CEESA DEIJ PROJECT IN 2022/23 - EQUITY
The challenges of cross-cultural education
It is of great importance to address systemic inequalities and promote a more equitable and just society for all individuals, regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other personal identity markers. Addressing systemic inequalities that have been happening for such a long time requires dedicated work, implementing new ways, implementing new ways with diligent commitment so that growth and learning lead to changing old and unacceptable systems until the new, better ways become systemic and the old ways unacceptable.
In one of the DEIJ sessions this year, AIELOC was introduced to the attendees – Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color. AIELOC is “devoted to amplifying the work of international educators and leaders of color with a focus on advocacy, learning, and research.” Some of the teachers already knew about the organisation, commenting that it had changed their lives. One of the pages on its website offers stories told by several members. It is worth visiting, especially because sharing stories between educators at the CEESA DEIJ meetings is what got the attendees engaged and connected.
Sharing stories seems crucial to help people to be seen and heard, as well as it is a fuel for individual actions, the foundation of any change.
“International education prides itself on being cross-cultural, linguistically versatile, and a bridge between nations. “ (AIELOC, Association of International Educators and Leaders of Color)
Equity refers to fairness, justice, and impartiality in the treatment of individuals, particularly in the context of social and economic systems. It involves ensuring that everyone has access to the same opportunities, resources, and benefits, regardless of their background, identity, or social status. Furthermore, Equity recognizes that different individuals and communities face different barriers and challenges, and seeks to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed and thrive.
The word Equity asks the following questions:
- Who does not have access to the resources and materials within this space?
- What conditions have we created to maintain certain groups as the perpetual majority?
- What are people experiencing on campus that they don’t feel safe when isolated from others like themselves?
Source: Language of Appeasement, Inside Higher Ed
In practice, equity requires taking active steps to remove systemic barriers that prevent certain groups from accessing opportunities or resources. It may also involve efforts to address historical and ongoing injustices, such as racism, sexism, and discrimination against marginalised communities.
Overall, equity is about creating a more just and inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and live a fulfilling life.
Acknowledgement, Awareness, Actions, Advocacy
Monthly DEIJ meetings organised by Sherri Spelic and Meredith Klein initiated individual engagement throughout schools in the CEESA region. Exchanging stories between educators about the challenges they meet in their schools helped everyone understand the similarities between some of them, as well as specific challenges that depended on the country the school is in and its regulations regarding certain civil rights.
Teachers in AISB shared a wonderful article in December 2022 in which you can read how they managed to find the way to display students’ posters related to Transgender Awareness Week. As they mention in the article, “Hungary’s law is precise regarding what adults can talk to under-18-year-olds about, and “promoting” LGBTIQ+ issues is strictly prohibited.” Read the story and find out how they managed to work around it. Their story begins with this sentence: “Since we started our roles as DEIJ leaders at AISBudapest, we have been brainstorming and planning what this would look like within our context.” Everything is said in it – personal engagement and dedication that is the lighthouse of a change.
What is your role regarding DEIJ in your school? Do you have any plans for the upcoming school year? Let the CEESA team know and get involved in one of the most active groups within the CEESA region. Have you already taken actions in promoting equity in your school? Please share your story with the CEESA team, we will be happy to publish it on our website.