Appreciation for diversity is one of our core values and is expressed through our Mission statement (Celebrate Diversity) and is important in our day-to-day learning. On the surface, we might think that our different nationalities are manifestations of our diversity, and this does indeed enhance our learning.
As a community, we recognize and value the ways in which we define our identity and the actions that arise from that identity. We are a community of diverse beliefs, experiences and perspectives, and yet we see our role in international education within the context of global citizenship. We recognize that actions guided by principles of self-determination, humanitarianism and life-long learning are engendered by these concepts.
We have described our appreciation and value of diversity through the following guiding statements:
- Become self-aware and reflective in order to appreciate that we often view the world and judge the actions of others through the lens of our own culture.
- Understand that others may view the same events and behaviours in a very different way and developing an awareness of the difference between a specific cultural perspective and a human commonality.
- Appreciate that language is an essential part of culture and that learning one goes hand in hand with learning the other.
- Embrace difference, become open-minded and curious about other cultures and peoples.
- Understand that there is often no universal truth and that what may be considered ‘right’, ‘normal’ or ‘common sense’ in one culture may not be in another.
- Become aware that the visible differences between people of distinct cultures are just the tip of the iceberg, and that important variances in areas like beliefs, attitudes, expectations, norms and roles lie beneath the surface and are often ‘invisible’ at first glance.
- Recognize that fundamental rights and human commonality include the respect for human dignity regardless of race, gender, culture, sexuality and religion apply universally. Develop the courage to defend these principles.
These beliefs inform our learning experiences (Promote Learning) in concrete ways. We seek to empower learners to be open-minded and take action to contribute positively in a complex world. They do this by inquiring into substantive issues that grapple with issues like human rights, development, democracy, right to information, environment, sustainability, peace & conflict, and natural & human systems. Considering these topics through a lens of varied perspectives allows us to understand that ‘other people, with their differences, can also be right’ (IB Mission Statement).
As we explore learning through diverse perspectives, we generate shared understandings that are enhanced through language including new languages, shared languages and our mother tongues. Communication becomes a key tool in understanding our own identity and our role in the community. Responsibility (Encourage Responsibility) is enhanced by concepts of citizenship and service. We hope to create learners who develop respect for the diversity of beliefs and values, and who engage in inquiry and debate within the bounds of courtesy, sensitivity and regard.
“IB Mission Statement.” Ibo.org, International Baccalaureate Organization, 2 June 2018, ibo.org/about-the-ib/mission/.