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  • Drs. Douglas W. Ota

The Path of the Swallow: An Update in 12 Parts | Part 1: "Origins"

Updated: Oct 29, 2019



I've been silent on social media for years. The privacy scandals of the last few years provided an excuse to go off grid. I grabbed the chance, and disappeared. And then I got to work.


Swallows disappear too. One day they're buzzing around your house, eating up to 50,000 insects per day, and the next day they're gone. But it's when you don't see them that they're hardest at work, flying 320 kilometers per day across migration ranges approaching 10,000 kilometers.


I just flew 9,831 kilometers to Vietnam, and feel like a swallow that's come home to roost. I'm writing this "Update in 12 Parts" to explain, turn by turn, the path my career has taken in landing me where I am. Why? Because others have joined me. And our flock's trajectory may be important, to you, to your kids, to people you know, to international education, to education in general, perhaps even to the planet.

Perspective is, after all, a function of altitude.


The origins of my journey started in grief: the grief I saw all around me, but unspoken, at a school where people came and went constantly. It progressed through one of the most amazing teams I ever participated at, with talent too broad to name, at the American School of the Hague. It fell on its face, and got up, with two books I failed to write, and one I eventually did—perhaps because I had to mature into its sole author.

In all honesty, I thought I was finally home when I published Safe Passage. But that tome was simply the nest from which future expeditions would depart.


This twelve-part update tells the tale of the swallow, as the journey to address mobility in schools pitches and rolls, soars and crashes, feeds and is fed. Read along, and find out why this particular swallow has migrated East.

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