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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.


Diversity Committee COVID-19 Support



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."



The Diversity Committee at SIPA seeks to both celebrate and critically reflect upon the experiences of students, faculty, and administrators at SIPA to build a community in which diversity, equity, and inclusion are woven into the fabric of the School of International and Public Affairs. The Diversity Committee accomplishes this goal by addressing this topic in many ways, ranging from programmatic efforts to recruitment and curricular initiatives. Most importantly, the Diversity Committee seeks to create communities of connection and support for underrepresented and marginalized identities.

As a Professor and Chair of the SIPA Diversity Committee, I also invite all members of our community to move beyond their comfort zone and participate in the vibrant community that comprises SIPA. Take a class on an identity that you have never thought about before, engage in difficult conversations, attend the committee’s events, celebrate both our similarities and our differences. It is only by pushing beyond established boundaries that we grow.

Mayor Michael Nutter
David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Affairs