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Jack Ma


To the quietly talented: We see you, we need you. For whatever reason, you have been honoring the rule of “silence is golden.” We want to tell you those days are over. Have faith that when you say something, someone out there hears it.

Do not ever underestimate the power of thinking—or the strength of a carefully crafted essay. Used well, words can destroy or establish. They are dangerous and beautiful, the binary epitome of vice and virtue. Words can be the sweetest talk or the vilest assault.

Words can shape reality. They affect our minds and the way we do things. Surrounded by negative expressions, one is more likely to perceive reality passively, detect hostility, and feel stressed. But if we shift our perspective, focus on the good, and express ourselves more constructively, perhaps we can help create a reality that embraces growth rather than hindering it. Perhaps we can create a reality that values kind words over mean remarks—and uplift those who share this reality with us.

This is your chance to leave a legacy. Think of our school as more than a place where you just come and go. When you leave, make sure you’ve done your part to build our community, to broaden hearts and minds. Don't let anyone take this chance away from you. Be the change we need. Be a voice of reason. Talk about VMA, the city, the world, and the environment. Organize your thoughts, put them in writing, and share them with us. Learning how to think and express brings you one step closer to real leadership and global citizenship.

Silence is not golden, especially now when our world is filled with misinformation and apathy. This is where you come in, dear writers. You are our defense against indifference. You are vital to shaping our school culture. You ARE the change.


But what is The Agora exactly?

The Agora was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states. It was the best representation of ancient cities accommodation of the social and political order of the polis. The literal meaning of the word is “gathering place” or “assembly,” and The Agora magazine will be Vanke Meisha Academy's bilingual space for everyone to engage in public life.


How does The Agora work?

You write. We publish. Simple as that. The Agora has five categories: local, social, global, environmental, and personal. The first category, local, is where we communicate our thoughts on school-relevant issues. Can't get food fast enough at Root Café? Write about it and make some suggestions. There is always room for improvement. Do you feel that insidious bullying has to stop? Write about it. Under certain circumstances we can even publish anonymous contributions. 

The “social” category focuses on what is going on in China. There is always something larger than our own lives. Do you think China is on its way to gender equity? What is the difference between public school education and the one you get at VMA? The scope of “social” covers a broad spectrum of topics.

If you are interested in issues on larger scales, consider going “global.” Do you think cultural fusion is a myth or a fact? Is it a lie conjured by politicians to acquiesce the people? What does democracy mean given current global circumstances? Is the issue of LGBTQA overblown? Is technology promoting equity or diminishing it? The list goes on.

“Environmental” is self-explanatory. Discussing environmental issues in one of the greenest cities around the world only seems the right thing to do. Why do we need to care about the environment? What is fast fashion doing to the planet Earth? What can we do to make our school more environmentally friendly? How do you feel when you see a hill of plastic delivery food containers outside the classrooms? Have you ever wondered where the waste plastics end up? Believe it or not, environmental issues have everything to do with us. Sometimes we don't see or deal with the consequences of our actions. But not seeing the consequences does not negate their existence. What goes around comes around… Silence might not be golden, but this rule surely is.

Last but not least, is the “personal” section. Everyone comes to VMA with stories, and everyone loves a good story. You can write about the people you care about, someone you have lost, the one who has inspired you, or the person who has had a lasting influence on you. Schedule an interview with the person you want to write about, or you can dig deep into your memories. Good stories lead you to see layers of life you never knew existed. Good stories make you realize just how far people have gone to be where they are today. Write about dreams and the burdens people learn to carry along the way. Love, strength, regrets, and triumph... the “personal” section is about humanity in all its various forms.


Who are we looking for?

1. Writers: We are looking for VMAers to collaborate regularly or on your terms. Students, join us and develop your writing skills with seasoned, sharp, and creative editors! Writing takes time; we know it. And time we will give you. Teachers, put your thoughts in writing, splash your talent! We have a dynamic team ready to discuss any ideas you have.

2. Committee members: We are looking for some students to form a team for The Agora. The committee's responsibilities include planning the theme of each issue of the magazine, reviewing articles, providing suggestions on revision, recruiting writers, photographing or collecting nice photography works, promoting AGORA school-wide and beyond, etc.


We want to make AGORA YOUR magazine. A place where you showcase what you really care about, your insights, your thoughtfulness and all the quirks that make you who you are. 

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