Your world, your voice

This is the second year of the Manitoban’s International Comment section. Last year was a great success, as many diverse voices were heard, lively debates occurred and students from across our university were able to share their views on international issues. In our second year, we will build upon that success and seek out an even wider range of voices and opinions. There is plenty of potential for this section of the Manitoban, because in many ways the University of Manitoba is a microcosm of our world.

On a campus as diverse as ours, the cultures, opinions and life stories are endless. For those students who came here from another country, the International Comment section is your place to have your voice heard, and to share with your fellow students the uniqueness of your journey. Even if you are unsure about your writing skills, or have never written for a newspaper before, we will work with you and help you in every way we can, so you can become comfortable and confident to share your voice with others.

For those of you who are interested in world politics, peace and conflict studies, international law or the many other disciplines that study world issues, the International Comment section is your place to share your opinions and views as well. As can be expected when dealing with complicate situations, the International Comment section will often touch on issues that can be divisive, and that feature deeply held opinions on different sides. We won’t avoid these issues; we will give everyone, regardless of their point of a view, a chance to share what they believe. We will work with you to make sure your article is properly sourced and properly formatted, but beyond that, we will continue to create an environment of mutual respect and acceptance for differing ways of thinking.

Though our perspectives on many of these issues may differ from one another, each of us has the opportunity to express our own view of the world. There is something amazing about the fact that we all share the same university, but our minds can be so different. We all look out upon the same world, yet we come to vastly different conclusions about what is right and what is wrong. The sharing of these views, whatever they may be, is an essential part of being a student, and we are all made wiser by hearing views that question and challenge our own.

Our world is in a period of rapid change. From a shifting economic landscape, environmental issues, to peace and conflict, events on the international stage are moving quickly and it takes effort to keep up. Every week we will have three or four story ideas for volunteers to choose from, but if there is another international topic or issue that truly interests you and that you feel passionate about, we are completely open to working with you on that as well.

Each of us has something meaningful to contribute to the discussions of the big issues of today. The Manitoban is your newspaper; it exists to give you a voice. Though it may seem intimidating at first to know that many people will be reading your thoughts and words, the Manitoban is full of knowledgeable and caring people who will support you every step of the way. As the new International Comment Coordinator, I invite all of you to become volunteer contributors. Together we will share the stories and journeys of our fellow students, and continue to showcase and celebrate the diversity of our campus and our world.

Spencer Fernando is the International Comment Coordinator for the Manitoban.