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E C O L I N T M AG A Z I N E • N ° 2 1

EDUCATING FOR A BETTER WORLD ECOLINT GOES GREEN How our three campuses are embracing sustainability THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE Our noteworthy politicians

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A word from the DG


Happy 50th birthday to the IBO!

Cranes for peace


Welcoming Jamie Williams

Vincent Puttemans : du nouveau au Département des finances


Ecolint goes green


A fond farewell


Educating for a better world


Back to the foundations in Kenya


Ecolint dynasties


There and back again


Changing world views one guest at a time


The art of the possible


Nature et inclusion : on aménage sur les campus


Ecolint’s star quality


The Back Board


+41 (0)22 787 24 00


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Alumni Office

+41 (0)22 787 25 55

La Grande Boissière

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La Châtaigneraie

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Campus des Nations

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WEB Foundation: Alumni: Institute:

Ecolint Camps: Centre des arts:

MAKE A GIFT Ecolint is a not-for-profit Foundation. Our Development Associate Brian Wahlen is available to discuss ways of providing additional support via a regular or once-off donation. Taxpayers from various jurisdictions, including the US, the UK and Switzerland, can benefit from tax deductions (see page 18). Contact: +41 (0)22 787 26 19 IMPRESSUM Editor-in-Chief: Michael Kewley (Director of Marketing & Stakeholder Relations) Managing Editor: Thaïs Ruegg (Alumni Community Manager) Editorial Team: Catherine Mérigay (Communications Manager), Francis Poncioni (Graphic Designer), Alejandro Rodriguez-Giovo (Foundation Archivist) Printed by PCL Presses Centrales S.A. / Production 14,000 copies International School of Geneva, 62, route de Chêne, CH-1208 Geneva Echo is published twice a year by the Marketing & Stakeholder Relations Department, International School of Geneva and is also available on the school and alumni websites. For more information about echo or to submit information for publication, or if you would like additional copies, please contact the Managing Editor ( The Marketing & Stakeholder Relations Department has made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this edition is accurate and complete. However, despite our sincere desire to avoid errors they might occur. © Copyright International School of Geneva, November 2017.


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ON THE COVER: La Chât primary school students folded one thousand origami cranes that Librarian John Kolosowski transported to Hiroshima, where they are currently on display. Read the story page 4.

A WORD FROM THE DG Getting Better I know it should not matter one bit, but for some reason I am obsessed with becoming a better long-distance cyclist. On the other hand, I golf occasionally and I am okay with going through the motions, having a good walk and enjoying conversation and friendship on the golf course. If I get more or less the same score when I turn sixty-five that I got when I played with my friends while we were in college together, c’est la vie. Cycling is entirely different for me. I read all sorts of cycling blogs, get esoteric magazines with articles about the importance of the suppleness of the sidewalls on bicycle tires, how to choose the highest calorie-per-gram food you can find at a grocery store and who makes the best handmade leather saddles. My wife complains about me reading the user manual for my latest cycling computer in bed. I ask her whether I should shave my legs to get a bit more aerodynamic and as a precaution for a fall. You don’t want hair matted into a road rash after crashing, but that is probably too much information for you right now. You can guess how many eye rolls I got in response to the question about shaving my legs. Ask me about cycling clothing if you have a few hours to spare. It gets worse. If I am in a coffee shop and I see a custom-made bicycle parked outside, I won’t leave until I find the owner and ask her all about it. I look at cycling YouTube videos of cyclists who share their tips on how they found the right cadence for different cycling conditions. And I ask my children to take videos of me cycling so that I can figure out things I can tweak that would make a more effective hill climber. I know I am not going to win the Tour de France and probably not the Paris–Brest– Paris brevet that is a recreation of the original race held every four years (PBP for aficionados). But I am determined that I improve something every time I ride. I may have to swipe through several screens on my cycling app to find it; but I want something to be better than my previous best. I want that to be

true the next time I ride. And true for the last pedal stroke I take on this planet. So what does that have to do with being the newest Director General of Ecolint? If you look closely at the Ecolint mission statement you will see this: “The school strives continually… to do better than its previous best.” I know that Ecolint is the oldest international school in the world and the birthplace of the International Baccalaureate Diploma. I also know you can’t relive the past.

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When I saw the audacity behind the aim always to do better than the previous best, it felt like a place I wanted to be a part of, a place for growth and maybe even the launchpad for the next international education moon shot. I am not here to play golf. I am here to cycle. I can hardly wait to ride with all Ecolint staff in a team pursuit of the best educational experience possible for each student. David Hawley Director General



well-earned graduation certificates. In a visual spectacle like no other, the sun beat down on the flags of a hundred nations, while graduates from all corners of the earth - many in national dress - proudly approached the rostrum.

Delegates at this October’s International Baccalaureate Organization annual conference in The Hague had a very special treat. They were invited to the world première of a new documentary film, entitled “A Better World Through Education”, produced by the UK’s Independent Television News to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the IB Diploma. As the birthplace of the IB, Ecolint was naturally invited to participate, and a swelteringly hot afternoon in June saw ITV news anchorman Lewis Vaughan Jones on location in the Greek theatre of La Grande Boissière where the first diplomas were awarded. The cameras rolled as the graduating class listened to an inspiring address from philosopher A.C. Grayling before descending the stone steps as so many of their fellow alumni have done for decades before them - to collect their

CRANES FOR PEACE To commemorate this year’s International Day of Peace, La Châtaigneraie Primary school students participated in a collective project to fold one thousand origami cranes, following in the Japanese tradition of “senbazuru”. According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes will be granted a wish by the gods, or will have eternal good luck. In Japan, strings of the birds are often gifted to newlywed couples by family members, or hung as lucky charms in people’s houses. In more recent times, it has become customary to donate senbazuru to peace memorials in various temples around Japan, most notably in the city of Hiroshima, which was devastated by the atomic bomb “Little Boy” towards the end of World War II in August 1945. The temple in Hiroshima also pays tribute to a “little girl”, by the name of Sadako Sasaki, a two-year old survivor of the bombing, who sadly went on to develop leukaemia caused by the radioactive fallout. Before losing her life in 1955 at just twelve years of age, Sadako started folding her own senbazuru, hoping


see what we can do in the near term, that is the equivalent to the creation of the International Baccalaureate diploma, to address some of the issues that can only be addressed when we’re working collaboratively and when we recognise how interconnected and interdependent we are on this planet.”

Featuring interviews with graduating students, alumna Lakshmi Sundaram (LGB The film can be seen online at: ‘97) and staff including Director General, Dr David Hawley, the profile of Ecolint clearly lays out the critical role played by the school in pioneering the international schools movement and creating the IB, which Lewis Vaughan Jones now boasts around on location at LGB 1,500,000 graduates. It also laid out David Hawley’s ambitious vision for the future: “I’m very excited about incubating here and innovating here, with this extraordinarily diverse population, excellent faculty, students, staff, to

to secure a cure for her disease. When her premature death brought an end to her project, with only 644 birds completed, Sadako’s school friends folded another 1000 birds in her honour, which were buried with her. Sadako Sasaki has become a household name in Japan, and she has become symbolic of the terrible impacts of nuclear warfare. A statue of her, holding a crane, was erected in her memory in 1958 in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, with a plaque beneath it which reads: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.” Many children and other individuals continue to make senbazuru, which are affixed to the monument in Hiroshima and left to disintegrate slowly, forming a poignant reminder for visitors about victims of war such as Sadako, and the ongoing need to work for peace. The project was the brainchild of Senior Librarian John Kolosowski, himself a former long-term resident of Japan, who told Sadako’s story to students, taught them how to make origami cranes, and worked with both students and staff to make the paper birds. During the October break John personally transported the senbazuru,

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John Kolosowski in Hiroshima

made predominantly in Ecolint’s colours, to Hiroshima, where it is currently on display. A proud tribute to our ongoing commitment to peace, and an antidote to forgetfulness.

