Safe Passage: How mobility affects people & what international schools should do about it
By Doug Ota
“Safe Passage” by Doug W. Ota is a book for anyone- individuals, couples, families, old or young- who are moving from one place to another, not just for the ones who are moving but also, and equally important, for the ones being left behind. It is also a guide for international schools, organisations and anyone who works with transient populations. It speaks to all who want to implement and put into place thoughtful programmes and support structures for a population that moves in and out of different cultures, work and learning environments for the purpose of producing happier and healthier people.
In essence this book has three parts and a personal introduction that sets the stage for making this book successful. The first part of the book is dedicated to anyone who moves from one place to another. Doug has taken the elusive social and emotional aspects of moving, and made them understandable and honourable in such a way that all the hard parts about moving, including leaving and being left behind, make sense. The second and third parts of the book are the hands-on pieces that international schools and organisations can use to better the quality of the mobile lives for their staff, students, employees and their families. Doug not only offers options of support, but he is a master of explaining why it is so important to have mindful programmes put in place. He does this by weaving in his personal stories and experience by backing up his programmes and ideas using physics, neurology, psychological and social sciences that offer convincing arguments.
This book works as a tool of support and understanding to all of us who have ever been brave enough to move to a different place. Whether it be a new country or a new place within a country. All moves involve disruption and Doug's reverence for the social, emotional and practical implications of a move - on many levels - is what makes this book both so helpful and useful. The fact that the author who himself has an impressive bag of experiences to draw upon- as a son who's own father was from a different country; as a student living abroad; as a guidance counselor in an international school; as a foreigner when he first came to live in The Netherlands; as a psychologist working with diverse cultures; as a father raising his own children in a culturally diverse environment - makes this book even more respectable. I can certainly imagine that this book will become a favourite and treasured resource for those in the mobile community, both personally and as a guide of support for the many who navigate these passages of change.
About Doug Ota
Doug Ota lives in The Hague and works as both a consultant and mental health clinician in the international community.