Ecolint is right to celebrate its international roots and ties to the UN, but its silence
regarding Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a disgrace and undermines the international
values it claims to uphold.
On Thursday, the 24th of February, the leader of the Russian Federation sent an invasion
force into Ukraine. Since then, international condemnation has been swift. A mere 6 days
after the invasion, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution ES-11/1
deploring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and demanding the full withdrawal of Russian forces
in the country. The resolution passed with 141 countries voting in favour of the resolution.
A resolute display of international unity in the face of an unjustifiable attack upon a
By contrast, in the same six days, Ecolint’s response has been lacklustre, half-hearted, and
inadequate at best. On the 25 th of February, Dr. Hawley, the director-general of Ecolint, sent
out a letter to staff (linked here) regarding the “Conflict in Eastern Europe.” In this letter,
any mention of the words ‘invasion,’ ‘war,’ or ‘aggression’ are purposefully omitted, and
there is no mention of the countries involved. Instead, the letter calls on teachers to make it abundantly clear that any “signs and symbols [regarding any opposition or support to the
invasion] have no place at school.”
On the 4 th of March (a full 8 days since the invasion), the La Châtaigneraie secondary school
principal, Soraya Sayed Hassen, once again omitted any language conveying that the Russian
state had any responsibility in instigating this invasion in a communiqué addressed to the
school. Instead, the word “conflict” was used, which actively underplays the gravity of the
situation and suggests that this is a two-sided issue with Ukraine being equally responsible
for its own invasion.
These messages stand in direct contravention with the international values that Ecolint lays
out in its charter, in its guiding statements, and in its mission statement. In these
documents, Ecolint proudly proclaims to “educate students to be global citizens with the
courage and capacity to create a just and joyful tomorrow together.” They also commit to
“combat all forms of oppression,” and to promote ”an education for peace.” Finally, they
emphasise the importance of “developing autonomy, agency, and self-advocacy.”
These excerpts highlight Ecolint’s hypocrisy and the discrepancy between their actions and
their empty ‘values.’ If Ecolint truly believed in combatting all forms of oppression in the
creation of a “just tomorrow” and in the promotion of peace, they would condemn the
unjust, hostile, and oppressive nature of Russia’s invasion. Moreover, their banning of any
signs and symbols in opposition or support of Ukraine or Russia severely limits students’
ability to express their views and their ability to advocate for their beliefs, a clear violation
of one of the school’s guiding principles.
As students and staff of this school, I believe we should call on the Ecolint foundation to
reconsider its silence. We should expect that our school, which often touts its connections
to the UN and LON, be capable of voicing its support for the rules-based global order to
which it owes its existence.
In line with this, the Ecolint foundation should explicitly call out the actions by the Russian
state in Ukraine for what they are: an illegal, wrongful invasion of a sovereign nation. Should
Ecolint refuse to do this, and choose to go on ignoring inconvenient international
developments, they would confirm what many already suspect: that Ecolint’s stated values
are nothing more than empty words used to market a school whose only true commitment
is to its bottom line.
Written by a concerned year 13 student.