Page 9 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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MARCH 2013
members of the Foreign Service should
have the option of homeschooling their
children and the expenses for doing so
should be reimbursed, my own children
would not have traded their experience
in international schools for any other
kind of education.
Tis is especially true of their time at
the Franklin Delano Roosevelt School in
Lima, where Ms. Power is now stationed.
Both my daughters graduated from
FDR and went on to successful college
careers, as did the vast majority of their
Te teachers and administra-
tors there were well-trained, and the
students were highly motivated. When
my second daughter was a senior, we
learned that students at FDR taking the
SAT and ACT exams compared favorably
to students from Montgomery County
and Fairfax County schools in the Wash-
ington, D.C., area.
In addition to the academic excel-
lence we encountered at international
schools, our children had the oppor-
tunity to meet and befriend both
American and host-country nationals in
their age groups. Some of these asso-
ciations endure to this day, more than
30 years later. Although Ms. Power did
not comment on this aspect of her own
children’s lives, it would have been dif-
fcult for my children to have made such
contacts any other way.
Having served on boards at two
international schools, I extend my best
wishes to the selfess educators and
their supporters who make education a
meaningful learning and socialization
experience for the next generation. I am
grateful to the State Department for its
eforts on their behalf.
Vance C. Pace
FSO, retired
Kaysville, Utah
Surayia Rahman
My wife and I enjoyed the article
about Nitun Kundu (“Nitun Kundu: A
Success Story”) in the December
Michael Kristula does a good job of help-
ing to explain why so many Americans
are touched by people they meet while
posted to Bangladesh.
Surayia Rahman, a contemporary of
Kundu, is another Bangladeshi artist who
also touched the lives of many Ameri-
cans posted there. Although Surayia had
no formal art training, and little formal
education, she was one of the frst Ban-
gladeshi women artists whose work was
sold abroad.
Her exquisitely embroidered tapes-
tries, which drew on the ancient Ben-
gali quilting tradition of nakshi kantha,
were given for years as state gifts by the
government of Bangladesh. She was
also commissioned to do work for the
opening of the current embassy building
in 1989, where her art is displayed in the
Americans from State, USAID, USIA
and the Public Health Service bought
these works of art while in Bangladesh
and brought them home. Tey cherish
the memory of the modest, spiritual and
hardworking woman who overcame
numerous obstacles to support her family
and hundreds of desperately poor women
through art.
Nitun Kundu’s art is justly celebrated.
He is featured in
Bangladesh Art
, a 2003
book that helped to drive interest among
Bangladeshis in the contemporary art of
their compatriots. Surayia, unfortunately,
is today little remembered in her own
country, perhaps because of her lack of
formal artistic credentials.
To help preserve the stories of Surayia,
her art and the women she worked with,
we are making a documentary flm,
“Treads: Te Art and Life of Surayia
which will be of interest to
Americans and others who know of this
remarkable woman and her art. You can
fnd out more at
Leonard Hill
FSO, retired
Lukebay, Wash
Diversity and FS Children
Equal employment opportunity
counselor Krishna Das appropriately
noted the value of diversity promotion in
his January letter (“Diversity at State”).
As a parent, I see the discussion of how to
bring up our children within the Foreign
Service community as equal parts inter-
esting, challenging and crucial.
I think we can all agree on how
necessary it is for parents to serve as role
models for their children from the very
beginning, particularly in teaching the
lesson that everyone, despite appear-
ances or stereotypes, deserves respect.
As Das noted, State Department children
are exposed to diverse cultures, and we
as parents should demonstrate why this
is such an advantage to their own growth
as human beings.
Building a culture of diversity starts
at home, a literal reality for many State
Department families. We speak diferent
languages, come from distinct cultural
backgrounds and practice diferent reli-
gions. And yet in most cases, our children
are growing up in a culturally richer envi-
ronment than we (parents) experienced.
Children in the Foreign Service live
the concept of diversity and its social
implications on a daily basis. Tat said,
it is often necessary for us to ask: What is
our role as parents in this process? How
can we assist our children to appreciate
the value of diversity?
Tere is no single answer, but we need
to start by being as involved as possible