UN Ambassador Samantha Power Visits The New School

Photo Kasia Broussalian/ The New School.

Photo Kasia Broussalian/ The New School.

The new John L. Tishman Auditorium in the University Center has seen a lot of action relative to its youth. Just eight days old, and that bamboo-paneled stage has already supported an impressive array of luminaries. Last week New York Senator Charles Schumer and renowned saxophonist Marcus Strickland (BFA Jazz ’01) helped inaugurate it. The following Monday and Tuesday, J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler and actors Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart gave words of wisdom to respective industry hopefuls. A dancing robot comedian entertained audiences Wednesday at Robot Dialogues, and just yesterday, human rights leader Samantha Power gave an impassioned speech on the need for universal global education and the protection of scholars.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations gave the opening address to the University in Exile’s 80th anniversary celebration. Presented by The New School for Social Research’s Center for Public Scholarship, the daylong event included a film screening of Hannah Arendt and a panel discussion on endangered scholars past and present. The public events were meant to raise awareness of the plight of threatened scholars who face persecution across the world.

During her address, Power focused on the need to expand universal primary and secondary education across the globe, noting the powerful influence of those young and old, including Malala Yousafzai, the 16 year-old Pakistani student who was shot in the head for advocating for girls’ right to education. She also praised and encouraged The New School to continue its legacy of civil dissent, saying, “The drive to challenge old assumptions is what fuels progress.”

“Consider that if conventional wisdom had never been stirred up, we might still believe that the sun revolves around the Earth, that slavery is part of the natural order, and that we can make it rain by dancing,” continued Power. Visit The New School’s Livestream page for a video of the ambassador’s remarks.

The University in Exile was established by founding New School president Alvin Johnson in 1933 as a safe haven for European scholars facing political and religious persecution prior to World War II. During that time, The New School sponsored 183 refugee scholars—more than any other American institution—including Claude Levi Strauss and Max Wertheimer.