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President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion Chairs

The President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI) is led by tri-chairs representing faculty, staff, and administration, as well as co-chairs from the Student Advisory Council (SAC). These five individuals play a critical role in AU's efforts to develop a culture where everyone feels at home.

Ximena Varela

PCDI Tri-Chair, Associate Professor of Arts Management and Program Director of Arts Management

"PCDI integrates the university vertically (from the highest levels of the university administration to every person on campus), and horizontally (by connecting staff, faculty and students). It is a crucial hub and connector to ensure that diversity and inclusion are part of all action and initiatives at the university. As a third-culture child of political exiles, and having worked internationally in arts and cultural management for all of my professional life, it is clear to me that we can only achieve excellence if we maximize our intellectual resources and capacity for empathy and tolerance. There is no excellence without equity. Exclusion limits the pool of good ideas and undermines the sustainability of solutions."

See Ximena's faculty profile.

Eric Brock

SAC Co-Chair, SPA '22/Political Science

"I currently serve as the Co-Chair of the Student Advisory Council to President Burwell's Council on Diversity and Inclusion. PCDI allows a student body to function as an enabler to the University's commitment on its plan for Diversity and Inclusion. Without student coordination, the goal of diversity and inclusion is lost. I wanted to make a change. Whether it's fighting for censored student journalists or starting the first Black Student Union at a predominantly white high school, I’ve always felt the need to take action when I know others couldn't. Being a freshman and serving on this body is a challenge, but as Nelson Mandela once said, "real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.""

Rafael Cestero

SAC Co-Chair, SIS '21/International Relations

"I joined PCDI because building community among students, especially students of underrepresented communities, is my passion. I think PCDI is important because it is a cross campus body that brings people together who have a mindset of inclusivity."