Over recent months, across the College, we have been planning the ways in which we will commemorate our 50th anniversary next academic year. Our planning has been guided by our mission, including what we wish to stand for in our 50th year when it comes to environmental sustainability.
Today marks Earth Day 2021 — a time for meaningful action for our planet. This is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which presents a nice synergy, as we head into our own 50th anniversary year at UWCSEA. Our mission, from the earliest days of our movement, has been for peace and sustainability — with education as the force to achieve those aims. How apt then, that today (among many other related activities) we held a workshop on environmental sustainability across the College, mapping the many areas of work being led by students, educators and families across the College, as we seek to tell our story on environmental sustainability for our anniversary year, and beyond.
This last week has brought with it a growing sense of optimism as the vaccination programme starts to roll out in earnest across essential services in Singapore, including for our College staff. With it comes a real sense of hope for our spring and summer, albeit tempered with caution since we are nowhere near clear of a pandemic that has taken nearly 2.2 million lives around the globe.
The offer of a vaccination to our staff doesn’t yet meet the needs of many in our community who are hoping to travel this summer to reconnect with loved ones across the world, given that vaccinations are not approved for under 16’s in Singapore. But I hope that this gradual change will nonetheless start to ease some of the stresses our community and our loved ones are all under, at this time of continuing uncertainty and disruption.
It is 25 years since 189 countries adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a set of commitments to promote women's equality, at the historic UN conference in Beijing. Today, on International Women's Day, I had the pleasure of hosting three inspiring women for a panel discussion on Beijing plus 25. Where did we expect to be 25 years on, and where are we now.
I have been spending a lot of time recently reflecting on leadership qualities which I value, both as a leader and in my colleagues. This week, I have been reflecting on storytelling as a key skill: it is how leaders influence, how they reach people in ways that help them to understand, enable them to remember, and inspire them to act and change behaviours.
I have not in the past been much into personal anniversaries: they always felt rather over-indulgent to me. But, in the past few years, I have become a big fan of marking achievements and major milestones, and celebrating those things which I have invested time and energy into.