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Emerson Leaders on Synthesizing Internationalization, Equity

Equity, social justice, and internationalization are all intertwined.

Anthony Pinder, Vice Provost for Internationalization and Equity and Vice President for Equity and Social Justice Shaya Gregory Poku moderated by Max Crumley-Effinger, talked about the common threads between those three ideas and “leveraging a connection” between their two offices in an International Education Week keynote moderated by Max Crumley-Effinger, Assistant Director of International Student Affairs.

Two people sit on stage during a panel discussion
Anthony Pinder, Vice Provost for Internationalization and Equity, with Shaya Gregory Poku, Vice President for Equity and Social Justice.

The two began by talking about equity, accountability, and social justice, which
Pinder said all “suggest certain levels of compassion.”

“The goal is for everyone in the community to thrive and be inspired,” Pinder said.

Poku said her familiarity with global communication came from her time studying apartheid in South Africa. She also spent time studying and working in India and Nigeria. She said these experiences in global engagement motivate her to work on internationalization at Emerson.

“At the end of the day, what really excites me is thinking about what it would mean for members of our community to be engaged and thoughtful citizens,” Poku said.

Pinder mentioned that in this semester’s Kasteel Well class of 90 students, 61% are students of color. He said this experience could help training on both the student and faculty sides.

“I believe equity, accessibility and social justice are everyone’s responsibility,” Pinder said. 

Poku said she has known students who studied internationally and came back “no wiser.” She said an important part of studying abroad and global communication is helping students better understand themselves and the world. 

When asked about how her time at Emerson has inspired her, Poku said that the College has a “narrative of change making.” She also said the community welcomed her as a person, not just a leader.

Pinder said he was inspired by the “huge space of creatives” and creative energy at Emerson. As the senior international officer at Emerson and founder of the Global Pathways program, Pinder said he hopes for the continued rallying around marginalized voices and advocating for international students. 

For future collaboration, both said they want to increase accessibility within the Global Pathways programs and add additional countries to the list. Poku mentioned that the Emerson360 Community survey, open November 1 through November22, is a helpful way for her office to know what questions need to be asked. 

“People think you need to have all of the answers,” Poku said, “but I would love for Emerson to unearth thoughtful questions about this work.”

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