In a recent blog, I boasted about Sterling High School where I studied in my youth, but I am equally proud of the International School of Geneva Switzerland, where I taught for years as an adult. The world’s oldest international school, started in 1924, became a co-founder of the International Baccalaureate, which is marking it’s 50th anniversary this year.
As the daughter and granddaughter of teachers, I came from a family that valued equality and education. Joining the teaching ranks at ECOLINT, a school founded on the principles of respect and tolerance, felt like an honor and a privilege. It is no surprise that my school helped create the IB in 1968 and established its headquarters in Geneva.
“The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through inter-cultural understanding and respect.”
Designed for international students, whose parents were part of global diplomacy and multinational organizations, to meet qualifications for curriculum in home countries, the IB is accepted worldwide in over 2000 universities in 75 different countries.
The demanding academic program, emphasizing personal development, is offered in English, French or Spanish at 4775 schools in 153 different countries where 70,000 educators teach 1.4 million students, which at one time included my son and daughter.
In addition to the six subject requirement, the IB candidate must also write a 4000 word investigative research essay, attend a Theory of Knowledge course, and fulfill countless hours of work as part of the creativity, activity, and service (CAS) components.
Many former IB students go forward to make a mark in art, business, government, education, science and global affairs.
“Beyond intellectual rigor and high academic standards, strong emphasis is placed on the ideals of international understanding and responsible citizenship, to the end that IB students may become critical and compassionate thinkers, lifelong learners and informed participants in local and world affairs, conscious of the shared humanity that binds all people together, while respecting the variety of cultures and attitudes that makes for the richness of life.”
I only wish some of our present day world leaders had taken the IB and become conscious of our shared humanity, developed an international understanding and adopted our ethos for tolerance.
As another graduating class steps up to receive their IB diplomas at the International School of Geneva’s commencement ceremony, I tip my hat to these multi talented youth in hopes that they will use their knowledge and experience for a greater good to bring about a safer, saner, better world.
If you have a Facebook account, once logged in, copy this link to see a video about the International School of Geneva and the IB.