Dean Mohsen Mostafavi’s Post-Election Message

Dear GSD Community,

The recent presidential election, if nothing else, has been a wakeup call not just for the nation but for the design profession at large. The debates have unraveled the extreme differences and disparities between communities and geographies—between the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural, the global and the local.

Sadly, the prevalent and proto-nationalist posture of much of the propaganda has found a convenient way to blame the “other” for everything that is wrong with our society. This clever sleight of hand does disservice to the disenfranchised, who have the right to homes, schools, work places, public spaces, and livable communities. These are just some of the necessary elements of a good and honorable life that require the talents of designers.

The GSD’s diverse and international community is and remains vigilant against all forms of injustice. We must make sure that our creative efforts towards the making of a just and better world are more effective and consequential than ever before.

Our belief in the transformative power of knowledge and learning is one of our defining characteristics. This is the time for positive and united action. We will not only be shaped by these actions but will be judged by them too.

Long live kindness and the powers of the imagination.


Mohsen Mostafavi is Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.