On Thursday, Dec. 3, Head of Upper School Terry Murray announced his intention to create more discussion on campus about current events. In order to accomplish this, the Upper School Administration would like to hold assemblies with the Upper School faculty and staff about current events as they happen. Hockaday hopes to raise “awareness, develop understanding and broaden perspectives as a school community in support of cultural competencies,” Murray said at the start of the assembly. “It’s an opportunity for us to be proactive in the conversation and not reactive, and to allow us to build a foundation of knowledge.” The first of these assemblies took place on Thursday and featured a 20-minute speech about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS, from Upper School history teacher Tracy Walder. As a former member of the Central Intelligence Agency and as the current Spycraft teacher, Walder shared information about ISIS such as its purpose, its relationship with Al-Qaeda, how it makes money and Syria’s involvement with this terrorist organization. Walder also touched on the difference between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims, and the importance of understanding that ISIS’s behavior does not reflect the perspectives of most mainstream Muslims. In doing so, Walder made this current event applicable to Muslims at Hockaday as well as the entire student body.
List of questions answered in Walder’s speech:
1. What is the difference between Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and who is the founder of ISIS?
2. What is the difference between Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims?
3. Who is Bin Laden and what are his ties with ISIS?