A Message from Thunderbird's Director General and Dean

Submitted by tbilbao on June 8, 2020 - 12:00am

As a Thunderbird and a global citizen, I promise:

I will strive to act with honesty and integrity,

I will respect the rights and dignity of all people,

I will strive to create sustainable prosperity worldwide,

I will oppose all forms of corruption and exploitation, and

I will take responsibility for my actions.

As I hold true to these principles, it is my hope that I may enjoy an honorable reputation and peace of conscience.

This pledge I make freely and upon my honor.

-Thunderbird School of Global Management Oath of Honor

 

At the very heart of the Thunderbird School of Global Management’s oath of honor, which every member of our global community commits to, are three fundamental principles: we will respect the rights and dignity of all people, we will strive to create sustainable prosperity worldwide, we will oppose all forms of corruption and exploitation. 

Our Thunderbird Global Family has sought to empower every member of our community and all those we touch with an inclusive global mindset—to be comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances, to not only respect every person as an individual but to be passionate about the majestic, manifold diversity of humanity. We have worked and continue to work to create not only safe but joyful spaces for cultures and peoples from all over the world since our founding upon the ashes of World War II seventy-five years ago.  We still have work to do.

Today, we mourn the brutal, senseless killing of George Floyd and countless others. Black Lives Matter. The intense pain and legitimate demands for true change in the United States remind us that institutionalized racism and exclusionary ideologies of all kinds remain a threat to peace and prosperity everywhere. The grim reality is that long-standing, systemic oppression and injustice persist all over the world in numerous forms and guises. 

Today, COVID-19 is ravaging humanity, paralyzing our global economy, and bringing into sharp relief not only these long-standing ingrained social ills but also emerging pernicious societal inequities and environmental crises—just consider the horrific fires that engulfed Australia just six months ago. The pandemic has further emboldened a wave of interconnected exclusionary nationalisms and parochialisms which were already on the ascendance, fostering division, distrust, and discord across the world at a time when unity is more vital than ever.

Today, peaceful non-violent protests across the United States have been mirrored by allied demonstrations all around the world. Let us be clear—we stand fully with those who call for systemic reforms through transformative collaborations and partnerships. The Zulu philosophy that Nobel Laureate and one of my most influential mentors Desmond Tutu taught the world, Ubuntu—a person is a person only through other people—is alive and well. But we unequivocally condemn all forms of violence that cause further suffering and detract from our efforts to achieve sustainable and equitable prosperity for all.

Today, bold new global leadership and renewed global solidarities are thus needed more than ever. A new 21st-century globalism must be crafted—one that brings cultures and peoples together rather than dividing us, one that maximizes the benefits of the powerful technological transformations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the wellbeing of people everywhere and for a healthy environment—especially to tackle climate change at scale, one that advances sustainable and equitable prosperity and peace worldwide. 

Today, as part of the Arizona State University Enterprise, we have fully embraced the charter, measuring our impact “not by whom we exclude, but by whom we include and how they succeed.” We recognize the urgent need to take greater responsibility for the economic, social, cultural, and overall health of the communities we serve. We acknowledge that we must now plan new, concrete steps, as an institution and as individuals, to reimagine and advance the change we know is necessary throughout business, government, and civil society globally.

Today, Thunderbird renews our commitment to building inclusive and sustainable globalism for the 21st-century. We still believe that our shared global future can and will be bright. We will harness the collective wisdom, immense ingenuity, and relentless determination of our alumni, our students, faculty, staff, and collaborators all around the world, listening and learning, experimenting and inventing, but most of all acting with courage, conviction, and compassion in ways that tangibly contribute to a shared global future of which we can all be proud. 

Today, we commit ourselves to the following actions:

  We will accelerate and expand the ongoing enhancement of our curriculum with new and improved courses and programs that specifically address equity, diversity, inclusion, and empowerment as we seek to shape global leaders who can and will bring the world together.

  We will dedicate more resources to our ongoing efforts to forge new transformative collaborations all over the world and across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors dedicated to building prosperous and inclusive systems across societies.

  We will explore and invent new mechanisms to ensure that all our students, faculty, and staff—particularly those from historically excluded communities—are fully supported and have the resources at their disposal to feel safe, healthy, and empowered through all means possible, including scholarships, internships, mentoring, and counseling, among others.

  • We will further leverage the experience of Thunderbird for Good and Thunderbird's new Center for Entrepreneurship and Family Business among other flagship programs by launching new education and training initiatives to support inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation in underserved communities here in the United States and around the world.

Today, the Thunderbird Global Family renews our recommitment to our oath of honor, once again making the pledge to always take responsibility for our actions, to act with honesty and integrity as global citizens and global leaders. We have endeavored to live up to these tenets for the last seventy-five years, but our work in partnership with all those ready, willing, and able to build a more just and flourishing world is far from done. This pledge we remake freely and upon our honor, for the next seventy-five years and beyond.

Those of you who know me or my life story are aware that this commitment to sustainable and equitable prosperity, and to the justice that underpins it, is deeply personal, indeed spiritual. I have full faith in the ingenuity, capacity, and spirit of humanity—it is with that spirit that a loving family from a Unitarian Church welcomed my family and me when we arrived in the United States from Uganda via Italian refugee camps nearly a half-century ago. Join me to make the 2020s what it was meant to be—a decade of transformative action for people, prosperity, peace, and planet through partnership, through Ubuntu.

With Gratitude,

Sanjeev Khagram, Ph.D.

Director General and Dean