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Stanford Report, September 11, 2002

'Isolationism no longer an option' for U.S., Hennessy says

"Perspectives clearly have changed," says President John Hennessy, reflecting on the past year. "One of those perspectives has been a renewed appreciation for the importance of education, in developing people who have a better understanding of the world we live in and a better understanding of the cultural backgrounds in which we live."

The attacks have altered how the university thinks about current programs and the programs it plans to build, he says, including a renewed interest in Islamic studies, "which has been on the burner for more than 10 years."

Nowhere, however, does Hennessy see more dramatic changes than the ones he sees in students, whom he describes as being seared by the images of the World Trade Center. They now have a greater appreciation of the importance of global understanding.

"Most heartening has been that the students have realized that it hearkens an era where isolationism is no longer an option for the United States. You can no longer pursue that kind of policy in the world," Hennessy says. "They see that the set of problems we face in ensuring that basic education and human rights are available to every person in the world -- and the availability and lack of availability of those kinds of very basic things in some parts of the world -- not only affect those people, but affect them as well."

--Barbara Palmer

John Hennessy

John Hennessy