Vigil for Peace

Peter Salovey, President of Yale University
February 27, 2022
Vigil for Peace

Good afternoon, everyone. Marta and I are heartened to see you on our screens. We are joined today by Secretary and Vice President for University Life Kimberly Goff-Crews; Yuliia Zhukovets, a junior in Franklin College; and University Chaplain Sharon Kugler. To everyone online, thank you for taking the time to participate in the vigil for peace.

All of us recognize that the world is in a somber, perilous place. Over the past few days, I have watched with horror Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin’s aggression against a sovereign, independent nation raises the specter of prolonged conflict in Europe. This is the largest ground attack in Europe since World War II. We know from history that the risks of miscalculation are dangerously high.

At Yale, we are compelled by our common sense of humanity to reject this violence in the strongest terms.

We stand for peace.

We grieve for the lives lost.

We also support the students and scholars of the Yale Ukrainian community and those Yale students and scholars from elsewhere in the region, including Russia, who I am confident do not support this invasion.  

I know many of our students and colleagues are shocked and distressed. They fear for the future and for the safety of loved ones and friends.

Over the past week, Yale staff and faculty have been reaching out to them to offer support. For example, the Office of International Students and Scholars is working with each affected student. We are helping them with post-graduation plans, employment authorizations, and travel needs. We are monitoring developments regarding immigration options and sharing with students and scholars relevant updates. For undergraduates from Ukraine on financial aid, we will reevaluate the financial aid awards they receive if there are changes in their economic situation.  

We are advocating for policies that protect the legal status of Ukrainian students and scholars in the U.S. during and beyond their studies here. We are supporting consultations with an immigration attorney for Ukrainian students and scholars who need assistance in navigating their future status in the U.S.

In the days ahead, we will continue to work with individual students in any way we can.

In addition, faculty members on our campus are helping policymakers think through how to respond. Next week, the Jackson Institute will be hosting an expert panel discussion. We will hear from faculty members who have long studied the history of the region and can share insights into the current conflict and anticipate what may come next.

I very much hope the scholars and creative thinkers of our community can help the world chart a path toward peace.

Right now, the spirit of division around the globe seems stronger than ever. We must respond by embracing the ways we are connected.

Not all of us work or study in fields that can contribute solutions directly to global conflicts of this nature. But all of us play vital roles in creating an environment of peace and Belonging at Yale and within all the communities of which we are part.

So, let us treat one another and ourselves with kindness and understanding. Let us approach our lives with gratitude and with mindfulness.

During this time of crisis, it gives me hope when I see our community’s commitment to one another and to peace.

Please keep in your minds, especially, those family members of our Ukrainian students and scholars who are withstanding this unprovoked and unjustified barrage.

So, I thank you for joining us.