Letter From President Dr. Victoria Mora
Greetings from Montezuma,
It is paradoxical but it is true: one of the great benefits of being a teacher is the opportunity to learn from our students. Often I’ve come to see a complex idea or problem a little differently because of a student’s insight, because of the experience and values she or he brings to bear on our work together.
Early this spring, I had the chance to see more deeply into the current debate around immigration and the refugee crisis across the globe. With poise and passion, our students became my teachers as they shared their powerful stories.
The local NBC affiliate in Albuquerque sent a reporter to campus to interview six students who were willing to share their insights about President Trump’s executive order limiting entry to the United States of refugees and individuals from specific countries. The students, two from the U.S. and four from countries identified in the ”ban,” shared their stories and passionately addressed the executive order in all of its complexity, noting its intersections with religious and cultural differences and the importance of building relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.
One American student spoke eloquently of her very good friend from Syria who graduated from UWC-USA last spring and is studying in upstate New York. Another student, who came as a refugee to our campus two years ago, implored those who don't know refugees to come to Montezuma and visit us. There was a dominant motif as they told their stories and explained how they felt about the executive order: all-important relationship building would be crippled by tighter restrictions, creating more barriers, more virtual and real walls.
Kurt Hahn founded the very first UWC in response to the kinds of walls and divisions that marked the Cold War. His belief that division makes us less safe, not more, is central to the mission of the UWC movement, which is committed to making education a force to unite us against fear and the divisiveness it breeds.
Over 45 powerful minutes in the sunny round room downstairs in the Castle, the students reminded me of the importance of speaking passionately about the truths we see, of affirming a vision for the future by taking a stand against actions that threaten peace. I’m so pleased and proud to be part of this excellent community, to be in the position to learn from our students at a moment in history when the UWC mission is more important than ever.