May 19, 2022

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Responding to the tragedy in Ukraine | MIT News

The next letter was sent to the MIT local community on Saturday by President L. Rafael Reif.

To the members of the MIT community,

Nevertheless 4,500 miles different Kyiv and Cambridge, numerous elements make the shock of the Russian invasion and its terrible implications experience extremely near to residence.

I produce to allow you know how MIT is responding to this disaster and to give some personalized reflections.

Caring for users of our group

1st in our minds are our students, personnel and school who are from the location or have spouse and children there we have reached out specifically to everybody we are knowledgeable of from Ukraine. We have in addition been in touch with our learners from Russia, who are also a extended way from residence in a challenging time. (As generally, help is readily available to all students at doingwell.mit.edu).

Our Ukrainian college students are talking out to convey their outrage and the suffering of remaining so much from loved types in hazard. You may perhaps hear their poignant descriptions in several latest media stories, listed here and right here and here.

Termination of the MIT Skoltech Program 

In light of the Russian government’s violent invasion of a peaceful neighbor, we have determined that we should not proceed the MIT Skoltech Software

The method sprang from a specific historic moment. In 2011, the United States was striving to “reset” its Russia relationship. At the exact time, Russia was trying to find to set up an innovation-based mostly financial state, and MIT school have been keen to build new investigate alliances in locations of shared curiosity with top rated colleagues all-around the globe, which include Russia, a nation with a pool of extraordinary scientific talent. 

At the invitation of the Russian federal government and in session with the US Point out Division, MIT commenced operating with colleagues in Russia to develop, on the outskirts of Moscow, the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Know-how, now acknowledged as Skoltech. Right now, Skoltech is a lively graduate university with really completed school and graduate students operating at the forefront of scientific analysis. 

Ending our relationship to this educational local community comes with considerable disappointment, but the actions of the Russian authorities produced our preference obvious. On Friday, we knowledgeable Skoltech that MIT is doing exercises its proper to terminate the plan. This does not diminish our satisfaction in the function we did to build Skoltech and in the first-amount analysis that has flowed from the romantic relationship. 

This choice obviously has immediate impacts on principal investigators (PIs) at MIT who have been top Skoltech system projects, and on their students and postdocs. The Institute is in shut interaction with the PIs to provide guidance and to make certain that the college students concerned can complete their exploration and educational operate with out interruption, and to assist the transition of impacted postdocs to other projects.

Personal echoes

For me, seeing so numerous Ukrainian people fleeing their residences in progress of hostile forces has inescapable own echoes. Appropriate before Environment War II, my mothers and fathers fled from the western Ukraine-Moldova region as refugees. My father was capable to escape first, to Ecuador. My mom adopted, bringing my eldest brother, then just a calendar year previous. Observing photographs of mothers escaping with smaller children now is notably piercing. 

The situation then ended up diverse: My mothers and fathers were being functioning from pervasive antisemitism and the increase of Hitler. In their small city, no one they still left at the rear of survived. But their knowledge is a reminder of the brutal human repercussions of point out-sponsored aggression and violence.  

What is unfolding in Ukraine right now provides a profound obstacle to the international buy. May possibly we all just take inspiration from the courageous resistance becoming revealed by the Ukrainian persons.

In sympathy and solidarity,

L. Rafael Reif