Page 4 - FIS World June 2021
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A Shared Responsibility
Exploring equity, justice and belonging at FIS
 Self portraits by Grade
7 students highlight the many different faces of FIS
– and how students see themselves.
Aprolonged crisis can threaten both individuals and institutions with paralysis. Addressing daily trials and unexpected challenges can create a triage mentality that can hinder problem-solving for the future. Fortunately, FIS has overcome this potential stagnancy by continuing to move forward with important initiatives for the future of our school.
In the midst of a second academic year impacted by the pandemic, FIS has begun an important initiative surrounding an issue that has sadly become all too familiar throughout our world. The recent Equity, Justice and Belonging Discovery Summit was a milestone that brought together groups of parents, students, faculty, staff, Board members and alumni to take a critical look at how these important issues of disparity impact all areas of our community.
Our FIS Mission Statement has long called upon us to be “socially responsible,” but not until recently have we looked closely at our relationships and attitudes to see where we are succeeding and where we may be failing to meet this goal. From attracting new applicants to managing alumni relations, we are now asking provocative questions to uncover what lies beneath the demographic statistics of our international school.
We often assume that a community of over 60 nationalities is by definition accepting of issues such as Equity, Justice and Belonging. However, the truth is that international diversity does not automatically
breed acceptance and tolerance. While FIS may offer a more inclusive and welcoming environment than many other communities around the world, there is still work to be done.
As an example, our perceived diversity can actually hinder us from addressing important topics. As educators, we can wrongly assume that a multi- national microcosm like FIS does not need deliberate instruction in addressing religious, racial, or ethnic bias. We may assume that such lessons are only needed for those who have not had the broad cultural experiences found in our community. The truth, however, is that we all need to make a life- long commitment to developing empathy for and understanding of those who may not share our own backgrounds.
Since the beginning of human history, our world has suffered under inequality, injustice and division. There will be no easy fixes to bring about a change in this status-quo, but our school is engaging in ways to have meaningful conversations so that we can identify the challenges before us. It is exciting work as it can only lead to a deeper understanding of how we can make FIS a more exceptional place for teaching, learning and belonging.
Dr. Paul M. Fochtman Head of School
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