With gratitude

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday, on Wednesday!

Thanksgiving, the only national holiday that must be proclaimed each and every year by the president, is the one day for all Americans to give thanks “with one heart and one voice.” Thanksgiving is also celebrated in seven other countries. In fact, festivals are held in countries around the world to celebrate another successful harvest. For me every autumn, as Thanksgiving nears, I am reminded of an almost identical celebration event of my childhood, when Iranians, from the pre-Islamic Persian era of Achaemenid and Sassanid to today, celebrate Mehregan, for harvest and abundance, and to give thanks.

This year in particular, Gary White, the second speaker of our new Chancellor's Speaker Series, highlighted the seemingly simplest of what we take for granted: clean drinking water and safe sanitation! “Over three-quarters of a billion people lack access to safe drinking water and nearly two billion lack any form of sanitation!”

Gary and his Water.org co-founder Matt Damon have answered the call in the most meaningful and consequential way by providing clean and safe drinking water to more than 60 million of the most vulnerable people around the world.

Given the heartbreaking events of our world today, celebration, joy and gratitude can feel uneasy and out of tune with the ongoing suffering halfway across the world. Should we aspire to go beyond thankfulness for what we have and model those who have given? Perhaps Saadi’s calling, Bani Adam (children of Adam) offers a deeper meaning today:

“Human beings are members of a whole
In creation of one essence and soul,

If one member is afflicted with pain
Other members uneasy will remain,

If you have no sympathy for human pain
The name of human, you cannot retain.”

Fortunately, there is no lack of generosity and spirit of giving all around the world. In fact, the index of “helping a stranger” has steadily increased to its highest levels.

Wishing you a safe, reflective, and thoughtful Thanksgiving, along with my sincere gratitude.



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
mo@mst.edu | 573-341-4116

206 Parker Hall, 300 West 13th Street, Rolla, MO 65409-0910