I write to you today saddened and confused. A weekend of thought has not yet brought me to any level of understanding of the depth of the tragedy on Friday. Tears have flowed for our friends that hail from France, in condolence for their loss of family, friends, and countrymen. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
We do not know of any in our community who have been directly affected by this tragedy. We have heard messages of friends and family that have been contacted and confirmed safe. For that we are thankful.
As you are likely aware, the focus is not entirely on Paris. In the waning hours of last week, many of us saw news on CNN regarding potential attacks of a similar nature planned for this country. In a video posting on Thursday, ISIS had threatened to bring harm to Russia.
Based on consultation with our usual sources of information, it was determined that it was too early to assess these threats. The Russian Government reported similarly, but that it was still investigating the video and associated messages. We went to the weekend considering a more global message to the community in the coming days.
However, we did immediately alert guard staff to raise their awareness last Thursday, and checked our plans and procedures, as we always do. We feel confident that both our campuses in Moscow and in St. Petersburg provide a localized and appropriate level of security. We continue to maintain an open channel of communication with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg, and our other founding embassies and consulates in both cities. More information will be made available in the coming days, which will be passed to you in future communication.
As always, we hold your children’s safety as our most important responsibility. To that end, we ask your help by keeping a watchful eye at all times and particularly in the days and weeks ahead. When out and about in Moscow and St. Petersburg, a higher level of awareness is also recommended. Prudent prior planning and awareness of your surroundings is the best defense in an emergency.
We will, as always, provide an atmosphere for open dialog and safety for your children at school each day. We know that the maintenance of routines is an important part of keeping all of us comforted in the face of significant events. You are our partners in this.
When hate lashes out against love, and particularly in a city that is known as the cultural heart of the world, we know that, in the end, love will survive and thrive as we nurture together the children that will bring peace to this planet. I am always encouraged by that aspect of our mission and your earnest collaboration toward our common goal.