I hope this message finds you well as we open a new year in the life of the Academy. As you are aware, during the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of Academy activities, changing not just how we conduct our work but also the ends we seek to achieve.
Existing projects, such as Rethinking the Humanitarian Health Response to Violent Conflict, have adjusted their focus to address intersections with pandemic response. An exploratory meeting on Resiliency in Supply Chains addressed the social and ethical dimensions of supply chains and developed recommendations for government, industry, and the nonprofit sector. And the Commission on the Arts examined the nature of the artistic workforce and the devastating effect of the pandemic on the lives and work of creative artists.
And yet there is another crisis that defines our time and shapes the Academy’s work: the persistent threats to justice and equality in American society. As you will see in the pages that follow, building a more just society has become a unifying theme for much of the Academy’s work, and we are addressing issues of justice and equality as they relate to our past, present, and future.
The Academy recently explored the legacy of the past through a virtual event on “Reckoning with Organizational History,” which convened leaders from a diverse group of institutions to discuss the process of historical reckoning, best practices that organizations can use, and how this work can create opportunities for a better future. In December, the Academy examined the present moment in American justice through a virtual event with Linda Greenhouse on “The Supreme Court’s Transformational Year.” And in January, the Academy released a new issue of Dædalus, “Reimagining Justice: The Challenges of Violence & Punitive Excess,” which envisions a more just future, no longer defined by mass incarceration but rather by stronger, safer, and more equitable communities.
Given the themes of justice and equality discussed in this issue of the Bulletin, it is also appropriate that we pause to honor the life of Frances Rosenbluth, who passed away on November 20, 2021. Frances served as the Damon Wells Professor of Political Science at Yale University and distinguished herself as one of the Academy’s most active and engaged members, providing leadership in governance, the membership process, and the New Haven Program Committee. Frances worked to ensure that the Academy used its intellectual resources and convening power to address issues related to women and equality. Along with Academy member Nan Keohane, Frances cochaired two major Academy conferences that resulted in a landmark issue of Dædalus on “Women & Equality” in Winter 2020. A remembrance of Frances, written by Nan, is included in this Bulletin issue.
I hope you will join us in honoring Frances’s legacy of service and considering what we can do both as individuals and as an Academy to build a more just and equitable world.
David W. Oxtoby