ND VIEWS WELCOMING JAMIE WILLIAMS Jamie Williams stepped into the role of Acting Secondary School Principal at Campus des Nations at the start of this school year, after thirteen years as Assistant Principal. He succeeds Leslie Meyer, who left the position in the summer. About his new role, Jamie said: “In my past role at Campus des Nations I focused on curriculum and school logistics, but this year has seen the opportunity to work more closely with parents, students and staff on a greater variety of school elements. This has included working more closely with the Parent Teacher Association and the Class Parent Representatives, receiving feedback on the school and enabling them to carry out their roles. “I have also had a greater involvement in pastoral aspects of the Secondary School and this has not only been rewarding but it

has also reinforced my belief that systems must be in place to support students and ensure that they feel secure. When students are happy and at ease in their learning environment, they will succeed. This simple fact should never be underestimated. “I am looking forward to working with a dynamic faculty who strive to create a captivating curriculum, where students reflect fluidly between subjects, creating inquisitive learners who find a passion for knowledge and its application in a positive, new and moral way. “Finally, I enjoy working with the students themselves. I visit classrooms regularly and whilst there I work with the students to get an understanding of their learning experiences. This week, I have been in a year 7 Mathematics class working on decimals and their multiplications, completed an online questionnaire with a year 7 French class, and worked on the most important people in the Industrial Revolution with year 9.

VINCENT PUTTEMANS : DU NOUVEAU AU DÉPARTEMENT DES FINANCES Engagé en mai dernier comme Responsable du Service Comptabilité, Vincent Puttemans a succédé à Patricia Bellotto, partie à la retraite en octobre après un impressionant nombre d’années passées à l’Ecolint : 41 ! Après quelques mois passés ensemble pour garantir une transition sereine, Vincent Puttemans est désormais seul à la barre. Rencontre. Quel a été votre parcours avant d’arriver à l’Ecolint ? Après une maîtrise en économie appliquée à l’Université catholique de Louvain (Belgique), j’ai travaillé dans plusieurs secteurs, toujours dans le domaine de la finance : ferroviaire, développement (micro-crédit), éducation, immobilier et comme indépendant en Belgique, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie et en Suisse. Je suis de langue maternelle flamande et je parle couramment l’anglais et le français. Quels ont été vos sentiments après quelques jours ? Je me suis dit que j’avais de la chance de faire

Jamie Williams

“Being in touch with the student experience is always a priority, a pleasure, and it is always thought provoking!” Jamie is a British national, with a rich experience in schools in the UK, Monaco and Geneva. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Soil & Environmental Sciences from the University of Reading and a PGCE from the University of East Anglia, Jamie is a Geography specialist. Having worked closely with the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) on the development of the IB Diploma Geography syllabus, Jamie has been an examination writer and team leader, as well as a workshop leader, for the IBO.

IN BRIEF… > Kermesse dates for 2018: La Grande Boissière on 26 May; La Châtaigneraie and Campus des Nations on 16 June. > The Centre des arts received the Minergie certificate this Fall, officially confirming that it is a high energy efficiency building. The Centre des arts is committed to sustainability and to protecting the environment. Vincent Puttemans

partie d’une Fondation dont l’histoire est aussi riche et qui bénéficie d’une excellente réputation. J’apprécie également les nombreuses opportunités qu’offre l’école. Comment avez-vous fait pour appréhender la structure particulièrement complexe de l’Ecolint ? Je suis particulièrement reconnaissant envers mes collègues directs et d’autres collègues au sein de la Fondation. Ils m’ont apporté leur soutien et m’ont aidé à comprendre le fonctionnement de l’école. Quelles sont vos priorités ? J’aimerais en premier lieu faciliter les processus administratifs et créer davantage de proximité entre les campus et les finances.

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> The 2018 Annual Education Conference, “The Ways We Learn”, is scheduled for Saturday 13 January. Speakers, including renowned philosopher Frédéric Lenoir, will help deepen our awareness of the different ways in which we learn, as students and as educators. > The Alumni Association will be holding its AGM on 11 December, 2017 on the LGB Campus. Please email Anna Szabados for more information: > The Second Annual Alumni Exhibition, featuring the work of Frederic Aranda (La Chât ’98), Apnavi Thacker (LGB ’96), James Cabot Ewart (La Chât ‘04), Clea Lautrey (LGB ’06), and Alexandra Zervudachi (La Chât ‘10) runs until 11 January at the Centre des arts.



An integral part of students’ learning at Ecolint involves participation in concrete projects to develop a sense of social responsibility, helping them engage with the challenges of their times. Among the most urgent is the protection of the environment and climate change, a controversial topic for many across the globe. But in line with Ecolint’s guiding principle of recognising, and addressing, the importance of such global issues, and given students’ dedication to making their world a better place, environmentally-friendly initiatives have gained traction on each of our three campuses. Eco-Héros à Pregny Au Centre de la petite enfance de Pregny, une véritable cohorte d’Eco-Héros est en formation dans chacune des classes. Les Eco-Héros, ce sont les élèves eux-mêmes qui, enthousiasmés par l’initiative EcoSchools, ont souhaité s’engager dans la protection de l’environnement. Prêts à sacrifier leurs récrés pour participer au projet, il faut dire que ce ne sont pas des héros pour rien. Leurs motivations ? L’amour des animaux, de la planète, de la forêt, de la nature, mais aussi le côté ludique et stimulant de se dédier à une bonne cause. Ainsi, durant la dernière année académique, ces héros ont mené une véritable campagne de réduction de déchets sur leur campus. Calculant la quantité de gaspillage par la collecte et le pesage de tous les déchets de Pregny sur une période d’une semaine, ils ont pu établir un diagnostic qui a servi à mettre en place des Eco-Actions que tout le campus a pu adopter afin d’aider dans la


préservation de l’environnement : recycler et éviter à tout prix le gaspillage de l’eau, des aliments et du papier. Becoming the world’s first No Single Use Plastic campus At La Châtaigneraie, plastic has become public enemy number one, with a No Single Use Plastic (SUP) initiative being led on the campus. “In a world where marine life is suffering from the impact of plastics on the ocean and where plastic particles have found their way into both our drinking water and our food chain, we are convinced that we must educate our students on the importance of sustainable habits,” says Jan Dijkstra, a Maths teacher and the campus sustainability coordinator. With a background in engineering and a lifelong dedication to sustainability, Jan is always on the lookout for practical answers to global issues. The starting point was Green Week, which rapidly gained momentum at La Châtaigneraie. Since last April, the campus community has been auditing its own use of SUP with the aim of becoming one of the world’s first No Plastic campuses by April 2018. Bicycle Empowerment Network But beyond raising awareness and waging war on plastic, Jan has also teamed up with students and parents to build a project with the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN) in South Africa. Used bicycles are collected at La Châtaigneraie and then shipped to South Africa, where local people can buy them using micro-loans. Locals are trained as bike mechanics,

