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Creating Connected Communities on College Campuses

By Iman Brin

April 19, 2024

In Response to Towards a Cosmopolitanism of Repair

Towards a Cosmopolitanism of Repair” by Ranjit Hoskote highlights the need for us to appreciate each other’s differences rather than shy away from them. As university communities work to promote inclusivity and diversity, community members must be given opportunities to feel seen in their identities and perspectives, as well as to share them with others.

Universities can support spaces and programs that enable students of diverse backgrounds to come together as a community. This can be in the form of allocating funds to affinity-based campus clubs, by providing transportation to off-campus cultural events, or hosting individuals with diverse perspectives to interact and be part of the campus community. Additionally, social events where students are exposed to people and ideas different from themselves will help overcome fear of what feels unknown and prevent echo chambers.

In the classroom, students should be encouraged to study non-traditional perspectives on any given subject and be asked to express their diverse worldviews. From just the few students in my classes who are studying abroad, I have already learned so much about how other parts of the world view concepts such as race differently than Americans. In regard to implementing the concept of “flowering-with” in educational settings, it is important that courses move beyond teaching a Western-centric approach to the world, whether the class is on national security, international law, or another matter.

For example, for subjects such as international relations, introductory courses should be sure to include discussions on how classic theories and concepts, like realism and nation states, come out of a postcolonial context and are deeply connected with issues of race. Treating postcolonial studies as foundation rather than as a side note will ensure that university education, particularly for the social sciences and humanities, is applicable to the realities of much of the world.

Embracing the unfamiliar in social and academic contexts will prepare university students to interact in a world more globalized than ever, allowing us to embrace democratic values both on our campuses and beyond.

Iman Brin (SFS’26) is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.