It’s not every day that a diplomat walks through the doors of Tanglen Elementary, but on April 28, Canadian Consul General Khawar Nasim brought his message of grit, perseverance, and embracing differences to Hopkins.
Tanglen fourth-graders and their English Language Learner (ELL) program peers in grades 3, 5, and 6 heard the life story of the Canadian-born diplomat and the hard work he put in to make a positive impact in his community. Nasim, whose parents are from Lahore, Pakistan, represents Canada in the Upper Midwest and Great Plains region. He is a career diplomat who has lived all over the world and speaks four languages. Nasim credits his success with his experiences in other cultures.
“My success relies solely on tolerance and a respect for pluralism,” he told students. “We see a global view right here in our classroom and in our society, and that emphasizes that we are all in this together.”
In the District, the ELL program is striving to mirror that message of pluralism. The mission of the program is two-fold: ensuring English-learning students are receiving high-quality education and achieving proficiency with the English language, and preserving and celebrating the robust native cultures students have. ELL educator Alex Fisher said hosting guests like Nasim brings global learning into the classroom and empowers students to learn more about international leadership.
“One of our goals as teachers is to help our students develop into responsible global citizens,” Fisher said. “Having the Canadian Consul General speak to our students about the importance of persistence, determination, and an appreciation of all people and cultures is an opportunity that many of our students might not otherwise encounter.”
Curious students peppered Nasim with questions about living abroad, what type of schooling is necessary to become a diplomat, and what made him enter the political realm. Nasim said his curiosity of the world and drive to learn new things brought him to his position. And his final piece of advice to students: embrace diversity and always have an open mind.
“No matter your family background or country of origin, hard work and determination can get you far,” Fisher added. “And the diversity of Hopkins Public Schools, of the United States, and of North America is a positive attribute that benefits all of us.”