I dropped off my 8th grade son for his trip to Altai this evening and waved as buses filled with 35 students and their luggage headed for the airport and a trip to a place known for its convergence of Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. There are many curricular goals for this trip, but I couldn’t help reflecting on how these trips truly bring together many elements of the concepts that underlie the AAS Mission.
As global travelers, these students bring a broad range of experience into AAS that span the globe through both origin and travel. These students representing dozens of countries are now visiting what some see as the birthplace of the divergence of mankind. Whether they will grasp the deep history and profound insight that is found in this treasure trove of historical artifacts is anyone’s guess. But the fact that these students have this opportunity to build their “team” and find common ground across cultural lines in this unique environment is a testament to holistic excellence and a key to global awareness and citizenship.
“Creating harmony amidst diversity is a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century. While celebrating the unique characteristics of different peoples and cultures, we have to create solidarity on the level of our common humanity, our common life. Without such solidarity, there will be no future for the human race. Diversity should not beget conflict in the world, but richness.” –Daisaku Ikeda
I’m looking forward to my conversations with students upon their return at the end of the week. They left with an aura of excitement and anticipation. My hope is that they return with renewed energy for connecting their studies to their dreams and building upon a deeper and richer understanding of the global and historical context within which they live.
Safe travels one and all!