As an educational institution and more importantly a UN School, the events in the United States this week (and which have spread around the world) catalysed by the wrongful death of George Floyd, provide our community with an important opportunity to learn and act in solidarity in the ongoing fight for the most fundamental of human rights.
Across all cultures, the history of violence around the world against minorities and the disenfranchised highlights the importance of our ongoing commitment to our Mission statement and Core Values.
As a community, we are committed to the UN Principle to: “Encourage respect for fundamental freedoms and equality for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”
Our values of responsibility and community ensure that written into the School’s DNA is respect and appreciation of diverse cultures, beliefs and languages to deepen our understanding of local and global issues, taking ownership and being accountable for our thoughts, actions and their consequences.
These Values and Beliefs speak to how we as a community embrace our diversity and are not only accountable for ourselves but take action to make a difference. Our hope is that through experiences at UNIS Hanoi, our students will develop empathy, understanding and respect for others regardless of differences and take action to uphold these beliefs.
As a diverse, international community, it is easy to read these words, but much harder to truly understand them in the context of the sheltered and unique microcosm that we experience each and every day on our campus and within Hanoi.
Last week, in my message to our graduates, I stressed the concept of “privilege”. Whether it is “white privilege”, “socio-economic privilege” or “access to education privilege”, it is important that we as educators and you as parents, dialogue with your children around what this means and how it is not only different for others in the world but gives us the tools and opportunity to make a difference.
If we are to truly honor diversity and inclusion as a community, we will need to understand our own personal context and work together to proactively educate for anti-bias, anti-discrimination and take action to create a more equitable society.
At School this week students have been engaged in classroom discussions, reading lists have been shared and resources have been made available to teachers to ensure they feel equipped to nurture our young learners during this global fight for equality. Our High School student-led assembly also focussed on the Black Lives Matter movement with this moving film tribute and call for solidarity.
I am looking forward to deepening our commitment to living our Mission and Values in the upcoming year. For those of you who are having discussions with your children at home, you may find the resources from the UN’s Let’s Fight Racism website a useful place to start.
Head of School