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Distributed January 26, 2005
Contact Mark Nickel

President Ruth J. Simmons
The need for humanitarian relief in Southeast Asia remains urgent

At the start of the spring semester, Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons urged students, faculty and staff to continue their support for humanitarian relief efforts in Southeast Asia. Brown’s first day of classes was Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005, one month after the tsunami struck. The text of the President’s message follows here.

January 26, 2005

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

We begin the new semester on a tragic and sobering note. One month ago, more than 200,000 people lost their lives in one of recorded history’s greatest natural disasters.

While the initial shock and horror of the December 26th tsunami have passed, every day brings news that human suffering continues on an unimaginable scale. The need for humanitarian relief remains urgent, and the task of rebuilding ravaged communities will require our attention and our support for a long time to come.

I am pleased to report that Brown students and student organizations are helping to meet the challenge of sustaining humanitarian interest and support over the longer term. Several groups are working with Ricky Gresh in the Student Activities Office to organize a campus fund-raising event for Saturday evening, February 26, in Alumnae Hall. I urge you to support that effort and others in the coming months.

Many members of the Brown community have inquired about the welfare of Brown’s extended family of students and alumni who may have been affected by the disaster. Soon after the tsunami struck, the University began reaching out to people whose addresses suggested a possible connection to the affected areas of Southeast Asia. Representatives of the Office of Campus Life and Student Services and the Office of Alumni Relations continue to contact members of our community, check on their status and assure them of the University’s interest and support. Thankfully, we have had no reports that Brown students or alumni have been among the casualties.

As the rebuilding continues in Southeast Asia, I urge you to consider providing direct and ongoing support through whatever social, religious or community organization you prefer. To help you find an appropriate charitable group, I have asked that the University’s home page include a link to a federally sponsored Web site that coordinates charitable giving and provides information about reputable relief organizations.

I thank you for your interest and your generous response to the international effort that is providing humanitarian relief to the people and nations affected by this disaster.


Ruth J. Simmons

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