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Embracing Diversity, Rejecting Racism

11 June 2020 13:33 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

“Where I live and work, I want to be around people who don’t think what I think, believe what I believe, look like me, or love like me. I want to always be in those places and spaces that are going to push me beyond my upbringing and beliefs and views.” Kevin Simpson, founder of the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC).

The rich diversity of AISA member schools is our great strength and source of innovation. Especially now, in the face of a future fraught with uncertainty, we increasingly need to collaborate, communicate and learn from each other.

AISA unites with the Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color (AIELOC) in our shared obligation to remove historical legacies and systemic barriers that exist in international education. We consistently celebrate diversity, foster equity and support inclusion.

Racism in whatever form is rejected. Black lives matter. We at AISA are recommitting ourselves to listening to and learning from diverse voices, to creating and participating in inclusive and courageous conversations that champion open dialogue, and to the free exchange of ideas.

AISA members must continue to foster authentic intercultural understanding by learning about, listening to, and collaborating with racially and ethnically diverse educators and students in our school communities across Africa. We should never assume that international schools have ‘solved’ the issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Racial discrimination has been a common feature of the international education sector. The most powerful in this class of discriminatory practice is to simply be ignored,” says Kevin Simpson, who has experienced all of these slights first-hand.

AISA sees the eradication of racial discrimination in international education as a top priority, believing that voices of educators of all colours from all parts of the globe should be actively amplified.

AISA member school campuses must always remain places where students are encouraged to learn and wonder. Now, as schools plan to reopen, it’s time to pause and focus on the values we seek to encourage in our students. With the understanding that comes with empathy, by listening to and learning from each other, we realise that it’s because of our diversity, not despite it, that we will, every day, fulfil our role as thoughtful, compassionate and empathetic educators in international schools across Africa and the world.

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