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Spring Teach-Ins Respond to Global Disasters

April 20, 2023 Yusi Liu

The campus community held two Teach-Ins in February 2023 to discuss critical global events and issues. 

Earthquakes and their Devastating Impacts in Turkey and Syria, held on February 15, focused on natural disasters. On February 6, 2023, two major earthquakes hit southern Turkey, devastating dozens of cities and towns and hundreds of villages across Turkey and northern Syria. With over 50,000 deaths, mostly in Turkey, and millions of people left homeless in both countries, the impacts of these earthquakes will be felt for many years to come.

In the wake of these devastating events, members of the BMC community came together for a Teach-In spearheaded by Aytuǧ Şaşmaz, assistant professor of political science. A panel of speakers, consisting of Aytuǧ Şaşmaz (Political Science and MECANA), Arlo Weil (Geology), Nataliia Gusak (Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research) and Jennie Bradbury (Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and MECANA), discussed the complex geological, political, and socio-economic factors which led to and shaped the responses to the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The Teach-In also covered these events from a psychosocial perspective, thinking through the short- and long-term reactions to disasters more generally.

By bringing together the community to discuss and better understand these events, as well as explore ways in which the international community could potentially help, the Teach-In hoped to show solidarity with the victims of this disaster, as well as members of our community who have been affected by these events. 

Ukraine, One Year Later was held on February 27 and focused on conflicts and man-made disasters. The Teach-In discussed what has happened since Russia launched its brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

“We felt that it was important to discuss what has been happening in Ukraine a year after Russia’s full-scale invasion began, and we were fortunate to hear from a range of perspectives thanks to our speakers. It’s been a difficult twelve months and counting, but Ukraine perseveres,” says José Vergara, assistant professor of Russian and the organizer of this event.

The panelists, Yuri I. Shevchuk (senior lecturer in Ukrainian, Columbia University), Nataliia Gusak (visiting scholar at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Resarch), Mechella Yezernitskaya (Ph.D. candidate in art history), answered questions submitted by students and community members about current Ukrainian events, the state of Russia’s war in Ukraine, and Russian sentiments about the war. Mechella Yezernitskaya reflects, “The teach-in brought together a range of voices from the Ukrainian community of Bryn Mawr and beyond to discuss the political, social, and artistic responses to the war. We are grateful to have a platform to continue to discuss the war in Ukraine and the ways in which we can come together as a community in support of those suffering from the war.”