Our Commitment to: Just Societies


Columbia Commitments - Just Societies 1

In the Core Curriculum, Columbia’s undergraduates read Plato’s Republic to ask: What is justice? Across our campuses, we not only ask but act together to answer and address what keeps us from living up to our ideals as a society.

While recent decades have seen progress in some areas, marriage equality in the US for one, injustice persists in stark forms. The prosperity and comfort of some highlight the need and uprootedness of others, and, in spite of the interconnections of our age, the gap between haves and have-nots is more pronounced than ever. Invisible strings of access and censorship restrict open debate and the flow of people and ideas.

How are people’s chances diminished because of their race, gender, religion, or background? Whose voices are heard? How are resources shared? What steps can be taken to expand the public good? These are issues that concern us all, around the world, as people bound to one another.

Our commitment to Just Societies renews and emboldens efforts to build an equitable, inclusive world through research, teaching, and civic engagement.

The Challenge

Columbia Commitments - Just Societies 2

We have only begun to understand the dynamics of contemporary privilege and inequality. Poverty is one glaring example. In the US, the top 0.1 percent of the population earns on average roughly 184 times more than the bottom 90 percent. Globally, the gap is starker: cumulatively, some 85 of the wealthiest people are worth more than the poorest 3.5 billion people. How do we make sure all people have enough food to eat and water to drink? How can each person thrive on her own terms and regardless of circumstance?

At Columbia, we must bring our most advanced thinking and most sophisticated methods to bear on achieving greater justice. As we do, we learn from and with the world, avoiding the arrogance of the outside expert by working with partners who understand injustice—and what can remedy it—firsthand.

The Columbia Commitment

Columbia Commitments - Just Societies 3

Justice begins right on campus—with the diverse community we create, the values we embody, and the ideas we explore.

We commit to strong financial aid for students at every school to make sure that our classrooms—and eventually the nation’s courtrooms, newsrooms, and boardrooms—benefit from the very best talent from all backgrounds, chosen for their ability, not their ability to pay tuition. And together, we tackle complex issues from disability rights to the dynamics of sexual violence, gender, and race, including through our office of University Life, established in 2015.

Recent transformative initiatives include a ten-year Atlantic Philanthropies partnership supporting activists and scholars aimed at ending anti-black racism. Social justice appears as a focus for faculty and students across our schools and campuses, from veterans in our School of General Studies to environmental justice through the Earth Institute. It spans programs throughout our law school and specific institutes, from the Center for Justice, which sponsors programs related to incarceration, to the new Knight First Amendment Institute to the anticipated Eric H. Holder Initiative for Civil and Political Rights.

In 2017, to amplify such efforts, we have convened a University-wide faculty group addressing social justice. As never before, we are working together to harness resources that shape thinking, models, and practical solutions for a fairer world.


Learn more about our commitment to Just Societies


Learn about our other Columbia Commitments


Make a gift to support Just Societies at the Columbia Global Centers


Related News from the Global Centers

March 01, 2018

The Columbia Scholarship Program for Displaced Persons

Columbia University has launched a scholarship program to support individuals who have been displaced as a result of the conflict in Syria. These students will receive full tuition, housing, travel, and living assistance while pursuing their undergraduate degree at Columbia University's School of General Studies.

February 21, 2018

Call for Papers: “Pluralisms in Emergenc(i)es: Movement, Space, and Religious Difference” – Tunis

The Institute for Religion, Culture & Public Life and Columbia Global Centers are organizing a conference entitled "Pluralism(s) in Emergencies: Movement, Space, and Religious Difference" in Tunis, Tunisia on July 11-12, 2018. The project is being organized with support from the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the University of Oslo; and the Centre for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization at the University of Groningen. 

December 31, 2017

Newsletter: Mental Health and the Psychological Impact of War on Individuals, Families and Communities in Yemen

This project remains ongoing and aims to address the adverse effects of armed conflict on the mental health of individuals, families and communities in Yemen, to bring mental health concerns into Yemen’s peace and reconciliation processes, and to strengthen recognition of the human right to mental health in Yemen and internationally.

July 25, 2017

الاميرة منى تؤكد اهمية تطوير البحوث السريرية

عمان - بدأت في كلية التمريض في جامعة كولومبيا امس، برعاية سمو الأميرة منى الحسين، راعية التمريض والقبالة في إقليم شرق المتوسط، ورئيس المجلس التمريضي الأردني، اجتماعات القمة الثالثة لقادة التمريض والقبالة في 22 دولة من جنوب وشرق افريقيا وشرق المتوسط.

