1. VOX ISKL: The Time to Spark Courageous Conversations is Now!

VOX ISKL: The Time to Spark Courageous Conversations is Now!

Published on 03 Jan 2022

“We know that our communities of learning thrive and succeed because of the diversity of our being, the diversity of our knowing and expressing.” Those were the words uttered by VOX ISKL host and DEIJ Lead Joel Llaban Jnr as he welcomed the audience during the second instalment of VOX ISKL: ‘The Art of Courageous Conversations.’ 

VOX ISKL is The International School of Kuala Lumpur’s (ISKL) online platform for inspiring, informing, and igniting conversations about topics that matter, and in this edition, the topic focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ).

Joel, who is a Learning Specialist/Instructional Coach at ISKL added, “we will become more diverse when the purpose, practices, and ecosystems of our learning are equitable, inclusive, and just. We will become more diverse when ISKL continues to safeguard our learning community. Mindful of the diverse identities of our child/ren and our adults, we will also become more diverse with the individuals that ISKL can participate, lead, thrive, and succeed.”  

Joining Joel is author and leading educational coach, Joellen Killion. Having more than 30 years of experience in professional learning, she guided the audience on what it is like to be an intentional listener as well as ways to develop confidence and competence when engaging in courageous conversations. 


The identities of our child/ren here at ISKL and the adults in our learning community and our strong beliefs and intercultural competence and global citizenship are all bedrock of our culture of care, inclusion, and connection. However, we also know that while it is a powerful lever, it is not enough. 

Since the first VOX ISKL session with Dr. Simran Singh on the importance of living by our values, ISKL understood that embarking on the DEIJ journey may mean acknowledging some uncomfortable realities and involving discussions about matters that may be challenging to discuss openly. Noting this, Joel expressed that the webinar is one of the many ongoing efforts to spark learning, reflection, and conversations around DEIJ. “We hope it will be a starting point for conversations with colleagues, family, and friends. This may include conversations that create discomfort, and that’s okay– it is in the space beyond our comfort zones that we stretch our thinking and our learning.”


To find out how to best frame these conversations, Joellen shared her insights on the mindsets, dispositions, and techniques to develop confidence and competence when engaging in courageous conversations and guided attendees through the process step by step.

Joellen explained the advantages of taking the time to mentally prepare and listen to the perspective of others. She stressed the importance of “stating one’s perspective neutrally without interpretation, assumptions, or judgment.” She added, “Creating a space where people share what they’re thinking with one another, where their ideas are flowing freely, where we can create an understanding and an appreciation of one another, even when we perceive that we may have deep differences. It’s through these conversations that we can resolve conflict, inquire and address complex issues.”

“Each conversation holds an opportunity to experience the essence of one another to elevate the voices of those who are quiet or unnoticed and to take individual and collective responsibility, and to take individual and collective responsibility for honest, open, and constructive engagement for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for all people.” 

Abena Baiden, ISKL’s Humanities Teacher & a member of the DEIJ Team, as well as Huy Jye Khor (Jye), who is ISKL’s Talent Development Specialist, joined the speakers to give their insight on the topic of equitable, inclusive, and diverse schools. Former lawyer Jye touched on the importance of curiosity and reflecting on our own biases and assumptions. She adds that identity is complex, nuanced, and rooted in disparity and that it is “important for us to accept there may be non-closure, and to continue to communicate openly and proactively while recognizing the power, positionality, and privilege we may have. Conversations such as the one we are having today plant seeds for broader discussions and action. It is a gradual process and an integral part of the DEIJ journey.”

Through this inspiring and informative event, the school’s commitment to creating a safe and courageous school culture continues to resonate with the community. Central to ISKL’s vision and DEIJ journey is the premise that it is a fundamental human right for every student, faculty, staff, and parent to feel included and able to access and participate fully in the learning and life of its school community. 

The second session of VOX ISKL had indelibly left a mark on attendees to initiate courageous conversations, no matter how difficult it might be. Together, a community can help spark the thinking across DEIJ and help influence change. 

To learn more about the art of courageous conversations, we invite you to watch the entire webinar session on ISKL’s YouTube channel or listen to the podcast on Spotify. Are you ready to be a part of the community? We welcome people from all walks of life who seek a deeper understanding of the world to come and join us as we invite our guest speakers to provide fresh perspectives, insights, and profound conversations at our VOX ISKL series. Don’t miss out on future VOX ISKL events by subscribing here!

Want a recap of the first VOX ISKL? Living by Our Values: A Compass For Success and Wholeness with award-winning educator, activist, and scholar Dr. Simran Singh is available to watch on YouTube, and if podcasts are your go-to, the session is also available on Spotify

For more information about ISKL, head over to www.iskl.edu.my

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