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From the president

Tapping into MIT’s strengths

The Institute’s superpower is its ability to make the world better. We’re harnessing that now to improve both the world and MIT.

February 28, 2024
Sally Kornbluth
Gretchen Ertl

As our alumni and friends know better than anyone, the intellectual excellence and bold ingenuity of the people of MIT are the Institute’s greatest strength. While IAP supplied its welcome respite, the first part of the year also offered inspiring reminders of MIT’s ability to make a powerful, positive difference in the world. Here are just two examples. 

The MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative

In January, we engaged the MIT community with a day of fascinating panel discussions to launch the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative. Participants from government, industry, and academia explored questions like What kind of work do we want in the future? and How do we shape technology for social good?

The Climate Project at MIT

Many universities are taking on climate change by launching a new school or designating a new building. By the time you read this letter, we will have announced a different approach with the Climate Project at MIT, an ambitious new effort to focus the strength of our community on achieving a set of critical missions in the fight to cope with this global threat. This was the central priority I discussed in my inaugural remarks—and you’ll hear much more about it in the months to come.

Like campus communities across the country, we also continue to deal with heightened tensions over the tragic events in the Middle East. 

As I noted in a letter to the campus community in early January, events of the past few months have pressure-tested some long-standing systems and assumptions, presenting challenges to our community and to fulfilling our mission of research and education. In the best spirit of MIT, we’re responding with systematic assessment and improvements. At the same time, the community-led effort called Standing Together Against Hate is offering opportunities for education and discussion to help us build our skills as a campus community in addressing difficult subjects through civil dialogue.

To make it easy to keep track of campus developments and leadership communications, we’ve developed the campus updates page, which you can find at the top of the MIT home page. I’ll have more to say throughout the spring about the Institute issues that matter most right now. 

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