enabling the sustainable repair and reuse of broken parts and allowing these individuals to become independent entrepreneurs in the process. Low-cost bikes are also being made available to young people and school-age children who, having to walk long distances to get water, cannot go to school. These bicycles help them save time and do both. Consommation et environnement En parallèle, l’école primaire de La Grande Boissière travaille régulièrement aux côtés de l’association «J’aime ma planète» pour sensibiliser les élèves aux enjeux environnementaux. Au cours de la dernière année académique, les élèves ont exploré la question de l’alimentation à l’aide d’une série d’ateliers sur l’impact environnemental, économique et social de la production alimentaire. A l’occasion d’un atelier de dégustation de pommes, ils ont pu découvrir la grande variété de fruits et légumes produits localement, en apprenant plus sur les produits saisonniers, l’agriculture biologique et le commerce équitable, dans le but de les encourager à devenir des consommateurs respectueux de l’environnement. De même, ils ont visité une exposition de photos dévoilant la consommation alimentaire sur une semaine dans des familles à travers le monde, pouvant ainsi comparer les variétés et les quantités de nourriture auxquelles les gens ont accès. A driving force in protecting the environment Living in Switzerland, where the effects of climate change are less evident than elsewhere, we must never forget that “our role as educators is to guide our students to become global citizens,” concludes Jan. With Switzerland becoming an official party to the Paris Agreement on climate change as of November 2017, Ecolint is all the more dedicated to following its host country’s lead by preparing students to be a driving force in protecting their environment and adopting healthy and sustainable lifestyles.

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e iniqu Dom een Gast Quelle chance d'avoir fait partie d'un département si uni dans une école extraordinaire. J'ai eu le privilège d'enseigner à des élèves intéressants, et surtout intéressés. Quant au parking, il ne me manquera pas…!

d mou Mah l Hala

ia Marc s k Ban I am grateful to Ecolint for having offered opportunities for me to direct my own learning, to extend and expand on my own abilities, and to make contributions outside of the classroom. I felt valued. There was, and continues to be, a sense of togetherness, of sharing ideas to create better ideas, of everyone contributing to a larger whole.

À l'Ecolint depuis les années 80, j'y ai vécu mes meilleures années. Y enseigner permet de partager avec les élèves un savoir et l'amour de la langue arabe. Créer des spectacles avec la participation des familles, et rencontrer nos anciens élèves et collègues sont aussi des moments heureux.

hen Step ce e Pre I do not believe that retirement is either desirable or necessary. In my case I have simply decanted my skill sets to another scenario that I have created in Carouge ( My attendance at the Centre des arts this week has left me intellectually stimulated, emotionally drained, and far the better person for the experience. The correct term for this experience is not entertainment but education.

cia Patri tto Bello

e uelin Jacq h Hatc

ard Leon n i Ste Mon meilleur souvenir est tout simplement celui des contacts quotidiens avec les élèves, les collègues, les parents... quelques mots sympas avec un(e ) élève, une discussion avec les collègues autour d'une tasse de thé. La grande famille Ecolint est extraordinairement diverse, stimulante, enthousiaste, ouverte : je suis fier d'en avoir fait partie pendant 25 ans.

Favourite memory? Impossible.... too many! Everyday fun, full of laughter, no matter what, always positive. Working in a multicultural community sharing ideas, projects, values and respect. The treasured relationships, students and close colleagues alike. La Châtaigneraie, our crazy department made me a better, more fulfilled teacher, artist and person. 26 years in 49 words!!!!

Après 41 années passées à l’Ecolint, il est temps pour moi de passer le flambeau… à la jeune génération. C’est avec un peu de tristesse que je vous quitte, vous tous avec qui j’ai traversé toutes ces années qui ont rempli une grande partie de ma vie. J’ai partagé et réalisé de fabuleux projets, accompagnée de personnes compétentes et motivées. Je remercie tous les acteurs de cette grande famille qu’est l’Ecolint.

We sadly weren’t able to reach the following retirees: Thibaut Thalmard, James Campbell, Suzana Boni Salman, Sabah Salman, Janet Bouwmeester, Nora Peeters, Deborah Britten and Lynnette Boswell. N ° 21 | a utum n / a ut om ne 2017



When did you attend Ecolint? I attended Ecolint from 1970 to 1971. I only attended for one year, but it was my senior year, which made it special. Also, I had done the first year of the IB at the U.N. International School in New York (UNIS), and I was able to do the second year at Ecolint seamlessly - testifying to the value of having a curriculum like the IB for international schools worldwide. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do? Today I live in Washington, D.C. I work at the World Bank, where I have been for the past 26 years. As of 1 July, I am the Senior Director for Development Economics, which is the Bank’s research complex. For the past 15 years, I have been the chief economist of three regions: South Asia, Africa, and Middle East and North Africa. How has Ecolint impacted your life and choices, if at all? Ecolint clearly reinforced in me the international spirit, something I had acquired at UNIS before as well. Perhaps it was the times (the late 1960s and early 1970s), but we were all determined to make the world a better place, especially for those less fortunate than us. Of course, I have since learned that this is quite hard to do, but 46 years later, I still have that determination. What was one of the most memorable moments you had while at Ecolint? I’m not sure there is one single, memorable moment, but my most vivid memories are the vigorous - and often heated - debates we would have in Mr. Melnick’s English classes. He would encourage us to state our opinions, and then defend them with evidence. What was it like being back at Ecolint as the graduation speaker? This was a great honour. As I mentioned in my speech, over the last fifteen years, I had been thinking that I would like to share what I have learned about global poverty with Ecolint students, to give back some of what I got from the school, and to see whether the spirit that inspired me and my classmates was still alive. I was not disappointed. It was also a real thrill to see my wonderful teacher, Burt Melnick, in the audience.


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GRADUATION SPEECH EXCERPTS “You have completed your education up to this point because of your hard work. But also in part because the system worked for you. When you went to school, your teacher was there. When you got sick, there was a doctor to treat you. When you turned on the tap in your house, there was running water. And at least one of your parents had a job that provided a regular income. Those of us who have had these privileges should take responsibility for working towards a world in which more people have the chance in life that we did.” “Just as you did, I received an excellent education at Ecolint. Not only did we learn a lot, but we were taught to question, to debate, to explore. And we were acutely aware of the world around us. This combination gave us the motivation, the drive – and a sense of duty – to make the world a better place. I see that this spirit continues at Ecolint, with class projects to build crèches for poor families in India, get textbooks to schools in Zambia, and various programmes to clean up the environment.” “You might ask: ‘How can I, as a recent Ecolint graduate, help solve the problems of global poverty?’

The answer lies in the observation that most of the problems facing poor people are human-made. They are the result of policies, some with good intentions, that have failed.[...] And they are a reflection of who has the power. [...] We now have significant evidence that if poor people are informed, they can raise their voice and bring about change. I would encourage you to use the knowledge you gained to empower poor people: empower them with information, so they can vote for politicians based on their performance, overcome vested interests, and get what is their due, which is a life free of poverty.” “Fellow Ecolint alumni: our Ecolint education gave us skills. It gave us knowledge. It made us more informed citizens. And it instilled in us a passion for making the world a better place. We now have a responsibility to make sure others are informed about the systems that are short-changing them, to give voice to the voiceless. For then we would have leveraged the outstanding education we received at Ecolint to help realize the dream of a world free of poverty.”


