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President's Message | Archive


January 15, 2010

 TO:  Campus Community
 FROM:  Neil Kerwin, President
 SUBJECT:  Haiti Relief Efforts and Events Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


As we begin the three-day weekend and honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the national holiday on Monday, January 18, I ask that everyone reflect on the common thread of humanity and respect that is especially obvious this year. The international tragedy in Haiti will require both immediate and long–term assistance, and American University will lend its support in numerous ways.

Our own campus community includes more than a dozen Haitian students and several faculty and staff, and our Caribbean Circle students are affected by their close geographical proximity to the disaster area. For these students, faculty, and staff, please know there are counseling and support activities on our campus that can assist you. You may wish to contact the Counseling Center (x3500), Multicultural Affairs (x3651), or International Student and Scholar Services (x3350) for information. The AU chaplains (x3320) are also available to assist personally and are working to create opportunities for people to gather for reflection, education, and support. An interfaith prayer vigil is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., Monday, January 18, in Kay Chapel as an opportunity for thought, prayer, and healing.

AU’s schools and colleges are working to provide information on support activities, so you may wish to check for updates; and WAMU 88.5 is sending a reporter to Haiti to provide exclusive news reports. For the larger campus community, numerous worthy and reputable organizations are collecting donations and can be found via various sources—including the Washington Post and WAMU 88.5.

Given the enormity of the earthquake devastation, the relief work is just beginning, and the AU community will continue to create and sponsor opportunities to help and become involved.

Through it all, let us remember the true meaning of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday on Monday and please note the commemorative activities throughout the week. More than 200 AU students will spread across the city for “a day on, not a day off” volunteer and service activities. The Community Service Center has listed other activities on its site. WAMU has special programming to mark the national holiday, with a multicultural musical tribute at 6:00 p.m., Sunday, January 17, and additional special programming at 9:00 p.m., Monday, January 18.

Times such as these bring out the best in the American University community, and I know that will be the case again this year.


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