A message from AIFS Study Abroad on the importance of continuing the conversation about systemic racism and discrimination.
Over the past few weeks, we have been intently listening and learning. News fatigue? You won’t find it here. We’ve been soaking it all in and doing our best to educate ourselves on what’s happening in the world and in our own communities, to our friends, our colleagues, and our neighbors. It’s time for us to keep the conversation going.
As leaders in study abroad and international education, we have a voice and a platform to speak out against acts of racism and injustice like those we’ve seen happen all too often to members of the black community. To George Floyd. To Breonna Taylor. To Ahmaud Arbery. To Trayvon Martin. To Philando Castile. To Eric Garner. To so many others. To not utilize this platform would be a direct contradiction of our mission to “bring the world together.” How can we accomplish this mission without first addressing and fighting against the systematic issues that divide our country so deeply? We must do better — and it starts here.
AIFS Study Abroad supports every student in their study abroad journey, regardless of race. We are committed to core values that promote diversity and inclusion. We offer scholarships for students from underrepresented communities. We work closely with organizations like Diversity Abroad to create more opportunities and provide resources for students. We provide on-going training with our staff worldwide; host and attend workshops and symposiums.
And while we may have thought we were doing “enough” or diligently handling “our part” in this, it’s clear that it is not enough. We need to do more.
We are beginning our efforts with our own organization, looking inward at how we can better diversify our team so we can have different perspectives and voices at the table. We will spend time further educating ourselves about issues like racism and social inequity. We will refocus our efforts to in incorporate more educational opportunities and to find more effective ways of supporting diversity.
We stand with Black Lives Matter. We stand with humanity. We pledge to hold ourselves to a higher standard.
It’s on us, and we must do better.
Executive Director, AIFS Study Abroad