Fall in love with our communities’ colours and tastes and dances and smells and rhythms and know that here, we ALL belong

Mr. Tomalin’s Speech for International Day

Welcome everyone! I’d like to extend a special and personal welcome to our founding family, the Fernandez family, and to Mr Walsh, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy. He has kindly agreed to talk to us on behalf of his Ambassador.

How excited are we all feeling today?

Guess what we finally found?!?! The time capsule that was buried TEN years ago! Very shortly we will be opening a wonderful window into our school’s history! Some students who are now in Year 13 wrote themselves letters when they were in Year 3! It’s a big and emotional moment!

Today is about colours, delicious smells, flag waving, parades, gifts of talent to CGB, coming together as a community, celebrating CGB’s 20th birthday, sharing food from our different countries, and living the spirit of our unique global family.

But International Day is just a tiny glimpse into what it means to be international. The flag waving for many of us can feel complicated and clunky. Sometimes our governments act in ways that we do not agree with, sometimes against our friends or even family members who might be metaphorically waving other flags. Sometimes governments take down other people’s flags and swap them with their own. Without anybody’s consent.

Sometimes when we are far away from home and we see our flag somewhere it can make us feel a sense of nostalgia or pride for the things that our country has done that have been good for the world. When children or staff simply don’t know where they fit – those conversations are enriching and important for our community.

Nationality, nation state, nationhood, are all very complex issues and things we are able to discover through days like today. Look at the identity struggle going on in Spain and Cataluña, or Iraq and Kurdistan right now. How will it unwind? Only time will tell.

As a Brit who was brought up in England, has lived in Italy, Swaziland, Sweden, and Colombia, these three colours I am wearing, the food on the GB table, the music you will hear as we parade, and the dances you will see do not define me. I can relate to all of them, but each and everyone of us are sooooo much more complicated than our passport, or passports.

CGB IS truly international and today is nothing more than an excuse to come together, to remember how complicatedly and beautifully different we all are, to learn SOMETHING new from each other, and to remember that our diversity is what unites us. It IS possible to live together in peace even if we come from all over the world – because we do it – every day. That is OUR gift of hope, from CGB to the world.

Please don’t feel any sense of competition today. Don’t stress about which country raises the most money, but just fall in love with our communities’ colours and tastes and dances and smells and rhythms and know that here, we ALL belong! Today is not the only expression of internationalism at CGB, so I encourage everyone to simply enjoy the party while being, and learning, together with people we love and respect.

Happy 20th birthday CGB. And happy International Day 2017!


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