CAS Responds to the Executive Order Banning Refugees and Immigrants

February 1, 2017

Respect for difference and religious freedom are long-held values at Harvard University and the Harvard Center for African Studies (CAS). President Donald Trump’s recent executive order banning the entry of immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries compromises the status of these values in our communities. More specifically, this ban directly impacts the exchange of the thousands of students, faculty, and scholars that travel between Harvard and the targeted regions each year.

No doubt, the world has become increasingly complex and interconnected. The Harvard Center for African Studies embraces this complexity to promote the interdisciplinary understanding of cultures and lived experiences. We know that inclusion makes us smarter, more diligent, and more innovative.

Therefore, we will not succumb to equating refugees with terrorists. We will instead, rigorously pursue nuanced and informed understandings of diverse peoples. We will continue to support research by Africans and encourage collaboration among Africanists within the United States and abroad. We will not ignore the very real consequences of this Executive Order. But it will embolden us to stand for the respect, dignity and the safety of students, faculty and scholars within and apart from the Harvard community.

We will embrace diversity and inclusion, with the understanding that indifference and acquiescence is an unacceptable response at a time when many in our communities are feeling vulnerable.

Harvard University and the Center for African studies exist to cultivate the next generation of leaders regardless of race, creed, color, religion or nationality. Today we reaffirm this mission. While the full consequences of the Executive Order remain fluid, CAS is committed to those who make knowledge borderless. We are all Harvard.


Harvard faculty, students and staff who travel abroad and encounter challenges reentering the United States are advised to contact Harvard Travel Assist 24/7 at +1-617-998-0000 or to immediately notify the University.

Harvard International Office Contact

Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinic Contact

See also: News at CAS