Dear FSI community,
On behalf of REDI, I am proud to present the report that was completed in June of 2021.
In June 2020, as a response to FSI students’ push for a robust response to the global racial reckoning, FSI Director Michael McFaul convened a new task force on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) comprised of FSI students, staff, and faculty.
This report is the result of REDI’s work, which was chaired and led by Gabrielle Hecht, FSI Senior Fellow and the Frank Stanton Foundation Professor of History. There are various goals the task force tried to achieve that we present in the report. First, we wanted to have a reflection within the committee and the larger FSI community on epistemic racism, which refers to “the ways in which racist exclusions and racial thinking shape what we know and how we know it” (page 7). This reflection is particularly relevant to understanding the consequences of racism for the core mission of our university, enabling us to acquire a new understanding of how racial biases restrict our questions, methods, findings, and policy solutions emerging from our scholarly work. We held various seminars throughout the year where we invited scholars and practitioners from around the country to hold dialogues addressing these issues under the “Critical Conversations: Race in Global Affairs” banner. Hundreds of people within the Stanford community and beyond attended these Zoom events.
Second, the REDI report offered a set of very concrete recommendations to advance racial equity, diversity and inclusion at FSI. By publishing these recommendations in the report, we believe that with the support of the FSI Director and each of the various Centers’ leadership, we can achieve concrete steps to move our Institute from a place that is nominally supportive, to a place that treats equity, diversity and inclusion as a key organizational goal that profoundly guides decisions about hiring, resource allocation, research, and teaching.
Third, we want to achieve true inclusion and belonging, which involves not only “diversity” but welcoming changes in existing workplace cultures. The report talks about how we worked, through direct training with FSI members (faculty, staff and students), to reflect on what we need to change and how an inclusive culture be fostered.
Furthermore, the report presents data on FSI’s composition, that shows where we are and how much we need to accomplish if we want to create an Institute where underrepresented communities feel welcome and can thrive. We are aware that dismantling systemic and epistemic racism will require fortitude and years of work.
There should be a commitment from FSI’s leadership and faculty to transform our institute and step up unequivocally to the task, dedicating resources, opening faculty positions, centers and research programs that allow us to meet the challenge.
One of the key recommendations of the report is a strategy of “cluster hires”, with the goal of increasing diversity broadly defined, and increasing recruitment efforts for new senior fellows who will support diversity broadly defined and includes recruitment outreach efforts to scholars from underrepresented backgrounds over the next five years. We are aware of the challenges for an Institute such as FSI to implement this recommendation but want to emphasize its critical importance for achieving our goals.
In addition, comments on the report by members of our community emphasized that for a start, FSI should make a significant effort to attract junior faculty at Stanford from minoritized backgrounds, supporting them with resources for research and teaching as well as faculty support to successfully facilitate their professional goals and ours.
As Chair of the REDI task force this academic year, I want to thank in particular Gabrielle Hecht for the remarkable effort she put into conceptualizing REDI’s strategy, writing the report, and the members of the task force who supported the effort in so many ways.
Here is the REDI report: https://stanford.box.com/s/w3luapmbxm32hs0m0kjtftw43ji1o6iw
Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations
Department of Political Science
Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute