A tragedy in Pittsburgh

On October 27, eleven people were killed as they worshiped at the Synagogue.

The Tree of Life Synagogue is just across the street from Chatham’s south entrance. The killings have forever changed Pittsburgh and the Squirrel Hill communities.  Grief and sadness still permeate.

“Stronger than Hate” signs are in front of people’s houses. Students stoically wear “Chatham is stronger than hate” t-shirts.  A sticker with the same message is on my office door.

Doing weekend shopping, I drove past the synagogue a couple of times.

Gone are the outdoor memorials. They have been moved indoors to create a permanent place of remembrance at the Tree of Life.

People are still gathering at the Synagogue. Some stand on the street corner, heads bowed in silent prayer. Others are taking pictures of the building. A stillness can still be felt in the area.

Deterring hatred. The work we do as international educators is important, I might even say vital.

Through international education and exchange, participating students learn a lot about their host country. They learn about their own countries as seen and understood by outsiders. They learn about themselves—their values, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses.  Students who participate in study abroad programs teach their hosts about their home countries.

Through international exchange, we come to learn about the range of human differences. We learn about race, ethnicity, gender identity, physical abilities, national origins, political beliefs, and religious and ethical values systems.

People-to-people diplomacy, learning about yourself and others, deters hatred.  Makes us stronger than hate.

Written by AVP Chris Musick, International Affairs

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