July 24, 2017

الأميرة منى تدعو للاستثمار في العاملين بالتمريض

بدأت في كلية التمريض في جامعة كولومبيا أمس الاثنين، برعاية الأميرة منى الحسين، راعية التمريض والقبالة في إقليم شرق المتوسط، ورئيس المجلس التمريضي الأردني، اجتماعات القمة الثالثة لقادة التمريض والقبالة في 22 دولة من جنوب وشرق افريقيا وشرق المتوسط

July 23, 2017

الأردن يستضيف قمة تجمع قادة التمريض والقبالة

عمان - يجتمع قادة التمريض والقبالة من إقليمي جنوب وشرق أفريقيا وشرق المتوسط في القمة الثالثة والأخيرة في الاردن خلال يومي 24 و25 تموز الحالي لمناقشة أولويات الأبحاث السريرية التي تساهم في تطوير سياسات فعالة وتحديد آليات تطوير الرعاية الصحية على المستويين الإقليمي والعالمي في ضوء أزمة اللاجئين والاحتياجات الصحية المتزايدة

July 21, 2017

Global nursing, midwifery summit to be held in Amman July 24-25

AMMAN — A global nursing and midwifery summit, to be held in Amman on July 24-25, will address large global health disparities and the development of a robust nursing and midwifery profession, a critical goal in regions with challenged human resources for healthcare services, a statement by the organisers said.

June 08, 2017

President’s Global Innovation Fund 2017

Provost John H. Coatsworth has announced the fifth round of grants from the President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) on June 1, 2017. 11 projects received awards this year after being selected by a review committee of senior faculty drawn from both the Morningside and medical campuses.

April 12, 2017

The Evolving Visa and Border Regime by Elizabeth Redden

President Trump has said he wants “extreme vetting” and ideological testing of visa applicants. What will that look like, exactly? As American colleges wait to hear whether accepted applicants will take up their admission offers for the fall, what can they expect students who are coming from other countries to encounter when they apply for visas and when they show up at border security checkpoints at U.S. airports?

April 09, 2017

قراءة نفسية للأمين: ‘‘داعش‘‘ منح القاتل فرصة لتحويل جريمته لقضية عليا

عمان - قدم الصحفي والكاتب في "الحياة" اللندنية حازم الأمين، مقاربة حول صلة علم التحليل النفسي بظاهرة منتسبي "داعش"، من خلال قراءة استكشافية ميدانية للعشرات منهم، أظهرت وجود دوافع غير منسجمة فيما بينهم للالتحاق بالتنظيم و"الانتحار والقتل" كظاهرة جماعية، فيما اعتبر ان "داعش" "ابن انقسام مذهبي وفشل سياسات المجتمع الدولي والأنظمة العربية". 

January 02, 2017

Columbia Nursing: Changing Lives that Change the World

The imperative to provide education, resources and networks to positively impact global healthcare has never been more urgent. In an increasingly interconnected world, there is a rapidly growing awareness of the global health issues and inequities affecting millions, calling for new ways of thinking and problem solving.

Read the fall/winter 2016 Columbia Nursing Issue here

December 15, 2016

Refugee Crisis Reveals Critical Gaps in Support for Millions Fleeing Conflict

“As the world faces the worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War, the refugee crisis demands a new level of response from our institutions,” says Professor Safwan Masri, Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University and Director of Columbia Global Centers | Amman

November 22, 2016

Reform Learning to Enable Arab Democracy - Financial Times Op-Ed by Professor Safwan Masri

To understand the despondent state of affairs in the Arab world today, one need only look at the region's education systems and how they have evolved through decades of deliberate attempts to suppress the Arab mind. Hyper-nationalist propaganda, exclusionary rhetoric and dogmatic religious discourse have been their defining features. The result has been that generations of Arabs have not only been deprived of a good education, but they have been taught to be narrow-minded, intolerant and ill-equipped for participation in a globalised world. 

April 26, 2016

Beyond the Rhetoric of False Choices: The Case for Lasting U.S. Engagement in the Middle East - A Talk by Ambassador Alice Wells

During the most tumultuous period the region has experienced in decades, the U.S. relationship with the Middle East has been the subject of intense interest and debate. Ambassador Wells made the case for why U.S. interests in the Middle East transcend the profound current challenges, and discussed how America’s national interests demand continued and deepened engagement with the region.

April 11, 2016

The Search for a Mideast Solution: A Discussion between Professor Safwan Masri and Nicolas Pelham

On April 11, 2016, Columbia Global Reports hosted a discussion about the book Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle Eastpublished by Columbia Global Reports in 2016The speakers included author of the book, Nicolas Pelham, Middle East correspondent for The Economist and Professor Safwan M.

March 27, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize nominee raises her voice for Somalia in second Columbia Global Centers | Africa lecture

“There is a generation of Somalis that is lost, due to the war. They have never seen a peaceful Somalia. This is dangerous for the entire world, when you consider that there are 9 million people that know only war and violence – how can you work together as a country to stop the fighting?”

February 05, 2014

President’s Global Innovation Fund Helps Launch Teledentistry Project in Kenya

Teledentistry – short for telemedicine in dentistry – uses digital and telecommunication technology to support long-distance health care, patient and professional health education, public health and health administration. This emerging technology includes wand-like cameras lighter than electric toothbrush, along with videoconferencing and streaming media.


Related Events at the Global Centers

There are no events to show with the selected date.

There are no events to show.

See current events