Recent events have caused me to pause and reflect. Reading the news cycle, one gets a warped sense of the world becoming a more dangerous place, and that the root cause of this danger is Islam. We see the rise of nationalism and hear the declarations that all countries should take care of their own. TGS stands against such notions of discrimination and strives to develop a community based on shared progressive values.
THINK Global School challenges learners, through firsthand experiences of global travel, to become compassionate individuals who are curious and knowledgeable about the world and motivated to affect meaningful change.
How does one become compassionate towards others? How do we as educators promote that value in our students, our school, and the communities we interact with? We do this through intentionality. We are intentional about the countries we choose to live in. We are intentional in making our students relate to real people in diverse situations, dispelling the myths perpetuated by governments, media, and social institutions. Through authentic experiences our students develop counterpoints to these myths and hopefully a sense of compassion towards our fellow human beings.
Last term we set down in Morocco, a predominantly Muslim country located at the crossroads of many cultures. It is home to beautiful medinas and mosques, the sprawling Atlas mountains, and miles of sandy beaches. Exotic spices used to cook the tajine can overwhelm your senses, while the clockwork calls to prayer regulate your day.
Like Bosnia & Herzegovina, our favorite part of Morocco was its people. From the waiters at our favorite cafe to the host at our Airbnb: hospitality is the Moroccan way. The local merchants at the shops we frequented knew us by sight and greeted us with warm smiles. I have been fortunate to visit a number of Muslim countries, and despite their perceived similarities, I can safely say no two are the same. Morocco itself is a snowflake in the desert and the perfect place to cultivate compassion.
In a world promoted through terror, I find TGS to be a countervailing force to such notions. Never before has there been a greater need for people of diverse backgrounds to come together and promote healing and harmony; collaboration and compassion; tolerance and sharing. And as students and staff come and go from TGS, it is our belief that by having lived the school’s mission, regularly replacing their preconceived notions with genuine firsthand experiences, that countervailing force will ripple onwards and outwards as they spread our values across the far reaches of the globe.