We are proudly telling the world about our alumni in our 50th anniversary year. Featured alumnus Robin Ye is a Chinese American IB graduate from the International School of Beaverton, US. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with a Human Rights minor from the University of Chicago. An organizer by trade, and a policy wonk & political junkie at heart, his first entry into politics was through his extended essay covering a local Portland, Oregon school bond measure. He currently works as a Field and Political organizer at the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) located in Southeast Portland.
How did you reach where you are today?
Today I find myself as a Community Organizer working to unite Asian and Pacific Islanders to achieve a more just world here in Oregon. Few paths are linear, but I have clung to the notion of a special affinity for wanting to listen to and tell stories about what makes us human. I wanted to inspire others to care about our collective condition, about identity, about community, dignity, and moral ambiguity. I wanted to know the full extent of it – the good, the bad, the ugly and the revered, not the iterations of ourselves that we squeeze into spaces unfit to hold our grandeur.
I wanted to inspire others to care about our collective condition, about identity, about community, dignity, and moral ambiguity.
Why did you originally decide to pursue an IB diploma?
I wanted to learn how to write, and to write well. The only way to do that was to practice, and to be forced to write even when I didn’t want to — especially when I didn’t want to! Writing is more than a form of expression, and it’s meant for more than just self-reflection. It’s inquiry at work. To explore writing is to explore a key component of my thinking process – I think on paper (or on keyboard?), and the writing process shapes my thinking, and vice versa. More importantly, writing depends on the audience in mind. I wanted to learn a way to sway hearts and persuade minds.
Which of your IB teachers inspired you most?
Mr. David Ruff was my IB English I & II teacher. I often think about how my IB education set me up for a strong Liberal Arts education — an education that taught me how to carve my own place in society. Mr. Ruff helped empower my development as my own person, with a unique voice and a story to share. He hated the words “relatable” and “impactful” and I realize now that he wanted us to show, not tell.
Mr. Ruff helped empower my development as my own person, with a unique voice and a story to share.
Mr. Ruff was a fan of the illustrative example and helped teach me the sharpness of words and their amoral ability to cut through confusion or cut down humanity.