Dear Carolina Community,
Being a global university means we make it our mission to understand how actions on the other side of the world, from the Middle East to Central Africa and beyond, affect us here at home, and how our values and our decisions can ripple out to affect others.
Over the last few weeks, the world has focused on the horrifying news coming from Ukraine. Carolina faculty and researchers have been working hard to offer insight on the unfolding invasion. As our hearts go out to all those suffering in this terrible war, we are doing our part to provide a deeper understanding of what’s happening and how we can help.
Our faculty scholars are leading the way. Political scientist Graeme Robertson, author of the 2019 book “Putin vs. the People,” has helped policymakers understand the complex political calculations driving Russian decision-making. Milada Anna Vachudova, an expert in European security institutions and democratic change in post-communist states and author of “Europe Undivided,” explained how America’s European alliances are likely to be affected. Navin Bapat, chair of the curriculum of peace, war, and defense in the College of Arts & Sciences, explained the impact of international sanctions on the global economy and Russia.
But the implications of what’s happening in Ukraine go far beyond diplomacy and international relations. Researchers in global nutrition are already studying the impact on trade and food prices across the world. Professors of finance and economics are analyzing how inflation and growth will be affected. And scholars of media and journalism are helping make sense of what we’re seeing on our televisions and smartphones.
Daniel Johnson, a US Army veteran and a Park Fellow at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, wrote about the disorienting effects of watching a modern war happen in real time on social media, long before professional journalists can add analysis or vetting. We’re all being asked to make sense of world-shaking events faster than ever before, to find truth and meaning in a flood of raw information. We must teach our students how to do that well.
This is what universities are supposed to do in a free society — study, debate, share knowledge openly with the world and encourage others to do the same. Having a global outlook doesn’t mean that we’re neutral observers in a conflict between a democratic nation and an aggressive autocratic power. It means we want for everyone the freedom to think, read and speak their minds — freedoms essential to education, and essential for peace.
Kevin M. Guskiewicz