAC.
The public engagement subcommittee is focusing on expanding CISAC’s outreach to BIPOC scholars and students at Stanford, other 4-year colleges, community colleges, and high schools to increase the number and diversity of students interested in exploring security issues. Ideas we are pursuing include: 1) increasing our outreach to more diverse groups on Stanford campus, HBCUs, and Community Colleges to promote our events and programs; 2) working with Bay Area and Silicon Valley Urban Debate Leagues, organizations whose goal is to make competitive policy debate available to every public high school student, to provide substantive seminars and professional mentoring; 3) developing a program that leverages our faculty’s research to create curriculum-based videos and study guides for high school teachers, and introduce international security concepts and different potential career paths through high school classes that support underrepresented minorities; and 4) exploring international security-focused career panels aimed at community college students and veterans.
Rod Ewing and Colin Kahl
Center for International Security and Cooperation