The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) strongly opposes the Executive Order, signed by President Donald J. Trump on 27 January 2017, that limits the admission of non-citizens to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries. While the ICMA is a US-based organization, it is committed fundamentally to international cooperation and collaboration in all its activities, in its pedagogical, publishing and research missions.
President Trump’s Executive Order violates basic principles on which the ICMA has been established. The ICMA is committed to core values that the Executive Order undermines, namely inclusivity, dialogue, mutual respect. The ICMA seeks to promote a greater understanding of the human condition by studying medieval art from many places and peoples.
Academics, students, and professionals who investigate medieval art depend upon the freedom of travel to study, research, teach and pursue their work. The current order will impede the work of all whose research is within the seven affected countries and will limit scholarly discourse by prohibiting entire populations from full participation in academic study, teaching, conferences and symposia. All our members need to be able to communicate and travel freely.
Our members need to have the ability to move without undue hindrances in order to carry out their work, and colleagues need likewise to be able to come to this country without fear. This executive order seems designed to create fear and mistrust, from both sides of our borders.
This Executive Order will not address the issues it describes. Deaths from terrorism in the United States in the last fifteen years have come at the hands of native-born citizens and people from countries other than the seven singled out for exclusion in the Order. Attention to evidence raises the question as to whether the Order actually speaks to the dangers of foreign terrorism. The ICMA calls on the US government to reverse immediately its ill-informed, heavy-handed Executive Order.