The 2017 Kenya team

Founded in 2000, the Kumbuka Universal Learning Experiences (KULE) Foundation is a non-profit organisation based in Kenya and Canada. The foundation addresses key global issues: health, education, the environment and poverty eradication. Since 2009, students from La Châtaigneraie have joined Pearson College in bringing help to KULE’s educational and humanitarian projects in Muranga County, Kenya. Every year these trips grow in size and the students involved have gone on to complete many projects: the construction of a library and of water purification systems, and the donation of chickens and goats.

Eight years of fundraising and hard work This year marked the 8th anniversary of the trip for La Chât students. The purpose this time around was to build the foundations for two new classrooms, to save young children from walking the 10 km to and from school every day. As a group of 18 students and 3 teachers, we were looking to raise 20,000 Swiss francs to pay for materials and salaries for the workmen involved in the project. We achieved this by biking 180 km around Lac Léman, packing bags at supermarkets, holding bake sales, and selling traditional Kenyan food at the Marché de St Nicolas. While we were on location, we visited several schools and orphanages; we donated clothes and maize to the children; and we organized a day at Mukangu Primary school where we performed in plays with the children. During one of the school visits, a teacher asked us: “Is it true that there aren’t any police in Switzerland because everyone is so well behaved?” At first, I thought he was joking and I found it quite funny but he wasn’t; it was a genuine question! It was both surprising and thoughtprovoking to be confronted with the perceptions some Kenyans have of Europe. Working on the building site of the two classrooms was hard work, especially under the blazing sun. We saw the local workers work all day with hardly any breaks, and many of them were barefoot. Women

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and children also helped, moving endless piles of dirt. It felt as if the whole local community was helping with the project and collaborating to build these much-needed classrooms. Wake-up call The average annual Kenyan salary is 912 US dollars, compared to a Swiss average expat salary of 193,000 US dollars. In other words, a Kenyan would have to work for more than 200 years to make the equivalent of what an expat in Switzerland makes in a year! To me this is quite shocking. Despite the disparity, the people we encountered were kind, and profoundly happy. This realisation has given me a better appreciation of what I have and it made me rethink my priorities.

Building the school foundations

The trip often gave us the opportunity to make our own decisions and take our own initiatives; I believe that this may be a unique feature for humanitarian school trips like these. It was an incredible experience for all of us who participated - mixing serious and reflective moments with a lot of laughing and fun. Many thanks to the organizer of the trip, Geoffrey Tindyeba, who provides guidance and leadership every year. For more information on the Kenyan trip, contact Robyn Tyner at



Pasternak Family To tell the story of the Pasternaks, one must go back to the very beginnings of the La Châtaigneraie campus, when it was still Lycée des Nations, and not yet part of the International School of Geneva. The young couple, Mike and Glen, and their first-born son Michal, came over from the United Kingdom in 1973 to be in charge of the Physical Education Department and teach Sciences to grades 7 through 11. A year later, the Lycée merged with La Grande Boissière to create the Foundation of the International School of Geneva.

in English. They quickly assumed their places in the La Chât family, contributing in the arts, sports and creating friends for life. “My earliest memories are of hanging out by the school pool and running and playing in the forest,” says Stef Pasternak, who now teaches English, French, Music and Drama at La Chât primary school. “Even though I received an excellent education, the lasting memories of my time as a student at La Chât are the lifelong friends I made, the great teachers I encountered, and the deep and rich school spirit I was lucky to be a part of. I am currently a teacher. But it was not always this way. My first professional role at La Chât was pool cleaner! I have also been the gardener, a member of the cleaners’ team, part of the Service Technique, science lab technician, personal assistant and classroom assistant.

“I like that everyone at my school is friendly” Oskar, 13

In 1981, after a brief two-year leave of absence in Canada, Mike and the growing family, now with Stef and Taddie, returned to La Châtaigneraie to create and assume the role of Head of Performing Arts, a post Mike occupied until retirement in 2010. Glen, over her time, has worked on various Ecolint campuses including Les Marroniers, Pregny and Mies campus (as teacher and Vice Principal), and finally retired as Vice Principal of La Châtaigneraie Primary campus in 2011. “The staff at La Châtaigneraie always had a vision of a ‘family’ school,” explains Mike. “A school where the atmosphere was one of mutual support, solid and lasting relationships and an extended kinfolk feel to the community. We looked at other options in the world of international education but the sense of community at La Chât, along with dear friends, who were also colleagues, kept us there.” After attending the local Swiss école enfantine in French, Mike and Glen’s three sons moved to La Châtaigneraie, where they studied


“I feel famous at school, because everyone knows my parents and my grandparents.” Autumn, 9

I have truly experienced all of our colourful and varied work community. My wife, Jennifer, is Year Lead teacher for the Early Years Programme in the primary section at La Chât.” Michal, who worked in the Theatre department as teacher-technician for a couple of years, and Taddie, who also graduated with an IB diploma from La Chât, are still in the region and look back on their formative time at La Chât with fond memories. All three still have many school friendships created during their time in the La Chât family playing football, making music and delving into the arts. Jen and Stef have in turn sent their own children to Ecolint; one is at La Chât, and the other two, after some time at La Chât, are now at Campus des Nations. Jen and Stef wanted their children to experience the rich and deep school spirit that Ecolint

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The Pasternak Clan (May 2017) Left to right: Mike Jnr. (La Chât), Mike Snr. (La Chât), On the wall: Oskar (La Chât, Nations), Autumn (La Chât), Tatjana (La Chât, Nations), In the front: Jennifer (Saconnex, Mies, La Chât), Stef (La Chât). Glen (Les Marronniers, Pregny, Mies, La Chât), Taddie (La Chât)

provides. “You will get a great education at Ecolint, but that is not why our school is the best international school in the world. You can get a great education at many different schools. What makes ours so special are the lifelong connections and friendship bonds you make with the place and its people; you become a keeper of its past and an agent in its future. Once Ecolint, always Ecolint.” For a short period in the late 2000s, La Chât accommodated three generations of the same family at the same time – quite a feat for an international school!

I feel close to my parents because they have been through the same things I am going through. In addition, it is cool to tell people that three generations of my family were at school at the same time! Tatjana, 13

And what are the memories that have stayed with the Pasternaks over the years? The celebratory opening of the old Sports hall at La Chât in the company of local dignitaries from Founex, the human chain around the school to show solidarity, the long, lazy days of Kermesse with exotic food and great student music, the opening of the Mies Campus, a resounding success! And of course, the many close and lasting attachments they have made over the last nearly forty years with colleagues and students, with whom they still maintain contact. The school is part of their daily interactions and key to their shared history. Names, events and places related to Ecolint pepper conversation on a day-to-day basis as they draw on their Ecolint memories to deepen their family roots.

Quelques décennies plus tard, lorsque je cherchais à me réintégrer dans la vie active, ces mêmes grilles s’ouvrirent pour moi. Sous la direction de Paul Decorvet de l’Ecole Moyenne, j’enseignais l’allemand, l’anglais, puis ultérieurement le dessin jusqu’à ma retraite en 2011. Ma sœur Noële suivit les classes de Jops, Alouette et Mademoiselle Darolle, puis poursuivit dans le cursus genevois pour revenir préparer son baccalauréat au château. Fidèle à la lignée familiale, elle devint artiste plasticienne et sculptrice. Rapporté par ses enfants, parler de notre père pourrait perdre de son objectivité, et pourtant c’était un être de lumière : aimé, admiré, respecté de tous, sa famille, ses amis, ses collègues et ses élèves. Parfois encore, j’entends cette même phrase suivie d’un grand sourire et d’une lumière dans les yeux de mon interlocuteur : «Ah, vous êtes la fille de Monsieur Dorsay : mon professeur préféré, le meilleur professeur d’art!»

