Studio Libeskind would not exist without immigration.
Daniel Libeskind immigrated to the United States, fleeing persecution and Communist rulers in Poland. His wife, Nina, co-founder of the practice, is Canadian. Daniel and Nina run the studio with three partners from the US, Germany and Afghanistan. Our Studio in New York is comprised of the most dedicated and talented architects and designers from more than a dozen countries. On any given day one can hear French, Spanish, Farsi, Italian, German, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish, Swedish, Arabic, and Korean spoken. This diversity makes us stronger and makes this practice uniquely American, not the other way around.
The Trump travel ban is an affront to our freedom and core values. It affects our employees, colleagues and collaborators. Now is the time for us to join hands and take a stand. On January 21, the Studio brought nearly a 100 people to march on Washington DC. We are actively boycotting companies that support the current administration’s policies. But there is still more to do. We invite our colleagues in the architecture, design and construction communities to join us. #muslimban #architectsagainsttrump
As an immigrant from a Muslim country (Egypt), the recent executive order has personal resonance. When my parents immigrated to the US in 1981, I remember vividly the first words that my father uttered as we landed in JFK, “welcome to your new home.” Although my family wasn’t seeking asylum, we immigrated because my father was fleeing an oppressive military dictatorship that was bent on draining the brains from its population. As a nuclear physicist, my father sought scientific refuge into the beacon of freedom that is the USA. 36 years later, I find my new home has suddenly been thrust into the threshold of this same predicament which rendered my old home a failed state, ruled by a toxic mix of generals and corrupt business.
The U.S.’s greatest asset is its diversity and inclusive culture. If we lose that, we are on the path to becoming an isolated police state. Countless amazing things were accomplished by refugees and immigrants who fled oppression and persecution. These people are among the hardest working and entrepreneurial. Because of their past suffering, they take full advantage of the smallest opportunity available for advancement. They are creative, resilient, achievers and despite their past hardships are full of optimism and love of life.
The new “Muslim ban” as I see it, has drawn a new ideological line in the sand. It tells the world that we are now directly hostile to the Muslim world and their refugees. It sends a loud message to the American Muslim community that you are not welcome here, citizen or not. On the bright side, we also saw the wide scale rejection of this ideology by a large portion of the population. This order has galvanized many groups against the exclusivist and divisive ideology of this infant admiration.
At Architects for Society, five of our team of 12 are Muslim, and we all come together from various parts of the world including the U.S., Jordan, Spain, Germany, India, Canada and the Netherlands. So much of our strength comes from our diversity, and it helps bring out the best in us every day.
We wholeheartedly refuse a Muslim ban as it stands against our values as an inclusive society. We will continue to serve and empower refugees and the disadvantaged both in the US and worldwide.