Letter from Dean Srikant Datar to the HBS Community on Ukraine

The invasion of Ukraine—with the horrific news of lives lost, images of hospitals and apartment buildings hit, and stories of citizens having to choose between fleeing their homes in search of safety and arming themselves to defend their cities—is tragic and deeply unsettling. For the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Harvard Business School who are from Ukraine or who have family and friends there, I share in your fear, disbelief, frustration, and sadness and pray for a rapid end to the war. The consequences of this unprovoked aggression by the Russian government are devastating not only on a human level, but also in signaling the potential for geopolitical instability that we have not witnessed in many decades. It is a sobering and distressing moment.

I am grateful for the ways our community is mobilizing already to support one another. I want to alert you to ways you can help and remind you about a range of resources, at HBS and Harvard, you can leverage.

There are many organizations soliciting financial aid to assist the people of Ukraine and address a growing humanitarian crisis. Respected and trusted groups include UNICEFDoctors Without Borders, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Additionally, across the University, I encourage you to tap into the expertise on Ukraine, Russia, and the broader region that can help deepen your understanding of the war that is now unfolding. Friday’s Gazette included “What Happens Next in Ukraine?” featuring the perspectives of a former Brigadier General, the executive director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and an Extension School professor from the U.S. Naval War College, as well as a Q&A with the director of the Cyber Project at HKS about Russia’s cyberwarfare activities and with Kenneth Rogoff about the economic toll. HBS Professor Rawi Abdelal and his Davis Center colleague, Alexandra Vacroux, released a statement on Russia's war against Ukraine.

A number of learning opportunities—some designed for the HBS community, and others open to the broad Harvard community—are taking shape, including:

  • Mon. 2/28, 12-1pm, “Ukraine Under Attack” – A panel of experts will address core questions about the escalating tensions.

  • Wed. 3/2, 6pm, Klarman Hall, “Russias Invasion of Ukraine: A Conversation with Jonathan Powell and Professor Deepak Malhotra” – This event, organized by the MBA Student Association, will feature analysis of the invasion and invite questions from the audience.

We'll share additional information about these, and other thought pieces and events, in the days ahead via myHBS.

If you wish to talk to someone, students can reach out to SAS staff (617.495.6087 or sas@hbs.edu 8am-5pm weekdays) or CAMHS Urgent Care (617.495.5711 weekends and evenings). Staff and faculty can contact the Employee Assistance Program (877.327.4278), with counselors available 24/7. The Harvard Chaplains are available to serve students, staff, and faculty. Additionally, the HBS Chapel offers a quiet place for reflection.

For those who are suffering from the consequences of these actions—Ukrainian, but also Russian and of other nationalities—please know that we are thinking of you. In recent days, we have been reaching out individually to those affected to offer our support. When tensions are high, we also must work hard to be kind and thoughtful to one another. Look out for anyone who may need help and remember, too, to take care of yourself. In especially difficult times, it is our community that provides us comfort and our values that give us strength.

This message was distributed to the Harvard Business School community.