I was born into this world in Bucharest, Romania, and came to know the world in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I am a third-culture kid that has never felt out of place anywhere. I had a simple and happy childhood, with a lot of travel experience around Ethiopia since I was 8 years old. Most of my childhood was spent in Ethiopia except for a four-year period spent in Romania.
My time in Ethiopia was spent among family, friends and traveling to other regions of Ethiopia with my parents. I have fond memories of Romania too, especially the four summers I spent with my grandparents in the countryside. The countryside experience was extremely powerful as playtime was combined with lots of meaningful chores.
These subtle childhood travel experiences had a positive impact on how I empathize and perceive others. I credit this to a travel experience that has not been superficial but has rather been a 100% immersion in the community. To this day, I love traveling and experiencing the local food and culture without any prejudice. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”.
The adventure of traveling continued with my wife Daniela and my daughter Ethiopia Alexandra. We have toured together and experienced the beauty of places, people and food from a family perspective. It is totally different when the needs and perspectives of three different people meet.
Besides travel, I love sports and reading nonfiction books. The love for sports guided my first choice for my university education, Physical Education, and Sports. I had a wonderful university experience that among many sports introduced me to skiing, fencing, air rifle shooting, judo, and gymnastics for the first time. Due to my profession, I am often asked what the best fitness/sporting activity is. My answer to that is to find the fitness or sport you love. This will keep you motivated and allow you to dedicate the time. Commitment is the most important aspect. If you do any activity with passion and commitment, the physical, social, emotional results will come without a doubt.
I joined ICS 18 years ago and have loved every bit of the experience. I love working with students and facilitating different opportunities that can broaden their horizons or experience. Ironically, one of my first duties was to facilitate and plan the Week Without Walls program, a duty that involved a lot of travel. I guess what you love becomes you. What I like most about ICS is change, things are always evolving at ICS.
I encourage everyone to do their part during this pandemic, we shall overcome it, it is just a matter of time.
Danel Kidane is the Athletics Director at ICS and is passionate about Physical Education and sports.