By: Esha Banerjee
Just a few months ago, Russia launched a full-scale invasion against Ukraine, spurring one of the largest European wars since World War II. This conflict has shocked the world- more than three million refugees have left the country, and thousands have been killed in the crossfire. Europe is primarily dealing with the situation’s impacts as it opens its borders to migrants escaping the conflict. Austria has joined many other EU states in offering aid to Ukraine, providing roughly 17.5 million euros and offering free transportation for refugees. In Vienna, emergency shelters have been set up to accommodate the influx of Ukrainians. In addition, large numbers of both Ukrainian and Russian students attend AIS, some of whose families are directly experiencing the crisis. Recently, multiple Ukrainian students have joined the school as well. Considering all these factors, AIS has been majorly affected by events occurring.
In the wake of the conflict, the school facilitated discussions in English and History classrooms for students to have a safe space to express their feelings. Furthermore, the HS counselors, Ms. Carey and Mr. Barekman, held open forums for both students and faculty if they had questions or concerns about what was happening. These dialogues were chances for students to understand the situation better and receive support from faculty if needed. The AIS Vienna director, Ms. Miner, emphasized the importance of international-mindedness through these discussions, stating: “We are committed to helping our students through difficult times by practicing international mindedness, in which we work to understand and validate the perspectives of others, and deal with real world issues in a safe and age-appropriate manner.”
Not only have AIS faculty committed to helping those affected by this conflict but so have the students. Multiple efforts have been taken to raise funding for Ukraine, most notably the basketball game that took place on March 22. Spectators gathered to watch parents and faculty play against members of the varsity basketball teams, and the students won in a thriller by a margin of _. All the money raised was donated to the Ukraine Red Cross. In addition, the elementary school is collecting in-kind donations, specifically essential goods and everyday necessities. The proceeds will go to the Mountain Seed Foundation, an organization focusing on aiding Ukrainian children during this time. The middle school collected in-kind donations as well, with profits benefiting Volkshilfe. Ultimately, the school has come together to provide aid for those affected by this crisis, students and teachers alike.
As this situation continues, AIS continues to encourage unity among the student body.