Frank Dorsay à LGB dans les années 60

Famille Dorsay C’est à la fois facile et difficile d’écrire un article sur l’arrivée de la famille Dorsay en 1960 depuis les Etats-Unis. Genève nous ouvrait ses frontières et l’Ecolint les grilles de son château. Nous atterrissions dans le canton le plus international de Suisse, où les étrangers passent aussi inaperçus que les originaires de la ville d’Henri Dunant. Nous nous y sentions à l’aise, soit en flânant le long des quais et des rives du lac Léman, soit à l’ombre des arbres centenaires du campus de La Grande Boissière. Devenus «citoyens» de l’Ecolint, nous devenions ipso facto citoyens du monde. Etre bilingue, quoi de plus normal ? Tous les élèves parlaient déjà au minimum deux langues ! C’est à cette époque que notre père, Frank Dorsay, devint le nouveau professeur d’art dont le quartier général se tenait dans la maison en bois juste derrière la réception actuelle. Il enseigna de 1960 à 1989. Notre mère, Cécile Dorsay, devint tour à tour professeur de théâtre puis de français. Je me souviens encore de la représentation de ses élèves jouant «Dix petits nègres» d’Agatha Christie et de ses copies de dissertations entassées sur notre table de salle à manger. J’entrai dans les classes de Mesdemoiselles Travelletti et Darolle - enseignantes à l’école primaire qui ont fait toute leur carrière au sein de l’Ecolint - avant d’intégrer l’école publique. Je revois Mademoiselle Hartoch, qui, à 85 ans, gardait ses jambes de jeune fille. Assise dans son fauteuil où Romain Roland et Indira Gandhi avaient pris place, je l’entends exprimer son impatience, excédée par mon manque de concentration pendant

Cécile Dorsay

ses cours privés de russe. N’oublions pas d’ajouter qu’au lieu des trente minutes programmées, elle me gardait pendant deux heures !

Lors d’une des dernières expositions des aquarelles de mon père, un petit garçon de huit ans, un certain Jonas, écrivit dans le livre d’or : «Je ne savais pas que l’on pouvait peindre le vent.» En arrivant à Genève, notre famille, déjà habituée à voir la vie sous deux angles différents, ne se doutait pas qu’à l’Ecole Internationale de Genève, elle allait être confrontée à de multiples visions du monde. Dans ce hautlieu de la communication entre peuples, nous allions nous découvrir les uns et les autres et en ressortir avec la conviction que, tout comme il est possible de peindre le vent, il est également possible à des peuples venus d’horizons très différents de se parler entre eux.

Karen et Noële Dorsay

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Ian BENTZEN (La Chât ‘01) > Learning Support Teacher > Middle School, LGB When did you start teaching at Ecolint, and on which campus? I started an internship at Ecolint in 2005 under the guidance of the Learning Support team. I was hired in September 2006 to be a part of the team in the Extended Learning Programme (ELP) and French Bilingual Programme classes. I am currently teaching at LGB in the Middle School for Years 7 and 8. When were you a student and at which campus? I transferred from the Swiss system in Vaud to Ecolint at La Châtaigneraie in Year 8. I completed two years in the French section then moved to the English section in Year 10 and finished the International Baccalaureate and graduated in 2001. What did you do after leaving Ecolint? I went to university in the United States at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona to study Special Education. What or who inspired you to be a teacher? How/why did you come back to Ecolint?

I was amazed at my decision to become a teacher, since my school life was very difficult at times owing to my dyslexia and expressive language deficit. Wanting to help students with similar difficulties was my motivation. While at La Chât there were three teachers who especially helped me in different ways: Heléne Forneris, Janet Welling and Beatrice Hoesli. They helped me master learning strategies to use in my studies and encouraged me to believe that I could, through hard work, reach my goals. The other inspiration that brought me to teaching was reading about Anne Sullivan and her student Helen Keller. This very exceptional teacher was able to bring the light of understanding into Helen Keller’s soundless darkness. Anne Sullivan saw in Helen her potential to live a life far beyond the expectations of others. When I decided to become a teacher, I wanted to return to the Ecolint system because it was there that my student life dramatically changed for the better. My goal was to teach in a school that encourages students to think, work together, respect one another and grow as individuals in an environment where differences in language and culture are seen as a treasure. That is where I studied and where I wanted to teach. Are you ever, as a teacher, reminded of your former life at school? Yes, my life as a student is ever present in my teaching. Looking back enables me to draw from my own experiences on every level. Working to be an understanding person is top of my list.

Ian Bentzen in 1999


What are the main differences about Ecolint compared to when you were at school? What has stayed the same? The principal difference is the advancement of technology in the field of IT. Ecolint has upgraded all the IT in the classrooms with interactive board, iPads, laptops and so forth. Information for students’ homework assignments can be

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accessed from the teachers’ websites. What has stayed the same is the basic belief that one of the school’s main functions is to promote sound education, mutual respect among individuals of different nationalities, cultures, and languages in a climate of peace and understanding. The promotion of life-long learning is still one of the Foundation’s values. What are the best things about being a teacher? Being a teacher means every school day is different and full of surprises. I look forward to going to work and strive to make a difference in students’ lives. Teaching and interacting with students and colleagues is a great job. Facing daily challenges with students encourages us to become serious about finding solutions to problems, learning to be creative and resourceful. Watching students grow and thrive and become young adults is both an honour and a privilege. Playing a small role in this is both rewarding and motivating.

Marie-Eve LEVI (LGB ’79) > English Teacher > Secondary School, La Châtaigneraie When did you start teaching at Ecolint, and on which campus? I started teaching in 1989 at La Chât, after seeing an advertisement in a local newspaper. I met the Head of the English Department in a café, very informally, about mid-August. A few days later, I was informed that I was starting in September. I had another interview with the Secondary School Principal and that was it. My credentials were that I was a product of Ecolint, had a 7 in English and French in my IB, and understood the spirit of the place. When were you a student and at which campus? I was a student at LGB from 1974 to 1979. What did you do after leaving Ecolint? I must say I found the IB course rather depressing owing to the overwhelming amount of existential and doom and gloom literature both in English and French. Maybe that's what motivated me to study Psychology, besides an innate interest in the human soul. I was already taking out psychology books from the library at school. I was also interested in the relationship between language and thought, so I studied both Linguistics and Psychology at Lancaster University (after a short stint at Université de Genève). I found exposure to British culture very enriching. After graduating from university, I started working in a language school for business men and women. That's where I finally learnt how English grammar works. (I was never actually taught English grammar in school, and yet here I was, having to explain it.) I really enjoyed working with adults who came motivated to learn. What or who inspired you to be a teacher? How/why did you come back to Ecolint? I actually had no intention or aspirations to be a teacher. I was in the Psychology field, but soon realised that however fascinating, psychology tends to attract and impassion people who need to sort themselves out first, before trying to help others.

