A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf

To the Kennedy School’s Students, Faculty, Staff, and Fellows,

As you undoubtedly have seen, news reports show that Russia has launched a full-scale attack against Ukraine.

To all members of the Kennedy School community who are from Ukraine or who have family or friends in Ukraine, my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine the fear, sadness, and anger that you are feeling now. The pictures of attacking aircraft—set against a backdrop of Ukrainians fleeing their cities to escape the invasion—are terrible to behold. And the stories of damage and death are hard to read, with the prospect of much worse to come tragically real. I will keep you and all the people of Ukraine in the forefront of my thoughts during the days ahead.

The consequences of this war will extend well beyond Ukraine. As a friend in Washington wrote to me, the re-emergence of large-scale war in Europe after more than 75 years, and an apparent return of the Cold War, means that “the world will not be the same.”

To help us understand the causes and consequences of what is happening in Ukraine now, we are arranging some School-wide learning opportunities with our experts on international relations and security. Dates and times will be announced in HKS Daily. At one event—probably in the Forum next Wednesday—Professor Ash Carter, who served as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2015 to 2017, will offer his views and take questions. At other events, other faculty members will participate in discussions to offer their perspectives. We are also seeking ways to bring voices from the region into our discussions and are working with Ilya Timtchenko (an MPP student who chairs the School’s Ukraine Caucus) on that aspect.

In addition, you can keep an eye out for events elsewhere at Harvard. For example, Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute have scheduled a panel discussion about Ukraine for Monday.

Anyone at the Kennedy School who would like to talk with someone about this attack or other issues should reach out for support: Students can talk with their program director or Harvard’s CAMHS, employees can talk with our human resources department or Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program, and all members of our community can talk with the Harvard Chaplains