As a professional organization whose primary focus is the delivery of the highest quality paediatric neurosurgical care to children all over the world, the ISPN has noted the current wave of protests around the world sparked by ongoing anger over discrimination based on race, and both the specific events as well as the cumulative history that has led to this. We state:
We recognize that our commitment to conducting ourselves according to the highest moral and ethical standards of our profession also requires that we stand up for those in our community, be they our patients or our colleagues, who suffer injury and indignity.
We acknowledge that discrimination based on human characteristics remains a stark and sometimes brutal reality for people all over the world.
We admit this burden is not equally shared by all of us, and so all of us must strive to be sensitive to the struggles that some of us may face.
We reaffirm our commitment to the principles of treating all people, whoever they are, whatever their orientation, and wherever they come from, with respect, kindness and human dignity.
We value diversity in our community, rather than see it as a limitation. Rather than divide us, our differences unite us.
We believe we are a stronger and more relevant organization because of our diversity, not in spite of it and more importantly, we believe that what is common to all of us – our humanity – is far greater than what is different: colour, gender, culture, politics, and religion.
We recommit ourselves to the ideal of abolishing discrimination in all forms, overt or subtle, conscious or unconscious, and we stand by our commitment to give voice and opportunity to those who have been marginalised.
We may not always get this right, and at times there may be differing opinions on how best to achieve this, but we are comforted in knowing that the guiding principle is a good and just one.
We are reminded, at this time, of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s address to us in 2008:
We may think we live independent lives, but our destinies are inextricably linked through our actions – a message founded on the African concept of Ubuntu, the universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity, ‘I am because we are’.