At the FIS, we believe that education is about more than just academic achievement. We strive to create a values-based and caring environment where all students feel valued and respected. To further this goal and commemorate the International Week Against Racism, we hosted our Human Library on Thursday, March 23.
The Human Library is a unique concept that originated in Denmark in 2000. It allows people to “check out” human beings as “books” and have conversations with them. The “books” in a human library are individuals who have experienced some form of prejudice or discrimination based on their identity or background, and who are willing to share their experiences in order to promote understanding and combat stereotypes.
For our Human Library event, a diverse group of individuals from our community volunteered to serve as “books.” This group included students, faculty members and members of the wider community. And, as diverse as the group, so are the stories. Some shared the impact of racism on their lives, others shared a story that celebrates our commonalities and some facilitated conversations around a given statement. This open dialogue encouraged the connections and we succeeded in coming closer to finding our common humanity and common purpose.
The feedback we received from both the “books” and the “readers” was overwhelmingly positive. Many of those who attended reported that they had never had the opportunity to have a conversation with such a diverse group. They found the experience to be eye-opening and empowering, and they were grateful for the chance to expand their understanding of the world.
For our “books,” the experience was equally rewarding. Many of them reported feeling validated by the community, and they were happy to have the opportunity to educate others about their experiences. Overall, our Human Library event was a huge success. It helped to promote empathy and understanding among our students, and it created a space where people from different backgrounds could come together and learn from one another. We would like to thank our “books” and the community for making this experience possible.