I've always loved words and their origin and connotations, am bilingual and familiar with Greek, and did some Latin at school. When I was 10, I was already teaching my younger sister English out of The Wind in the Willows! Suffice to say, I took to teaching like a duck to water. It was second nature. I was surrounded by experienced, interesting, creative colleagues who were real characters and learnt very fast. Are you ever, as a teacher, reminded of your former life at school? At first I think I may have been, but it’s very different being a student and being a teacher, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been reminded of my life as a student. I suppose when I was teaching English texts that I’d been taught, or when I taught Theory of Knowledge for a few years I was reminded of teachers who had

taught me the material I was teaching . When I first started teaching there were still a few teachers at LGB whom I had been taught by, which felt strange and also reminded me of what they had taught me. Mr. Sharp was still there. He had taught me Theory of Knowledge and I distinctly remembered a graphic example he’d given to illustrate a point about logic. M. Hamayed was also still there, which brought my whole French IB course rushing back. What are the main differences about Ecolint compared to when you were at school? What has stayed the same? I would say almost everything has changed. The world has changed and the school is a reflection of that change. One of the most obvious, concrete differences between when I was at school - and even between when I started teaching 28 years ago - and now, is computer technology. It has revolutionised the world, our communication and of course, education. What are the best things about being a teacher? The people! At the end of the day, it's really about human beings. No matter what one teaches, the important thing is just to love the subject, love the students, and be creative. What teaching really boils down to for me is not transmitting material so much as one’s passion for a subject. That's what people will remember. That’s what I remember from my teachers.

Marie-Eve Levi in 1979

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Over the 2016-17 academic year, Ecolint welcomed an unprecedented total of 37 guest speakers, who visited at least one of the campuses to present, share, engage, and even sing, with students of all ages. Whether visiting as part of a wider event, in the framework of a specific course, such as the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) classes that form part of the IB, or at the invitation of both teachers and parents, speakers were able to impart precious nuggets of wisdom to the students who attended their lectures. For Ariane and Ashling, both students at La Châtaigneraie, the Speaker Series has been as much a source of knowledge as their other lessons. “I’ve learned never to assume that I know ‘all there is to know’ about a subject,’ explains Ariane, while Ashling sees the talks more as an exchange: “The most valuable things we can offer, which are essential skills and lessons in themselves, are our time, empathy and readiness to listen to their stories and spread their messages.” Challenged by courage Always among the favourites in the Speaker Series are international diplomats and individuals working in NGOs and international organisations. Thinking back to Ecolint’s close ties with the United

extraordinary things,” Ecolint students were urged not to be simple followers of history, but to take their place in history and shape it. “I had the huge honour of presenting and interviewing Leyla Hussein, a campaigner for gender equality and ending FGM,” continues Ashling. Facing the rejection of her own community, and speaking out against this practice at great personal risk to herself, Hussein now works actively to raise awareness and defend women Mukesh Kapila

Nations and international Geneva, and given students’ dedication to making the world a better place, it comes as little surprise that these speakers were particularly inspiring. Speaking in a TOK lesson, former Under Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mukesh Kapila, told the stories of five incredibly brave women who had all shaped his life. Some had experienced war; others had risked their lives or been sexually assaulted; one even gave her life for the advancement of science. Learning that “courage is ordinary people doing

Leyla Hussein

and girls against FGM. She shed light on a subject that students can lend their voice to, now and in the future, becoming allies and spokespeople who will always remember her story. Thinking outside the box Students were also particularly attentive to guests who spoke about bullying and racism. Marathon runner and charity

Dominique Vidaud


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why some of the speakers who visited Ecolint looked not at how to be pioneers, or how to change the status quo, but how to look back in history. Dominique Vidaud, Director of the Maison d’Izieu, told the story of 44 Jewish children who were deported and killed in Auschwitz, taking students on a historical overview of anti-Semitism and warning them of how discrimination needs only the language of stereotypes to express itself. Isabel Jaramillo Edwards, who spoke with the Spanish-speaking members of Campus des Nations, telling the story of her escape from the 1973 coup d’état in Chile, where she was Secretary to the overthrown president Salvador Allende, helped remind students that many people across the world continue to live under the yoke of dictatorships.

Bertrand Piccard

campaigner Ben Smith’s words were particularly inspiring as he shared the story of how he had been bullied at school. Realising he wanted to make a real difference in the world, Smith came up with the idea of “The 401 Challenge” to raise awareness about bullying, which involved running 401 marathons in 401 days. Speaking to some 1200 students (and running with some of them!), Ben Smith shared an important lesson: to trust oneself, live for oneself and never, ever, bow down to a bully. Above all, however, speakers like Ben Smith showed students that simple, individual actions such as running can go a long way in raising awareness, raising funds or giving courage to those around you.

university professor Ian Shipsey did when, speaking to students about his own deafness, he explained how cochlear implants changed his life and made him recover a sense he thought he had lost forever. Similarly, nephrologist and professor of cardiovascular medicine Graham MacGregor brought the focus squarely back to something as basic as the food we eat. Explaining the dangers of excessive sugar and salt consumption, MacGregor gave Ecolint students, as tomorrow’s doctors, global health advocates, leaders, but most of all consumers, food for thought.

Ben Smith

concludes Ashling. Both Ariane and Ashling will be graduating from Ecolint next June, and will be going on to study in the UK and Ireland. Taking with them the academic preparedness that Ecolint has helped build, they will also be carrying the stories and challenges given to them by the various guest speakers at Ecolint.

Scientists, pioneers and explorers were also part of the mix. At La Grande Boissière, students met Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist Bertrand Piccard, who presented the incredible adventure of Solar Impulse, the solar-powered plane that went round the world. Urging students always to think outside the box, Piccard encouraged them to strive to be pioneers in order to make the world a better place. Back to the basics An innovative spirit is an admirable and worthy quality that Ecolint strives to develop in its students. But sometimes, a return to the basics and to what already exists, but is not accessible to everyone, is just as, if not more, important. This is exactly what particle physicist and

As Ariane and Ashling look to their future university studies, they also pledge to return to Ecolint as alumnae. “If I do anything that even comes close to the achievements of the people we’ve seen, I would love to return and set students like myself down their own creative path,”

The 2017-2018 line-up of speakers is available at www. guest-speaker-series Graham MacGregor

Before students can look forward to how they can make the world a better place, and before they can act on the present, it’s important for them to have a firm understanding of the past. This is

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Richard CORBETT (LGB ’73) I attended Ecolint from 1963 to 1972-3, so from Year 4 to Year 12. I did the IB a year early in Year 12, aged 17, and then stayed on for the first term of Year 13 grade to do the Oxford Entrance Exam. My interest and dedication to politics certainly developed at Ecolint: being at an international school, during the Cold War, learning and thinking about different perspectives – and why people reach different conclusions from the same facts. Being in Switzerland and learning about unity with diversity in a multi-lingual and religiously pluralist federal state also influenced me a lot. After Ecolint, I went to Oxford University. While there, the 1975 UK referendum on EU membership took place and, with my internationalist commitment, I organised the student “Yes” campaign. I was also active in the Labour Party by then. I kept these interests and, years later, when an opportunity arose to be a Labour candidate for the European Parliament, I threw my hat into the ring to be chosen as a candidate (in a vote of Labour party members, which I won) and then, as candidate, won the election. My advice for aspiring politicians? Don’t just speak, listen. Don’t go back to your country and think you are out of touch for having lived abroad, but appreciate that your international experience can help you understand some things better, can give you a framework for comparison, can enable you to avoid taking various things for granted, because you’ve seen alternatives!

