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The View from Apthorp

Judy and Sean Palfrey

Brave New World

This past year at Adams, we have been holding discussions with the tutors, students and the Senior Common Room about Global Citizenship. Today’s college students are globally connected in ways that no one has ever been before. Many of our students have lived for significant parts of their lives outside the US. Students travel extensively, especially in the summer and January breaks. It is not usual for us to have a conversation with a student who has been to three continents in a year. Students email and Skype with their friends all over the world and keep in contact about social and political events in an immediate, day-to-day, hour-to-hour way. We have indeed become, as Franklin Roosevelt predicted, “Citizens of the World.”

With this new global awareness comes global responsibiltiy – a topic that fits perfectly under the umbrella of the FDR Suite Restoration Project. Our intent in restoring the Suite has always been to create programming that would both be informed by the life and work of FDR and have 21st-century applicability. The highly successful FDR Global Fellowships have launched us in this direction, and this coming January, during Harvard’s new WinterSession, we intend to hold a week-long program for undergraduates on Global Citizenship. The seminar will allow students to interact one-on-one with Harvard faculty, Adams SCR members and others affording them a chance to view issues such as health, education, governance and human rights – which they may know only from a micro local, or national level – on a new and truly global stage. It’s an exciting tribute to the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and a remarkable step for Adams into what is truly becoming a brave new world.

Judy and Sean

(To get a sense of how House Masters are playing their own ever-increasing global role, click HERE for the Harvard Gazette’s fascinating look at Judy’s efforts to help the victims of the 2010 earthquake in Chile. –Eds.)