POSTED: November 3, 2021Category: AISA Articles, Articles, NewsBY: Steve

Of late, many of the conversations we are having with school leaders both here in Africa and around the world focus on how challenging it is to create authentic policies, programmes, and procedures for improving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) at an individual, organisational and systemic level in our international schools. In response to this need, and as part of AISA’s Wellbeing for All programme, AISA has established our new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) Design Team.

The role of the Design Team is to help lead and shape AISA’s programming in this critical area so that we can fulfil our goal of promoting practices that will redress the lack of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within the international school sector in the AISA region and globally.

One of the best things about my role as AISA’s Wellbeing for All Programme Manager is the opportunity to connect with inspiring leaders committed to excellence in education and who go above and beyond for their school and students. AISA is honoured to introduce to you our new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Design Team.

Meet the AISA DEIJ Design Team

Constance Collins
Service Learning Coordinator
International School of Uganda
Affinity Group Facilitator: BIPOC Educators

Constance brings to the DEIJ Design team a commitment to accountability. Not only does she want to hold herself accountable, but she wants to support schools in fulfilling their DEIJ commitments to, “staying true to what they put on paper,” to loosely quote Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Ensuring schools are engaged in supporting DEIJ is not a quick fix but must be embedded in school culture. Developing actionable ways to implement DEIJ plans, measure the impact, and ensure sustainability will be a key focus of her contribution.

Emmanuel Niyibizi
Head of Secondary
Khartoum International Community School
Affinity Group Facilitator: BIPOC Educators

As a black school leader in an international school, Emmanuel believes he can contribute to DEIJ from his own journey and experience. Having worked both in international schools in Africa and in the USA, and having studied in Africa and in Europe, he believes he can bring these multiple perspectives to this critical work.

Dr Nneka Johnson
Director of innovations/DEI Coordinator
International School of Dakar
Affinity Group Facilitator: Women in Leadership

Nneka is committed to the mission of justice and anti-racism and has joined the AISA DEIJ Design Team to extend her DEIJ advocacy efforts beyond her school at ISD to impact the wider AISA community.

Matthew Steuer
Early Childhood Teacher/Instructional Leader
International School of Uganda
Affinity Group Facilitator: DEIJ Collaborative

Not wanting the heavy lifting of DEIJ work to fall on the shoulders of marginalized individuals, Matthew is passionate about advocating as a DEIJ, anti-racist ally. As a white man, Matthew believes he is positioned to help reach others who are early in their understanding and awareness of the complicated and unfair ways in which many marginalized people are forced to navigate this world.

Tiwana Merritt
Service Learning Coordinator/ Teaching & Learning Coach
American International School of Johannesburg
Affinity Group Facilitator: Women in Leadership

Tiwana is joining AISA’s DEIJ Design Team because it aligns well with her personal and professional values of creating more equitable spaces for those who have traditionally been marginalised and left out of ‘mainstream stories’. Working in Africa offers a unique experience and one in which she feels in a position to support those who don’t feel they have the space to do so for themselves. She believes AISA has a unique platform and the resources to support our international school community in moving beyond a traditional understanding of educational practice and joins the DEIJ Design Team to work toward a more just Africa.

Riedwaan Kader
Grade 8 Humanities Teacher
The International School of Nido de Aguilas
Affinity Group Facilitator: LGBTQ+ Educators

Riedwaan joins the AISA DEIJ Design Team as an ex officio member as he is about to leave our region for Chile. Riedwaan’s passion and commitment for DEIJ is influenced by his own experience of being a proud and out gay African male in international education. Understanding the challenges of being an African gay man on the continent, Riedwaan wants to be part of a movement affecting change, including creating a safe and protective space for LGBTQ+ people to connect, and be included in international education. “We will no longer hide or shrink ourselves to fit in when we were born to stand out and be great!”

Get Connected, Get Involved

AISA has established a number of Affinity Groups, the purpose of which is to provide an online safe space for AISA members that share a commonality or identity. The aim of affinity groups is to foster a sense of connection and belonging, where people can come together to share experiences, challenges, and ideas. Each of our Affinity Groups will be facilitated by a member of the AISA DEIJ Design Team who will work with the group to decide on group norms and goals.

AISA Affinity Groups

AISA is committed to providing groups that offer a place of acceptance, where members feel supported by a nurturing environment of mutual care and respect. This is why all our groups are only open to members of staff from an AISA member school.

How to join an AISA Affinity Group or find out more about the group:

  1. AISA DEIJ Collaborative
    Anyone can sign up for this group – it is for those DEIJ allies who want to discuss and learn about key DEIJ issues – whatever your affinity may be
    Facilitated by: Matthew Steuer; and Peter Bateman
  2. AISA BIPOC Educators
    Only for Black, Indigenous, People of Colour working in AISA schools – secure sign up required.
    Facilitated by: Constance Collins and Emmanuel Niyibizi
  3. AISA Women In Leadership
    Only for Women Leaders (or aspiring leaders) working in AISA schools – secure sign up required.
    Facilitated by: Nneka Johnson and Tiwana Merritt
  4. AISA LGBTQ+ Affinity Group
    Only for those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community working in AISA schools.
    Secure sign up required and can be done anonymously. Please contact the facilitators for more information.
    Facilitated by: Riedwaan Kader; and Graham Watts

Learn More

AISA is offering a number of learning opportunities for school leaders and educators to consider how we can more fully embed diversity, equity, inclusion and justice into our school culture and classrooms.

  • 3rd November 2021
    AISA DEIJ Design Challenge: This one-day online event uses a design thinking protocol to help school teams to develop a strategy for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) in their schools.
  • 10th November 2021
    Finding Your Community at AISA: The aim of this webinar is to introduce the AISA community to our Affinity Groups and the DEIJ Design Team members.
  • 17th November 2021
    2021 AISA Virtual Conference: Panel discussion on DEIJ hosted by Mary Ashun with Arden Tsoyin, Emmanuel Niyibizi, and Nneka Johnson. The programme also includes times for AISA Affinity Groups to meet and connect.

Written by:
Chanel Worsteling
AISA Wellbeing for All Programme Manager

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