The talk on the streets of BIS has all been about International Day and just what an event it is going to be. It certainly has invaded my household as my wife has been involved in her South American International group, making “dulce de leche” (if you don’t know what this is just wait and see and taste it!) and an enormous piñata to hang from the ceiling in their room.
Actually, officially the 14th of October isn’t really International Day according to any reference on any website I could find. But, what I did find is that every day of the year seems to be overloaded with a proliferation of “Days” that celebrate the mundane to the strange to the really strange. For example, the day in mind, the 14th October, is actually a celebration of 4 distinct events. It is “International Spinning Top Day”, it is “World Egg Day”, it is “Vet Nurse Day, but perhaps most splendidly eccentric it is also “Be Bald and Free Day.”
But for us it remains International Day. So, what exactly does this rather enigmatic word “International” actually mean? It is stated boldly on our Aide Memoire that here at BIS we want to produce a state of being in our students that enables them to be Global Citizens, but that could also be as equally enigmatic. Am I a more international person because I have lived in five different countries (England, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Portugal)? Am I a Global Citizen because I can speak two languages and get by in another two? Because at home when all my family are together, we represent an array of countries and speak to each other in Spanish and English without really noticing the difference? Of course not, all these aspects are totally irrelevant in being an internationally minded Global Citizen.
The essence of being International, the nucleus that lies at the core of being globally minded is actually being OPEN MINDED. And this comes down to not entering into situations with your mind made up, not judging people because of where they come from or other such irrelevancies. This does not mean we should automatically give our respect to everyone and everything. But we must not pre-judge and display any prejudices at all. That truly is displaying Internationalism and that is truly being a Global Citizen.
So, let’s enjoy the last week before half-term and let’s have lots of fun on International Day, but let’s not lose sight of the meaning of it and the profound messages that this special day is meant to convey.
Tim Deyes, Principal