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History and Mission

The SIPA Diversity Committee (formerly, Diversity Task Force) was convened by Dean Janow in AY 2013-14  to support the efforts of SIPA faculty, staff, and student organizations in fostering a community at SIPA that is welcoming, respectful of individual and group differences, and representative of our society.

The Diversity Committee advises the Dean and her leadership team on efforts to support greater diversity at SIPA on a range of topics, including but not limited to: programming, academic affairs, recruitment, campus/school climate for students, faculty, and administration on diversity, inclusion, and social justice issues.

The following sub-committees were formed to help the Committee with implementing its objectives:

  • Student Diversity and Campus Climate - Focuses on the climate of SIPA and the efforts that can be put forth to recruit/retain a diverse student body
  • Faculty Diversity and Curriculum - Focuses on issues pertaining to faculty and curricular initiatives at SIPA
  • Events and Programming - Develops programming for SIPA at-large sponsored by the Diversity Committee. Oversees/evaluates the Student Diversity Initiative Grant.


Dean's Letter

It has for many years been a point of pride that the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) is Columbia University’s most international school, welcoming more than half of its student body from outside the United States. Representing 80 or more countries in a typical year, our students bridge divides of language, culture, and national origin.

To attend SIPA is to join a vibrant multicultural community—to meet and study with people from around the world. As we embrace our international diversity, we must also acknowledge other equally important differences such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and more. The Diversity Committee is one of several initiatives we have instituted to ensure that all voices are heard with respect to this fundamental value. A high level of awareness of community concerns and suggestions is important to the ability of SIPA's administration, faculty, and students to continue their efforts to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment in which we pursue our academic mission.

Merit E. Janow
Dean, School of International and Public Affairs
Professor of Professional Practice in International Law and Public Affairs

Dean Merit E. Janow and counterparts at SIPA's peer schools make statement on "Commitment to Diversity."