Approximately 20 students from Grades 6-12 gathered to participate in the DEIJB Youth Workshop on 8-9 October. Over the course of two days, students learned more about themselves, each other, and their school, with the goal of fostering a more inclusive and just community.
On Friday, the students explored the terms ‘diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging’ and considered how those terms relate to strengths and areas of growth at UNIS Hanoi. They also discussed what constitutes brave spaces as compared to safe spaces, and how they can create a brave space in order to share personal experiences and connect with others through critical conversations. The final activity on Friday asked students to consider what they see, hear, and want to learn more about regarding a particular issue at UNIS Hanoi. This exercise encouraged them to think critically and proactively about how they can contribute to making their school a more inclusive and just community.
On Saturday, students formed action groups based on common issues of interest, and they identified the stakeholders and barriers to that issue. From there, students created problem trees: the trunk names the issue, the roots reflect the causes of that issue or problem, and the branches above represent the implications and consequences of that issue. Students closed by sharing how their learning evolved after these two days and what impact they want to have at UNIS Hanoi this year.
“Something I loved about this experience was that I learned some new ways of thinking and new ways of interpreting information (for example using the tree diagram and the stakeholders-barriers chart).”
“I was challenged by working with others with different opinions about DEIJ work…[and] using empathy when listening to be able to connect.”
“Something I loved about the experience was that everyone had an opportunity to talk in many different groups and learn how to use different strategies to examine the issues they care about.”
“I loved being able to share personal stories and being able to connect with diverse students across the grade who share the same interests and passion for DEIJB”
“I’m still thinking about how we bring together the faculty, staff, and the student groups to work together- and how to provide opportunities for the whole community to engage.”
Their work is inspiring, and their connection to one another and their commitment to this work are equally moving. These students demonstrated vulnerability, honesty, and a genuine desire to make a difference so that everyone feels welcome and valued at UNIS Hanoi. We are all so fortunate to have these students doing this work, as their voices are instrumental to our progress and growth. We’re thrilled to see such proactive and thoughtful engagement from our students on these important issues, and we look forward to future opportunities when the students can share their learning and their ideas for action with the larger community!