Can international schools reduce conflict in the world?

diversity

St. John’s conducted a survey on the topic of international schools and conflict in the world. The statement was: “Do you believe there would be less conflict in the world if all children would have an international school experience?” 

The context of the question was whether the world would be a better place if all children could spend time in an international school environment, where they learn to respect other religions, beliefs and opinions while trying to understand each other, growing up friends with children of all different backgrounds and beliefs.

The survey drew 162 responses, of which a total of 86% (140 people) answered “yes” to the survey question. Here are some of the comments from respondents:

“Providing opportunities for children and young adults to experience how we are more alike than different, would definitely have a positive impact. I also believe a component of less conflict is skill development which includes sensitivity and conflict resolution training. St. John’s is a school that strives for positive outcomes and defines that with international exposure with love and kindness at the core.”

At St. John’s, the expectation for respect of cultural differences is a key factor.

“I believe one of the major things that would make the world a better place even more so is if children could gain a personal understanding of their value, strengths and purpose. Once you have a personal understanding through programs that you are priceless, that the decisions you make matter, and that your life has a great purpose – that is where you begin to arrest your negative behavior patterns and see others as valuable as well.”

“At St. John’s, we were all a family.  Perhaps I was young and naive but back then I did not even think about religious and cultural conflicts. To this day I am proud of having friends from all over the world – I have friends wherever I go, and the bonds created during the years at St. John’s are stronger than any that I’ve made since.”

“Providing opportunities for children and young adults to experience how we are more alike than different, would definitely have a positive impact. At St. John’s the expectation for respect of cultural differences is a key factor. I also believe a component of less conflict is skill development which includes sensitivity and conflict resolution training. St. John’s is a school that strives for positive outcomes and defines that with international exposure with love and kindness at the core.”

“I believe people are intolerant of other people due to lack of knowledge, an international school environment gives us an amazing amount of knowledge and insight into other cultures and religions.”

“The fact that children of different cultures, religions and linguistic backgrounds are studying and working together towards common goals is as important and as powerful as the acquisition of programmatic content and individual skills. The impact upon them as future adults is far-reaching and deep-seated. This is the beauty and joy of a truly international educational experience.”

While it is certainly not realistic to expect that each child will have access to an international school education, it does show the importance of cultural understanding and respect. This process happens more naturally in a school with many nationalities, religions, cultures and beliefs represented.

As the number of international schools continues to grow in all parts of the world, we hope the graduates of international schools worldwide will take on leadership roles that help contribute to a more peaceful world.