Area Studies Centers Statement

June 7, 2020

Area Studies Centers Statement

Image of Cairo with Alazhar mosque in the foreground.

Dear students, colleagues and friends, 

As leaders of the Area Studies Centers at The Ohio State University, we are horrified by the violence and turmoil we see unfolding around us. We condemn in the strongest language possible any discrimination or persecution visited upon anyone in our community. Recent events speak to the long history of racism and repression that has in particular been meted out to the African American community, and we stand alongside them in their struggle for equality. Now, more than ever, we reaffirm our commitment as educators and human beings to work for justice and human dignity for everyone in need. 

Ohio's diversity is one of its many strengths, and our African American population is a critical element of that diversity. We embrace our Black neighbors and colleagues, students and teachers, family and friends. Our state, and our university, are much better because of their presence. And we urge everyone to remember that we are all one people, and that an injury to one of us is an injury to all. 

We believe firmly that the answer to discrimination lies in education and exposure, two central components of the mission of the area studies centers. To our students, colleagues, and friends across the state, we pledge to maintain and enhance the efforts of our centers to forge connections between Ohio and the diverse world around it. Our programs will continue to work to foster an air of inclusion and respect for all, and to oppose hatred and intolerance in all of its pernicious forms. Our resources are open and available; our commitment is strong and constant; our faith that our fellow Ohioans will do the right thing is unwavering and complete. Above all else, we pledge to listen to the voices of the aggrieved, and to redouble our efforts to make those voices heard.

Toni Morrison, the great African American writer from Ohio, once said: "I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence." These words are wise indeed. We pledge in these difficult times to neither ignore the pain around us nor succumb to the malevolence, and we urge all residents of our state and our Buckeye community to do the same. 


Angela Brintlinger
Center for Slavic and East European Studies 

Laura Joseph
Center for African Studies 

Mitch Lerner
East Asian Studies Center 

Terrell Morgan
Center for Latin American Studies 

Alam Payind
Middle East Studies Center 

Etsuyo Yuasa
East Asian Studies Center