She walked bare-footed down the ominous street, hiding her one-year-old baby in her frail arms. All she heard as she tip-toed were the traumatizing noises of bomb blasts and piercing screams representing pain, terror and fright. Thousands of people scurried around her, for they too attempted to save their innocent lives. She knew she didn’t have much time, as her injured legs failed to keep her up. With one last thought, she looked at her child who was sleeping peacefully in the midst of this commotion and placed him in the arms of her sister. All she heard was a deafening blast before black spots invaded her vision.
This is one of the thousands of cases happening every day in Syria. Global challenges in the 21st century have become a severe threat to the human population. I’m sure you all hear the news, whether it be an attack on a spy in the UK, or Chelsea losing against Barcelona last Thursday. So where does international mindedness come in? Being internationally minded means you can embrace diversity and have ‘empathy for those who are different while retaining pride in one’s own identity.’ It means being aware of, and understanding, what is going on around you; to take a positive perspective and accepting that people of a different culture with different values and different beliefs can also be right!
Albert Einstein once said, “the significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Now the question becomes: What does international-mindedness mean in education? In the past, education systems were based on memorisation and “drilling” knowledge, whereas they have now evolved into a more practical method, which includes critical thinking skills and intercultural understanding. Through this, young citizens have been able to grasp a more logical perspective of the world around them. This aims to eliminate the world’s most ancient forms of social stratification surviving to this day, which has pushed humans to carry out unacceptable atrocities against their fellow friends in the past. Education can instil a sense of justice in today’s youth, so they grow up with the awareness of the necessities and roles they are expected to play in today’s complex society. Therefore in today’s troubled world, international-mindedness is the path to a brighter, more secure, and more peaceful future.
Let’s take a step forward in enhancing the learning experience of a student, because ultimately what matters is how we solve the issues, and not just study them. The key points we must include are spreading awareness that the world is much larger than the community in which we live in, and respecting other perspectives, cultures and languages. I believe the involvement in more extracurricular activities in schools that are based on global issues and human rights would be beneficial for students and society. Such actions aim to encourage the youth to research individually and bring a change to the world. Doing this will not only make them realise the urgency to solve global issues, but also push them out of their comfort zone and improve their communication, leadership and teamwork skills. Additionally, I remember I once read that ‘by taking action on global issues we’re moving from being international just because we come from different places to being internationally minded because we embrace these differences’, and it’s important to understand the difference between being international and being internationally minded. When you embrace someone’s differences, you accept them as who they are regardless of caste, creed or color.
International-mindedness is key to eliminating forms of discrimination including but not limited to; racism, casteism and sexism. There has never been a greater need to solve today’s issues as internationally-minded global citizens.