- Thoughts from the Head
Welcome to the Learning Curve,
It’s International Day and as I type the sun is shining. Different weather apps are showing different possibilities for this afternoon and I find myself praying to Anẓar, Hyades and Varshini not to bring their rain today (rain gods from Africa, India and Europe, I looked them up).
The very word inter - national is an interesting one. National and nationalism certainly have negative connotations from both history and the present. They conjure up images of building walls, placing our own above all else and limiting rather than seeking cultural understanding.
I listened to a talk a number of years ago that argued we should stop using this word and instead consider referring to ourselves as cosmopolitan which comes from the Greek work kosmopolitēs meaning “citizens of the world”. This is a lovely idea. If we see ourselves as citizens of this planet we might do better at looking after it and each other.
That talk has stayed with me for a long time because I’ve had to wrestle with the ideas within it. I’m being completely genuine about this, I’ve thought about it more than is normal.
My conclusion - I think we should seek to be citizens of the world. However, the reality is that we are people of places, cultures and groups that have an identity that is important to the individuals who hold them. In the effort to be cosmopolitan we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, we are much more likely to become true world citizens if we can seek to better understand, celebrate and respect the places and histories of those who are from different places to our own.
This does not stop us from celebrating our own cultures and backgrounds but should help us to ask questions as to whether there is anything in those backgrounds that might get in the way of better understanding others. Nationalism is often ugly but truly understanding our own cultures and histories can help us better to both celebrate them and to see any barriers they may place between us and cosmopolitanism.
This is called intercultural competence. It is something that I hope we can all strive for here at our school. It cannot be achieved only between the hours of 8.30am to 4.00pm so today offers us all the opportunity to find out more about another culture, ask questions and have conversations. It should be a fun day with a serious message. As I shared last week, equality and diversity are two areas for exploration in our strategic plan for next year and today is a great way to kick that off.
At the last count over 100 parents have volunteered to bring this event to life. This is amazing. With teachers and students all heavily involved, this is a wonderful celebration of our international community. Thank you to you all.
So, with a last wish to Chaac (Mayan rain god, I looked this up too) to keep his downpour for another day, I hope you all have a wonderful day.
Have a lovely weekend everyone.