The ISS – a safe place for everyone
The ISS is anchored in a deeply rooted belief in the value of every human being, no matter what his or her background is, and every member of the ISS community, student, faculty or staff, should let it constantly be reflected in the way they treat and talk about each other.
I have not blogged for a while. We have had busy weeks, as we have been immersed in the ISS experience. I hope you have enjoyed your time so far. I know you have a busy schedule. The course work is demanding, and exams are now looming. There have been a wide array of extracurricular activities and excursions to participate in, organized both by the ISS administration and the Student Council, and as I am writing this, we all look forward to the International Cultural Evening. Great fun, but also a lot of work for those involved in arranging it. Naturally, you have also made many new friends that you wish to socialize with, and that takes time whether it happens on the steps of Blindern Dormitory, on a trip downtown or up to Sognsvann.
In a community as large and diverse as the ISS, in an environment where you meet for classes every day of the week, and where so many live so close together as you do at the Dormitory, one must reckon with the fact that everyone does not get on equally well. Our goal is not that everyone should be best buddies. It is, however, important that we always treat each other with respect, and never use language that labels persons in a way that can be interpreted as condescending or degrading. We should never use words that can have an an explicit or implicit tone of stereotyping individuals on the basis of nationality or identity, whether it is based on race/ethnicity or religion. ISS is anchored in a deeply rooted belief in the value of every human being, no matter what his or her background is, and every member of the ISS community, student, faculty or staff, should let it constantly be reflected in the way they treat and talk about each other. It is also important to respect the personal space and boundaries of every individual, and to relate to each other with sensitivity and concern. The ISS should be a safe place for everyone, and if anybody does not feel that safety they should not hesitate to come and talk to either the Residential Managers or the Director.
As we are embarking on the last week of our journey together her at the ISS, I wish you all the best for the finishing days of your courses and for your exams. Remember, you have much more knowledge than you might feel when starting to work on your papers or sitting for the tests. I also hope you will enjoy the friendships you have made and the fellowship which we aim to foster here at the ISS.