COMMITMENT TO ANTI-RACISM

Dear all,

We would like to start off by expressing our solidarity with all of you who are marching or organising around the world in opposition to the discrimination of the BIPOC community.

Additionally, we want to recognise that being a part of the UWC umbrella - we are complicit in the institutional multicultural „colorblindedness“, as we have not done enough to ensure an open and inviting space for a discussion on race and ethnicity, as well as a truly safe space for our participants.

We are writing this to firstly acknowledge and name that the UWC movement as a global network has largely failed to recognise structural racism and discriminatory infrastructure and secondly to name, reflect and act upon our prior inaction.

As a short course, we recognise our part in upholding white supremacy within UWC. We have fallen short of reflecting on our own biases, as well as making sure that the organizing and facilitating team reflects the diversity of our participants. It is unacceptable for us to not equip ourselves better to the point where we create the right and safe learning environment for our participants. Do we feel confident that our participants leave with the right understanding of racial and social equality and justice? Or might we unconsciously cause harm instead? These are the questions that we find ourselves asking after much needed reflection. In order to ensure we make our own short course safer we would like to take the following course of action:

    1. Restructure the curriculum of our short course to consciously focus on racial equality; this is something that has been missing in our programme.
    2. Include facilitators who reflect the participant pool.
    3. Hold webinars among the organizing and facilitating team before the start of the short course, in which we reflect on and discuss our participant pool and equip ourselves with the necessary introspection of how we can ensure we do not harm our participants' identities and their learning of justice and equality.
    4. Provide our participants with preparatory material for them to learn about racism and structural discrimination ahead of the short course to ensure a safer environment within the participant body.
    5. We will further our efforts to break down the authority presented by the organizers and facilitators to ensure a more welcome space to learn in, adapting our approach following constant feedback asked from the participants.
    6. We are going to include a permanent third eye acting as an additional safeguard who is always looking out for the safety of our participants.

Please find the full list of action points below.

We ask our fellow UWC short courses to come up with their own Action Plan to create courses that follow a bare minimum standard of the kind of environment that provides participants with a better understanding of the current social reality, as well as of themselves and their position in it. Having done that, we would like to combine our efforts and call for a structural reform of the UWC network of schools and colleges, national committees, short courses, and educational programmes. A reform so that the UWC community will not prolong structural racism and discriminatory procedures but come up with innovative solutions to „multicultural colorblindedness”.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us via email!

Organizers and Facilitators,

(RE)Defining Equality of 2019

Action Plan

We commit to:

  • Restructuring the curriculum of our short course to consciously focus on racial equality; this is something that has been missing in our programme.
  • Including facilitators who reflect the participant pool.
  • Holding webinars among the organizing and facilitating team before the start of the short course, in which we reflect on and discuss our participant pool and equip ourselves with the necessary introspection of how we can ensure we do not harm our participants identities and their learning of justice and equality.
  • Providing our participants with preparatory material for them to learn about racism and structural discrimination ahead of the short course to ensure a safer environment within the participant body.
  • Furthering our efforts to break down the authority presented by the organizers and facilitators to ensure a more welcome space to learn in; adapting our approach following for constant feedback by the participants.
  • Including a permanent "third eye" acting as an additional safeguard who is always looking out for the safety of our participants.
  • Creating a detailed and formal assessment of each workshop and activity including the design, set-up, way of execution and desired learning outcomes for that workshop/activity. After its execution the facilitation team will evaluate the workshop’s success and note any possible shortcomings and positives to take away and create adjust the following activities accordingly. Participants will have the opportunity and are encouraged to provide feedback on the activities both about their learning outcomes and their feeling of safety / emotional reaction.
  • Doing our best to increase diversity among the participants and facilitators. While we are confined to a certain number of participants per country, we will make sure to further more diversity by focusing more on other aspects of diversity as well, such as socioeconomic, ethnic, religious backgrounds etc.
  • Extending our house and community rules to include more guidelines on how we want to interact with one another, how to address personal feelings and problems in relation to the topics being discussed at the short course.
  • Further improve the training provided to the Designated Safeguarding Lead(s) to ensure they are best equipped to handle possible unsafe scenarios our participants may find themselves in.
  • Having designated facilitators available to talk to during Open Space. This should provide participants with assurance of their feelings and ideas being listened to, to then address them privately or within the community and adjust our procedures accordingly to make everyone feel safe and heard.