What’s the real problem? Can you see it?

CIS I-DEA foundation workshop: keynote day 3

This is the e-handout for the Keynote for Day 3 of the CIS Inclusion via Diversity, Equity & Anti-Racism Foundation Workshop held on 17-19 March 2022.

It includes the resources mentioned in the presentation, slide deck, and additional resources.

Poster: Keynote Speaker. What's the real problem? Can you see it? Speaker bio. Dr. Danau Tanu


Racism affects all students. We are all complicit in it. But how? In this keynote, Dr. Danau Tanu challenges us to a paradigm shift that lays bare the way structural racism infiltrates the student experience even in areas that seem unrelated.

She shows how the ‘hidden curriculum’ can obscure the real, underlying issues in areas such as international transitions (including repatriation), classroom engagement, campus social life, academic learning, and so on.

Her keynote will help us see old problems in new ways and be better equipped to support students.


To challenge us to think of old ‘problems’ in new ways by:

  • rethinking the frameworks we use to analyse ‘problems’
  • ensuring fairness in the way use these frameworks or categories
  • understanding that it is okay to address ‘the ugly’ in our hearts
  • understanding that racism affects all students
Image of an iceberg. The tip is above the water surface but most of it is submerged. The tip is labeled 'International mindedness' and the submerged portion is labeled 'hidden curriculum'
The Hidden Curriculum. Adapted from graphics designed by Mifune Takashi at irasutoya.com. Graphics copyright: Mifune Takashi.

Slide deck

The slide deck from the workshop is available in PDF format.

Resources mentioned

The resources mentioned in the keynote address are listed below in order of appearance.

Main text: Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International SchoolDanau Tanu, 2018. 

Racism in international education. Growing Up in Transit - in paperback poster

Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds, 3rd Edition. David Pollock, Dr. Ruth E. Van Reken and Michael Pollock, 2017.

Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it. Doug Ota, 2014.

ISC Research: The international school student profile – The 2021 Report

Misunderstood: The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century. Tanya Crossman, 2016. See also www.tanyacrossman.com

‘Third Culture Kids: The Return Home’ by Tim Brantingham in Sandwich Parenting.

Additional resources

TCKs of Asia live forums & podcast.

TCKs of Asia w team profile pics

For more resources, see here.


Someone asked during the live keynote session: ‘What is inspiring you these days?’ A: I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from this.

TCKs of Asia: Language, Family & Power – #FIGT2021

I’ll be speaking on a panel with four others at the Families in Global Transition Virtual Conference 2021.

TCKs of Asia: Language, Family & Power
‘TCKs of Asia: Language, Family & Power’ at the Families in Global Transition Conference, 12-14 March

TCKs of Asia: Language, Family & Power

We’re quite proud of this panel. We’ll talk about aspects of the Third Culture Kid experience that are rarely talked about.

We’ll talk about how the experience of mobility in childhood varies depending on their backgrounds – cultural, linguistic, racial, class and so on.

The panel is made up of Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Indonesian-Japanese TCKs. So, we’ll also touch upon a topic that is considered sensitive in the region. The elephant in the room.

We’ll talk about the way the history of the region affects how children interact with each other.

As adults, it’s important that we set an example on how to maintain friendships & connect meaningfully even when we are from different sides of history. I’m particularly proud of how we cover this.

And by ‘we’, I mean:

Isabelle Min, CEO & Founder of Transition Catalyst Korea (TCK) Institute and former radio host and television broadcaster for KBS. Founder of FIGT Korea Affiliate.

Aiko Minematsu, Co-Founder of the FIGT Japan Affiliate & a university lecturer in Tokyo

Saeko Mizuta, Founder & CEO of TCK Workshop. Co-Founder of FIGT Japan Affiliate

Danau Tanu, Research Fellow and author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School 

Jane W. Wang, Founder & Coach at Multicultural Hero’s Journey 

Hope to see you at the conference! Also, lookout for the TCK Coffee & Connect sessions in the conference community rooms.

To register for the Families in Global Transition Conference 2021, visit their website here.

Conference registrations close on March 10. Pre-conference Forums have started.

*By the way, ‘Power Panel’ sounds rather grand but it’s the name of the type of panel at the conference.

AIELOC’s 2021 Book Club on Growing Up in Transit

AIELOC is starting an online Book Club in January 2021 where they will read Growing Up in Transit.

Growing Up in Transit is based on my doctoral research about the systemic racism at work in international schools. It draws heavily on student voices, with a special focus on the Asian TCK (third culture kid) experience.

Don’t worry, I won’t be joining – that way you can critique the book all you want! 🙂

To join the Book Club, e-mail AIELOC at AIELOC2019@gmail.com or click here.

If you don’t already have a copy of Growing Up in Transit, click below to get 25% off on the paperback. The promo code is valid until the end of January 2021.

While it is called the Association for International Educators and Leaders of Color, you don’t have to be a ‘person of color’ or an international educator to join. All are welcome.

Other AIELOC events

AIELOC is also organising a community discussion on how to end racism and discrimination in the international school community on January 16. It looks like a great initiative.

To register, click here.

They are also creating new space for Black women in international schools.

For more information about AIELOC and their events, please visit their website at www.aieloc.org or their Webinar & Events page.

TCK Vocations & Career—Spotlight Interview with Among Worlds magazine

I am feeling very grateful to be featured for the Spotlight Interview in the December issue of the third culture kid magazine, Among Worlds.

In this interview, I talk about how I felt like an immigrant kid while going to an international school because I was Western by day and Asian by night. I also talk about how I engaged with the term ‘third culture kids’, as well as the importance of paying attention to not just the ‘movers’ but the ‘stayers’ too in international schools and help TCKs connect with the local place where they live.

I am in incredibly good company no less! The December issue of Among Worlds focuses on TCK Vocations & Careers with articles by many established writers, coaches, and so on in the TCK world. Some articles are practical and others heartwarming.

Some offer tips for TCKs looking to build their careers. These might be especially useful for younger TCKs who are just starting out or those who feel ‘stuck’ in their careers. See the articles by:

  • Amanda Bates of The Black Expat,
  • Michael Pollock who is the co-author of Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds & Executive Director of Interaction International,
  • Tim Sandford, professional counselor & author of several books,
  • Jen Mohindra, a TCK coach

Other articles & poems in the issue touch upon our deeper longing for a vocation or ikigai (生きがい), as they say in Japanese, that expresses who we are.

  • Marilyn Gardner, public health expert & author,
  • Ute Limacher-Reibold, PhD, intercultural language consultant,
  • Rachel Hicks, writer, editor and poet,
  • Anna Oken, writer and poet

Hope you enjoy it!

Get a copy of the December issue of Among Worlds