Indira GANDHI (LGB ‘36) Indira Gandhi (1917 – 1984), daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, was elected four times Prime Minister of India, the world’s second most populous country. She was one of the most influential and powerful women of all time. This perception was confirmed by a worldwide BBC poll conducted in 2000, in which she was voted the “Greatest Woman of the last 1,000 years” (interestingly, the runners-up were Queen Elizabeth I, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Marie Curie).

lived in LGB’s Vieille maison until her death in 1981, at the age of 102. In 1974 Mrs. Gandhi took the initiative of writing to Mlle Hartoch from Srinagar in Kashmir (which she describes as “strongly reminiscent of parts of Switzerland but much wilder looking”), on her way to Leh in the northern Indian region of Ladakh. In her letter she looks back fondly on Ecolint, and adds a surprisingly candid (not to say testy) paragraph about Western misperceptions concerning her country:

Mrs. Gandhi was also an alumna of Ecolint, where she studied in the mid1920s. At La Grande Boissière, Indira developed a close relationship with one of the school’s first teachers, Else Hartoch, a Russian émigré from St. Petersburg who

“Here in India we have many troubles, although the European press usually exaggerates them and prints only the difficulties, ignoring our solid achievements and also the tremendous effort we are making to solve our


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problems. Some of these are no doubt due to our own shortcomings but many are because of events beyond our control, such as widespread failure of the rains and the international monetary crisis compounded by the fuel crisis.” Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, while serving her fourth term as democratically elected Prime Minister. She was shot dead in the gardens of her official residence in New Delhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards, minutes before she was due to be interviewed for a documentary by the British actor, writer and filmmaker Peter Ustinov (who in 2000 was our guest and keynote speaker at the Students’ League of Nations).

Bob RAE (LGB ’66) I attended Ecolint from 1962 to 1966, I was in the GCE stream, and wrote my O Levels and A Levels, as well as what I think must have been one of the first “IB” exams in History which I think Mr Knight used as an experiment! My brother John attended the school for one year, and my late younger brother David went to La Gradelle primary school until he was 10 years old. The sixties was a “political time”, and as teenagers many of us became wrapped up in the issues of the day. I was certainly no exception, active in the debates club, SUN, and Alexandre, which was the student newspaper at the time. Our history teachers Mr Leach, Mr Wallace and Mr Knight were keenly interested in current events, and most important, so were fellow students like Rami Khouri (featured as a journalist in Echo 20), who remains a friend to this day. I went to the University of Toronto, and later Oxford, and kept up my strong interest in politics - I studied history, politics, and finally law, and worked for a time as a community worker in North London (now Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency!). It was when I returned to Toronto that I got involved in community and union issues, and when a sitting MP became a judge I had a chance to run in a by-election. I was elected to Parliament in 1978, and in 1982 became Ontario leader of the New Democratic Party. I became Premier of Ontario in 1990. I then returned to federal politics in 2006, and served as Interim Leader of the Liberal Party from 2011 to 2013. I returned to Human Rights and Indigenous Law work and also teach law and public policy at the University of Toronto. My first advice is that to do well in politics remember that it’s not about you it’s about the community and the people and the causes you’re trying to serve. Get rooted in a community and make that critical connection that allows you to become grounded. Politics is more of a vocation than a career. I see my time in elected office as just part of a wider life of public service of one kind or another. My time at Ecolint was deeply formative - the diversity, the mix of people and views. That has stayed with me my whole life. When I first went back to Canada I wondered if my international life would leave me “uprooted”, and then I realized that the city and country that is now very much my own is itself a centre of diversity. Ecolint prepared me for that, for believing deeply in internationalism, in human rights, and in the human family. These ideas still inspire me, and I learned them first at Ecolint.

Indira Gandhi visiting the school in the 1950s

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NATURE ET INCLUSION: ON AMÉNAGE SUR LES CAMPUS Valoriser la nature : un bienfait pour nos élèves – et pour la planète ! Ceux qui connaissent ce campus le savent, La Grande Boissière est un véritable havre de verdure au cœur de la ville. Ce patrimoine naturel, notamment composé d’une ceinture forestière et d’arbres vénérables, est soigneusement préservé et mis en valeur depuis plusieurs années à travers divers projets de conservation et initiatives pédagogiques.

écolintienne et de la créativité de Katrin Oppliger, le projet de sentier didactique de La Grande Boissière a pour objectif d’optimiser la cohabitation entre l’espace naturel et les occupants du site, tout en créant de nombreuses opportunités d’apprentissage pour nos élèves. Il s’agissait en premier lieu de redessiner le tracé du chemin forestier afin de permettre au sol de se régénérer. C’est que cette forêt a vu passer du monde depuis 1924 ! L’utilisation de copeaux de bois et l’installation de barrières en début et fin du tracé permettent de délimiter la zone accessible et la zone protégée.

l’identité de chacun d’eux grâce à un plan du parcours mis à sa disposition. Les dendrologistes en herbe trouveront en outre plusieurs coupes de troncs leur permettant de déterminer l’âge des arbres en comptant les cernes. Une visite a été organisée pour les enseignants afin qu’ils découvrent le sentier et une formation leur a été dispensée sur les activités pédagogiques à organiser en forêt. Les importants moments de détente n’ont pas été négligés : des espaces de jeu composés de gros tronc d’arbres et d’éléments en bois ont été aménagés pour les élèves.

Une fois le sentier redéfini, il fallait inciter la petite faune et les insectes à (re) peupler les lieux : ils se sont donc vu offrir plusieurs tas composés de troncs et branches d’arbres abattus, ainsi qu’un hôtel à insectes installé par les élèves de l’Ecole moyenne.

Favoriser l’harmonie entre l’homme et la nature Démarré au printemps dernier grâce au généreux soutien d’une famille

Education spécialisée : dernière pierre à l’édifice Le développement des structures d’accueil pour les élèves à besoins particuliers en matière d’apprentissage est l’un des projets les plus significatifs entrepris par l’Ecolint ces dernières années. Permettre à des élèves présentant un large spectre de difficultés de s’épanouir et d’intégrer ou réintégrer leur classe régulière est un élément clé de la mission de l’école. L’aménagement de salles spécifiques, le recrutement de collaborateurs spécialisés et l’organisation de la conférence


Apprendre et jouer au contact des éléments Le terrain désormais revalorisé est prêt à se transformer en salle de classe en plein air : dix-sept arbres ont été répertoriés et balisés sur le tracé du sentier ; les visiteurs pourront découvrir

annuelle «Special Education Needs» n’auraient pas été possibles sans le soutien indéfectible de la SASA Setton Foundation depuis de nombreuses années. Une structure pour le secondaire à La Châtaigneraie Afin d’être en mesure d’accueillir des élèves de tous âges sur chaque campus, il manquait encore une structure adaptée aux élèves du secondaire à La Châtaigneraie. Le nouvel espace, aménagé à partir de deux salles de classes existantes dans le bâtiment historique (aujourd’hui nommé «Alpes»), sera dimensionné pour 8 élèves.

