DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
Diversity is an intrinsic characteristic of our society and it results in a variety of values, personal experiences and worldviews that are cultivated through cultural and circumstantial differences, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, language, (dis)abilities, socioeconomic status, and national origin, among many others. At Academic Solutions we acknowledge these differences, we understand that they exist intersectionally in our students’ identities, and we recognize that their identities are as diverse as the communities, cities and countries in which they study abroad.
This is why we have decided to embark on the long journey ahead toward inclusivity through systemic change. In doing so we acknowledge that our organization is not free of biases and power imbalances, and we are working continuously to become aware of our biases and to the many forms of exclusion that we are all exposed to through socialization so that we may understand and overcome them in order to produce a stronger and more equitable environment at Academic Solutions.
In January of 2020 we formally committed to providing access, equity and inclusion to the diverse and underserved students that are not currently fully included in education abroad. We are working toward building a healthy climate in our programs so that all participants feel welcomed, supported, included and valued. In addition, we will empower, support and inspire the students to explore their identities in their new cultural contexts and to discover and connect with the diverse communities in their chosen destination. The road ahead in developing a framework for diversity and inclusion in our programs, processes and partnerships will be a long and sometimes unclear one. We invite you to join us along the way.
OUR ANTIRACIST AGENDA
It is now clearer than ever before that deep self-reflection, collective discourse and ultimately action is urgently required in order to be actively anti-racist and to dismantle the injustices of systemic racism that exist in the United States and globally. At Academic Solutions, as members of the global academic community, we feel that the field of international education is a particularly important place to do our part in dismantling systemic racism. We understand racism as a systemic problem where racist policies and racist ideas create racial inequities.
BOTH LOCAL & GLOBAL
Local communities benefit from the economic, social, intercultural and educational exchange opportunities provided by our programs abroad. Relationships are formed that lead to lasting personal connections and collaboration. Yet there is so much more that can be accomplished and to this we commit ourselves and the organisation. During the past year we have devoted most of our time, effort and resources to our diversity, equity and inclusion initiative. This will directly impact marginalized communities through our extracurricular activities, visiting speakers, workshops, networks and affinity groups.
We are aware that the path to an inclusive, anti-racist, diverse and equitable environment at Academic Solutions is one that will require multiple, creative steps throughout many years of consistent observation, reflection, dialogue and actions. We believe that the only way to achieve effective change is to incorporate these practices into our daily lives, rather than a mere annual diversity training. Some of the steps we have taken so far include external trainings related to such topics as intersectional diversity, power and privilege, gender perspective, gender-based violence, inclusive communication; book clubs that explore topics of racism, LGBTQ+, gender, religion and more as well as monthly conversations about current events to unpack them from a DEI perspective.