Dear Vanderbilt community,
As the complex and tragic events in Afghanistan continue to unfold, I want to acknowledge members of the Vanderbilt community who have been personally affected by these conflicts. For those who are from the region or have relations or colleagues there, this is a deeply unsettling time, even for an area that has experienced decades of strife. To the military veterans and active-duty personnel in the Vanderbilt community who served in or have ties to Afghanistan, your university stands with you. Your commitment to duty, service and honor is a most noble one.
We will continue to draw on our university mission to understand and debate the meaning of these events, as we did with a recent panel discussion on the Afghanistan crisis. However, in this moment, we must support all those in the Vanderbilt community whose lives have been personally touched by these days of difficulty and challenge. I hope that you will draw on the many resources offered at Vanderbilt to receive any support you need. These include the University Counseling Center, the Employee Assistance Program and the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life.
In addition, our panelists from the Aug. 26 event offered suggestions on specific ways people can aid the Afghan population, as well as veterans and their families:
- Donate or volunteer with No One Left Behind and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to continue their work with special immigrant visas, providing support as Afghan refugees enter the country.
- Donate to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors to bolster its National Military Survivor Helpline.
- Donate to help Afghan children and families facing hunger through the International Rescue Committee, currently raising $10 million in lifesaving aid in Afghanistan.
- Donate to Vital Voices or Women for Women International to provide support for Afghan women and girls.
- Support the International Committee of the Red Cross, which works to ensure humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and violence.
- Support Doctors Without Borders as they provide critical medical care across five provinces in Afghanistan.
- Contact your representatives in the U.S. Congress to let them know you care about this issue.
- Doctors can provide medical relief at a free clinic serving the daily influx of people from Afghanistan.
- Lawyers can provide pro bono advice through Human Rights First.
Chancellor, Vanderbilt University