February 24, 2022
The community of the American International School-Salzburg is a community defined by openness, acceptance of diversity and the appropriate college-preparatory education of young people from all over the world. For 46 years, our staff and faculty have welcomed students from all nations, all cultures and any belief systems. We welcome them with open arms and provide them with a safe place to live, to grow, to develop and to learn. We know them almost as well as their parents because we learn together, live together, take our meals together and trust each other with our health, security and happiness. We are one and many; different and similar; unique and diverse.
The critically-essential values that underlie the remarkable transformation of a group of strangers from five continents into a community of mutually-respectful citizens are those that are essential in any family and in any community that identifies and works together toward a legitimate and worthy goal. They include acceptance of diversity and a willingness to subdue one’s personal desires in order to further the interests of all; supporting the concept of a greater good and a more inclusive and mutually-caring society. They promote respect to all community members in their development of confidence and maturity while realizing their unique potential as individuals and global citizens.
These same values also reject violence, prejudice, discrimination and abuse. They abhor entitlement and injustice and stand strongly in opposition to all forms of illegitimate advantage and disregard for the truth. They provide a robust and justified opposition to those who would take advantage and gain benefit at the expense of others as well as those who would equate right with strength and power.
We have worked for 46 years to provide a safe haven for all of the young people who have occupied the desks in our classrooms and the rooms of our dormitories. We direct, we teach, we cajole, we inform, we dispute, we assist, we trust, we reprimand and we guide—and, at the end of the day, we rejoice with them in their development and their unique contributions to our lives, firm in the knowledge that their greater accomplishments are not those that appear on transcripts or report cards—but those that form and grow in their very hearts and personal characters.
We do not teach ‘Russians.’ We don’t teach ‘Ukrainians.’ We don’t teach ‘Americans’, ‘Canadians’, ‘Bulgarians’ or ‘Austrians.’ We teach individuals unique to this creation and with the potential to become contributors to peace, cooperation, kindness and charity. We teach Anna, Jorge, Andrei and Filip. Nastia, Zachary, Danica, Antje, Antonio, Kalina, Chihiro and Sanjin are our charges. Our efforts are directed toward Antony, Alex, Michaela, Pavel and Brady. The passports remain locked away in the office and have no place in our classrooms.
We stand firmly on the side of responsible actions, thoughtful consideration and positive futures. Our investments are in knowledge, healthy activity, kindness and creativity. We support peace and a world that cares to give rather than take. We are allied to all those who feel the quiet whispering of their conscience telling them to replace conflict with confidence and crisis with hope.
‘The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.‘ – Carlos Santana