Wellesley Professor Pens Post-Election Op-Ed about Being an Immigrant and Finding Hope in His Students

November 21, 2016
Wellesley Professor Pens Post-Election Op-Ed about Being an Immigrant and Finding Hope in His Students
Credit:
Newspaper, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, reflecting media reports in Ismar Volic's native Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Amel Emric/AP)

A week after the presidential election, writers and thought leaders across the country were commenting on what the election results would mean for the nation. Closer to home, Ismar Volić, the Theresa Mall Mullarkey Associate Professor of Mathematics, published a personal and moving op-ed on WBUR’s opinion site, Cognoscenti, describing what the College’s election watch event meant to him and exploring the election results from his vantage point as an immigrant and a Wellesley professor.

In his piece, “‘America Would Obviously Not Do This’— The Election, And An Immigrant’s Disbelief,” Volić eloquently describes how the election results affected him. Volić was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and immigrated to the United States. As a teenager here, he watched his country undergo turbulent times. He writes that the election-night event “symbolized a redemptive act of an unjust world that tore me away from my first life and was supposed to provide reassurance that something like that would not happen in my second.”

Volić recounts meeting with his students the day after the election: “We chatted, trying to make sense of it all and observing that the unprejudiced and impartial mathematics I was teaching them provided the ideal remedy from the bleakness of the moment. But what gradually became clear was that my students had already started to recuperate, their battered resolve defiantly on the way to recovery. They were regrouping, planning next steps, guaranteeing the continuity of the stride that has remained unbroken for so long because of all those alumnae who came before them.”