President Trump recently signed an executive order to bar citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries (Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq) from entering the US. Just hours after the order, we began to hear stories of people across the world worried about getting back into the US from family visits, vacations, and research trips. Just a little while later, many people took to the streets, or more accurately, to the airports in protest. At the DFW airport, more than 100 lawyers even came to offer free legal help to those detained.
We have now been hearing more about how this ban might affect different institutions in the US and the constituencies they serve. One example is the Metropolitan Museum of Art—staffers are worried that “exhibitions, archaeological surveys and excavations” they have planned with institutions in the Middle East may have to be stopped or cancelled altogether. Additionally, the Sundance Institute Theater Program is worried about its collaborations with artists from the Middle East and Africa. Thomas P. Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, spoke to the New York Times about the flow of ideas between institutions:
Scholarly exchanges and international collaborations are key to our ongoing work, and we are very concerned that a number of programs we have in place could be threatened, just at a time when the world needs more, not less, exchange and mutual understanding.
Trump’s executive order is also deterring creatives from entering the US: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who is nominated for an Academy Award for his film The Salesman, has decided not to attend the award ceremony. He told the NYT that Trump’s decisions presented “ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to [him] even if exceptions were to be made for [his] trip.” Farhadi’s 2011 film A Separation was the first Iranian film to win an Oscar. You can read Farhadi’s full statement here.