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IU shows heart in supporting Afghan students, scholars and refugees


For our Afghan students and scholars, the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan is deeply personal. Like many of you, I am concerned for those affected and wanted to share how our Indiana University community is offering support.

Coordinated by IU Vice President for International Affairs Hannah Buxbaum, our efforts are ongoing to reach out to current Afghan students and scholars to determine their safety and provide help. We have also joined other universities in reaching out to the U.S. government to share our willingness to assist scholars, students and civil society leaders at risk in Afghanistan. In addition to this university-wide response, many individuals and groups across our campuses have mobilized to aid the Afghan refugees who have only recently become our neighbors, at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana.

At IU Bloomington, Jenny Dubeansky collected donations of clothing and diapers. The Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Central Eurasian Studies in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies is working with local organizations and personally loading trucks so these items can be delivered to Afghan families living temporarily at Camp Atterbury. Individuals, departments and student organizations on our regional campuses have also been active in collecting donations of personal and household goods for those resettling in our state.

Elliott Nowacky, Hamilton Lugar School Military Relations Coordinator, and Joey Bradshaw, program manager for the school's Language Training Center, made materials with basic Dari, Pashto, and Persian language and cultural information available to the soldiers dispatched to Camp Atterbury.

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences, played an integral role in helping Bloomington become a federally authorized resettlement site through her work as a member of the board of directors for Exodus Refugee Immigration.

At IUPUI, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture held a virtual panel on "Religion & Refugees and Immigration" to provide perspective on the Afghan crisis. Carlos Garcia, IUPUI director of Emergency Management and Continuity, connected the Indiana Department of Homeland Security with IU faculty who could provide interpreter services at Camp Atterbury.

As we ensure the safety of our students and scholars and offer them solidarity and support, this crisis continues to be a source of deep concern for all of us. It is truly heartening to see the compassion and empathy expressed in these actions within our IU community, and it makes me proud to be a part of Indiana University.

Pamela Whitten

Indiana University

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