Joseph Kim, Assistant and Expert in Residence on the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, returned to his alma mater, Bard College, last month to speak to students as part of the school's Language and Thinking Rostrum Series. Kim graduated from Bard in 2019 and the discussion was moderated by one of his former professors, Peter Rosenblum.
August 20, 2021
I will always remember Bard College as a place to think.
The university I attended from 2015 to 2019 was also an excellent place to learn and grow – and I am particularly grateful to the school for the incredibly generous scholarship I was given. It enabled me to become the first generation to obtain a college degree. But, truly, for me, it was a place to think.
Last month, I returned to Bard to share my story and work at the George W. Bush Institute with first-year students. It was great to be back on campus and wonderful to see how many students were thinking hard about what is going on in the world.
I was fully aware that some of the students were discontent with the developments in Afghanistan and the United States’ leadership in world politics. I, too, share some of that frustration. But the fact that the students care gave me hope for the future.
As Elie Wiesel said, “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
I am reminded of and encouraged by one of my colleagues’ inspirational statements. Lindsay Lloyd, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of the Human Freedom Initiative at the Bush Institute, wrote, “A few believe that America’s democracy isn’t perfect, we have no business talking about … problems overseas. We are imperfect, but that imperfection makes our testimony all the more powerful.”
It may be a time for the United States to reflect and study and learn lessons from its mistakes. But it is not a time for retreat.