A Year of Resilience

24th February 2023 marked a year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has been a year of extreme resilience for the people of Ukraine and their leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the words of Zelenskyy, “We have become one family …” this should become the definition of global citizenship in international education. Exactly a year ago the Ukraine war started amidst one of the worst events in the recent history-the pandemic. Yet, the tiny nation of Ukraine demonstrated mighty resilience and taught us some important lessons. International schools can use some of these strategies to fight the war on discrimination by being one family believing in one goal-education without discrimination.

Here are a few key lessons the Ukraine war taught us in a year of resilience. These are humane approaches, and people-centric leadership traits that build resilience and unite us as a community.

  1. Never assume: It was assumed that a stronger, more powerful force like Russia will defeat the small country of Ukraine within days. Quite the contrary, resilience prevailed, and assumptions are long buried. Lesson learned-never assume that stronger voices make the largest impact, it is in fact the most resilient voice that makes a meaningful change. Let your voice be the most resilient one in the fight against discrimination in international education. Privilege and supremacy can be defeated by overcoming assumptions. Power is not mighty, resilience is!
  2. Unthinkable is possible: A year earlier it is unthinkable that Ukraine would hold out against nuclear threats and the catastrophic war. The country’s resilience has catapulted the idea that the unthinkable is possible. Lesson learned-imagine the impossible and work towards it. If you are marginalized, alienated, diminished, belittled, and dismissed, rise against all odds, challenge the perpetrators, dismantle their systems, and bring down systemic discrimination. Global citizenship will not just be a goal it will be a reality. Imagine a better world to create a better world!
  3. Unite to counter: As exclaimed by Zelenskyy: ““We have become one family …”, resilience is strengthened by unity. Unity is a primal force to counterattack. United in objectives and hearts can counter acts of aggression. Lesson learned-international educators must come together, and unite under a common objective of equity and inclusion. We must empower our students to choose unity over choosing a gun to solve their problems. Unite to counter passive or massive aggressions!

In the above analogies, my objective is to focus on the resilience of Ukraine as an important lesson for educators. This by no means is to glorify the war. Hence this idea to use the Ukraine crisis as an example should not be read as idolizing war or conflict, it should be read to bring together communities in times of crisis. It is a time of crisis for the world of international education with rising conflicts, extremism, and intolerance. Hence it is time to be united to be resilient against the persistent storms, lessons learned from an important year in the history of the world.

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