Harvard Foundation for Intercultural & Race Relations

Category Campus Spotlight


Ebony Class of '24
Authored on November 02, 2022


The role of the Harvard Foundation is to support a critical part of the mission of Harvard College: ensuring all students get opportunities to understand identities and opinions different from their own to equip themselves with the tools necessary to serve our evolving world.

a group of Harvard Foundation interns and staff stand for a photo in Grays Hall lounge after an intern training.

Harvard Foundation interns and staff take a group photo after an intern training. 

The Harvard Foundation is committed to creating dialogue spaces, empowering events, and supporting student leadership for our College’s potential for inclusive excellence to flourish fully. Their doors are open for all students to engage in these timely and important conversations! The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural & Race Relations has existed on Harvard’s campus for four decades. It was founded in 1981 by the then deans and president with the following mission: to “‘improve relations among racial and ethnic groups within the University and to enhance the quality of our common life.”’

Since then, the Harvard Foundation has successfully promoted and sponsored programs on campus that highlight the integral role that diverse sets of races and ethnicities play in establishing the Harvard student community. The Harvard Foundation has seven flagship initiatives: Cultural Rhythms; the Scholarship and Social Justice Conference; Community Conversations; the First-Year Retreat and Experience (FYRE) pre-orientation program; The Portraiture Project; the Aloian Dinner & Awards Ceremony; and the famous Humanitarian Award.

A group of 120 first years stand in front of the steps of Widener Library for a photo of their First Year Retreat Experience cohort. They hold us a FYRE banner and wear their FYRE shirts.

The 2022 class of the FYRE pre-orientation program taking their annual photo on the steps of Widener Library.

Students sit in Grays Hall lounge in a circle engaged in discussion during a diversity dialogue.

Students gathered at Grays Hall Lounge participating in one of the Diversity Dialogues offered by the Harvard Foundation Interns throughout the academic year. 

These initiatives are more than successful across the Harvard community – they are iconic. In particular, the Humanitarian Award ceremony and the recipient never go unnoticed. Some of the Humanitarian Award recipients from the Harvard Foundation include Martin Luther King Senior, Malala Yousafzai, Lionel Richie, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga.

In an interview, Senior Director Sade Abraham stated “The Harvard Foundation has been creating and fostering opportunities for dialogue on intercultural and race relations over the last forty years. As we move forward with a fully staffed office, we will work to cultivate a culture of learning, inclusion, and joy amongst students, particularly those from historically marginalized backgrounds. One initiative we have started this academic year is “Foundation Fridays,” where we combine elements of community building with academic engagement opportunities alongside our partner offices across the College. This series fulfills our mission at the Harvard Foundation to serve as a home for BIPOC and historically marginalized students on campus by connecting students to intellectual/ academic engagement opportunities while cultivating social connectedness and joy. We invite students, faculty, and staff to join us on this journey as partners as we work to build more inclusive, enriching spaces together!"

Sign up for the Harvard Foundation newsletter and follow them on Instagram to stay up to date with their programming. You can also get a feed of their events by subscribing to the College calendar.

Ebony Class of '24

Hi, my name is Ebony! I'm a Junior in Eliot House, where I serve as House Committee President, and I am studying a joint concentration in Government and African American Studies. I also have a language citation in Spanish.