There have been numerous times in my life when I think “Why me?” (or “Why not me?”), but this week is one of those times when I feel very fortunate and privileged. I have a brilliant family (and a very cute cat), and it seems like everything has fallen into place in the work area. The past 18 months have been a tad less than perfect on this front, but it seems that it might have been worth the wait.

I often reflect on things I’ve done and/or said and realised that I could have been a bit more “wise” about it (as suggested by a Board member in Surabaya), and I’ve made some horrible mistakes in dealing with people.  But, on many other occasions, if I had done things much differently, I would have compromised my principles too much. I remember, at a particularly tough time, in a number of aspects, of my life talking to an American counselor, in Ubud. He listened to my tale, and then said “You’re just not hanging out with the right people”.

Well, being at an International Baccalaureate conference is definitely hanging out with the right people. I used to say, to my administration colleagues, in Surabaya, I wish that all IB teachers could attend the conferences. Workshops are great, but they don’t give the sense of being part of the world’s greatest learning community that a conference does.

Listening to the stories of James Tooley, who researches “illegal” private schools for the poor around the world, or National Geographic’s “explorer in residence”, Wade Davis, who exhorts us to preserve our humanity by preserving traditional culture and wisdom, or Greg Mortenson, who builds schools in Pakistan and Afganistan is truly inspiring stuff. But, the wonderful experience of being with 800 others who share the vision of what the world should be, and are working towards making it happen, is breath taking.

The final realisation is that, out “there”, are millions of people who, in their own way, are labouring to “create a better and more peaceful world..”, and we will never know a fraction of their stories. I salute them all.

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