November 6, 2023

Dear GW Business Community,

If you haven’t already seen this great news article by The Wall Street Journal, I want to share as it features the GW School of Business and our recognition as top in the nation for gender parity in full-time M.B.A. enrollment, according to the Forté Foundation. We have for the past four consecutive years achieved majority women enrollment in our full-time M.B.A. class which is still uncommon among business schools. In fact, our school has achieved gender parity across graduate and undergraduate enrollment. These trends are important and speak to the commitment of many individuals throughout our school who contribute to an environment where diversity, equity, and inclusion are not only celebrated, but fostered.
Transgender Awareness Week 
Dates and Resources
Heritage and identity commemorations are opportunities to recognize diversity and learn about the history, culture, and contributions of groups that too often have been excluded from full participation in American culture. Many groups' stories are not as well-known as they should be, and as a result, our knowledge of history is limited. Through such events, we connect with others, gain empathy, and broaden understanding of our diverse community. Transgender Awareness Week, commemorated from Nov. 13-19, celebrates and uplifts members of the trans community and also brings awareness to their stories and challenges. It is followed by Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, which honors the lives of trans individuals who have been victims of transphobic violence and discrimination.
I recommend an insightful article by a former faculty member at the GW School of Business, Professor Katina Sawyer, who shared ideas for how companies can create a more trans-inclusive environment within their organizational cultures and policies. The Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting LGBTQ young people through crisis counseling and suicide prevention services, has a useful educational resource called “A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Young People,” that includes best practices and terminology.

Native American Heritage Month 
Celebrating at GW and around Washington, D.C.
Native American Heritage Month is celebrated each November by presidential proclamation, and began with President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

A good way to commemorate and learn about local Native American heritage is by attending an upcoming event at GW or in our local area. I recommend visiting the ongoing exhibit, Return to a Native Place: Algonquian Peoples of the Chesapeake at the National Museum of the American Indian. As described on their website, visitors can "meet the Native peoples of the Chesapeake Bay region–what is now Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware–through photographs, maps, ceremonial and everyday objects, and interactives. This compact exhibition educates visitors on the continued Native presence in the region, and provides an overview of the history and events from the 1600s to the present that have impacted the lives of the Nanticoke, Powhatan, and Piscataway tribes." 1992.

Our university resides on the Native homelands of these tribes that have served as stewards of the local land and waterways for generations. For more information, download the Guide to Indigenous DC application, a walking tour guide with information on 17 sites of historical and contemporary importance to Native peoples across D.C. 1992.
Faculty Contributions 
Indigenous tourism is a burgeoning field of research and a growing sector within the broader tourism industry. Professor Seleni Matus, director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS), has focused extensively on advocating and supporting tribal nations, ensuring that they have a voice in the tourism economy at the state and local levels. Under her leadership, the IITS has helped to create partnerships between states and tribal nations in places like South Dakota. The IITS co-led the establishment of the Indigenous Tourism Collaborative of the Americas (ITCA), a network of leaders and representatives from indigenous and tribal communities and the tourism sector. Earlier this year, the ITCA released an Indigenous Tourism eLibrary, with resources for indigenous tourism stakeholders. On December 12, the IITS and ITCA are launching a new Distinguished Indigenous Leaders Lecture Series. The series will be an opportunity for scholars, industry leaders and advocacy organizations to have a dialogue about the future of sustainable indigenous tourism.

Cevat Tosun, Eisenhower Chair and professor of tourism studies and management has written and studied ways that tourism development can be fair and advantageous for indigenous populations who reside in communities that are frequent tourism destinations. Findings from Professor Tosun demonstrate that a participatory approach that asks for and draws from community-level input in tourism development decision-making has benefits for indigenous populations, tourists and tourism businesses. Professor Tosun’s students have also focused their research on how over-tourism impacts indigenous tribes.
International Education Week 
Special Event and Student Contest
International Education Week is co-sponsored each year by the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education. The Dean’s Diversity Council and the Office for Global & Experiential Education (G&EE) will co-host an International Education Week Celebration on November 15 from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. in the Crain Center (Duqués Hall, 150). All students, faculty, and staff are invited. Please mark your calendars and look for detailed announcements.

G&EE is also hosting an International Education Week Photo Contest, open to graduate and undergraduate students at the School of Business. The photos can be captured either while away on GW study abroad program or in the Washington, D.C. area, provided that they represent an aspect of global business. Submissions will be accepted through November 12.

Before I close, I would like to provide a note regarding the Dean’s Diversity Council. The Council is composed of 18 faculty and staff at the GW School of Business. We meet monthly and hold an annual retreat during the summer. Our purpose is to inform, uphold, and promote diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices and culture within the GW School of Business. Are you interested in joining? Email me at to start the conversation.
All the best!    
Leo Moersen, JD, CPA (He/Him)
Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Associate Professor of Accountancy and Business Law
School of Business
George Washington University
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