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La seconde phase du projet sera dévolue au recrutement d’un enseignant spécialisé et de deux assistantes de classe. Le soutien de notre communauté pour ces projets est inestimable : il nous aide à concrétiser et à transmettre à nos élèves les valeurs humaines qui sont au cœur de notre mission. Découvrez d’autres projets sur


It is only to be expected that a school should take a keen interest in its alumni. Can there be a better reflection of an educational institution than those whom it helped to shape? The image of Ecolint that emerges when we apply this criterion is a profoundly reassuring one, at least from my perspective as an alumnus, and as an Ecolint teacher since 1989. Never mind how “successful” alumni have been in conventional terms (though there are plenty of success stories); what stands out most are the humanity, ethics, sensitivity, tolerance and gentleness that Ecolint alumni seem to have in common. What greater success can a school claim? Those who have engendered and implemented the visionary educational experience that Ecolint has had to offer since 1924 – not least its teachers – are understandably also a major source of interest. Over the years, Echo has already dedicated considerable attention to them, and will no doubt continue to do so. And then there is a third, major category of Ecolintians, which should not be neglected: the parents. Two of them, the League of Nations officials Arthur Sweetser and Ludwig Rajchman, teamed up with progressive educators in 1924 to create Ecolint, so their key role is obvious. But what about the thousands of other parents since then? The identity of those who decide that the International School of Geneva offers the best education for their children says something about who we are as an institution. In this light, it is meaningful that, as early as 1927, Albert Einstein – though never an Ecolint parent – wrote to the first director of our fledgling school, Paul Meyhoffer, to request that we employ a relative of his, a certain “Mlle Einstein.” (This request was very politely turned down, as there were not enough students to warrant a full-time teacher of German at the time.) What attracts some prominent people rather than others to our school also says something equally important about them. Einstein was clearly a kindred spirit. So were Ecolint parents such as Salvador de Madariaga[1], Jawaharlal Nehru[2], Kofi

Rita Hayworth

Richard Burton

Charles Aznavour

Serge Reggiani

Yul Brynner

Elizabeth Taylor

William Holden

Gene Kelly

Annan[3] and Mary Robinson[4]. But there were other, rather less predictable ones. Consider the following true story: It’s 3 a.m. on a weekday, back in the 1970s, and the telephone rings peremptorily in the Boarding House at La Grande Boissière. A dazed and dishevelled house-parent discovers a mother on the line, calling from Los Angeles, seemingly unaware of the time in Geneva. She demands to speak to her daughter, so the house-parent dutifully goes to wake her. Upon finding her bed empty – the girl having absconded for the night – the house-parent is faced with three uncomfortable choices: (a) tell the truth; (b) cover up by saying that he could not wake her or persuade her to come to the phone; or (c) hang up and then leave the phone off the hook. After consulting his wife, he expediently elects the latter option, reflecting ruefully that he may be the only man ever to hang up on Elizabeth Taylor. (The daughter, by the way, was located shortly afterwards.)[5] Ecolint’s Hollywood connection (I use the term “Hollywood” here as broadly synonymous with cinematography) is intriguing. What do Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, William Holden , Yul Brynner, Serge Reggiani, Charles Aznavour, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor have in common? Obviously, they are all movie stars; but more than that, they are movie stars who chose to send their children to Ecolint. For good measure, one can add to the list legendary film directors such as Josef von Sternberg, who directed Marlene Dietrich in “The Blue Angel”, and Jules Dassin who did the same for Melina Mercouri in “Never on Sunday”. [6]

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I can find no clear-cut rationale for why these cinematographic celebrities gravitated towards our school. In so far as the Hollywood milieu is often associated (perhaps unfairly) with snobbery, ostentatiousness or a taste for luxury, these would have been better satisfied by a number of other educational establishments in the Lac Léman area. Ecolint has always been refreshingly unconcerned with social status and glamour. Moreover, some of the Hollywood interest in Ecolint coincided with the tenure of a passionately egalitarian and high-minded director, Marie-Thérèse Maurette, who crucially contributed to setting in stone the humanitarian values that are now revered as the core of the school’s identity, and had little time for fashion or frivolity. So much for stereotypes. Glitzy though their lives may have been, when it came to their children these iconic actors and directors sought an education for peace, rooted in Rousseau at his best and in the values bequeathed to Ecolint by the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization. It speaks well for them – and for us. [1] 1886 – 1978, notable Spanish diplomat; eminent historian and writer [2] 1889 – 1964, leader of the Indian independence movement alongside Mahatma Gandhi; first Prime Minister of India [3] 1938 – , Secretary General of the United Nations; Nobel Peace Prize laureate [4] 1944 – , President of Ireland; United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights [5] Anecdote provided by John Phillips. See also Echo, November 2008, p. 13. [6] In addition, at least two Ecolint alumni figure prominently in the history of cinematography: the film director Maya Deren and the actor Christophe Lambert.



The Scenic Route

You may have missed…

The varied paths some of our teachers followed prior to joining Ecolint.

David TODD

Michael HOWSAM

Head of History, La Châtaigneraie

Head of PE, La Grande Boissière

Francesca BUTTLE

Teacher of PYP Performing Arts, Campus des Nations

What did you do for a living before coming to teach here? At 16 I got a lucky break and ended up working in the film industry. I worked as part of the camera crew on commercials, music videos, tours and films. I toured with Prince, Tina Turner and worked on films such as ‘Highlander’ and ‘Aliens’. It was whilst working on ‘Full Metal Jacket’ that I rediscovered my love of History. Stanley Kubrick insisted that all the crew know about the Vietnam War, and after reading widely around the subject, I realised I was in the wrong career!

I served for 5 years in the British Royal Marines, travelling to Norway for Arctic training, Brunei, Singapore and Belize for jungle training, Jordan for desert training as well as the United States and Canada for other exercises. I represented the Marines in an International Military skills and fitness competition in the Dutch Caribbean. After the Marines I worked as a civilian, teaching in an Army Foundation college in the North of England, working with young recruits for a year before they joined their Army units. I then taught PE and academic PE in the British School in The Netherlands before moving to LGB.

My postgraduate studies led me to qualify as a Music Therapist in the UK. I spent the following five years working in the National Health Service, in special education, freelance work with charities such as Mencap (for people with learning disabilities), and outreach work with British orchestras. We all respond to music, and music therapy helps people to communicate, to make connections, and facilitate positive changes in emotional well-being through live musical interaction. Music is within us wherever we're from, whatever our background, and that's what makes it so interesting to work with people through the medium of music.

How, if at all, do you bring your former career into the classroom? I don’t specifically bring filmmaking into teaching History, but working in the film industry taught me to be patient and to embrace change. Technological innovations were developing rapidly, so I was always training or learning new skills. This, of course, is also an everyday part of being a teacher in the 21st century!

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My time in the Marines helped me bring a lot to education: being organised, planning, a sense of responsibility, punctuality, camaraderie and team spirit, a respect for authority (both in relation to those senior to you and those you are in charge of!), being flexible and adaptable (things do not always go to plan). I was teaching PE after University, before my military days, and while I have very fond memories of my time in the Marines and feel proud of what I experienced, I knew that ultimately I wanted to return to teaching. Working daily at LGB in PE and Sport Science is a return to my first love of being a teacher. @ecolintgeneva

The skills I had used as a Music Therapist were transferable to my work as a teacher of Performing Arts. This is true of my experience of teaching students of all abilities and ages and from a range of cultures, from pre-school to Diploma level. Essential sk​ills such as teamwork, self-confidence, independence, concentration, communication, interaction, selfawareness and awareness of others are all developed through performing arts education. Becoming a teacher also enabled me to combine my love of music, theatre and travel, and I worked in schools in the UK, Indonesia, and Malaysia (for more years than I care to remember!) before arriving at Ecolint in 2008.

Alive and well: Ecolint's Student Number One

Ecolint’s first student, Loïs Meyhoffer, aged 99, spoke at LGB’s Assembly, encouraging students to continue working for peace and helping others. > aliveandwell

An Earthship for Nepal

Patrick Lunt (LGB ’96) is building a radically self-sustaining house in Nepal, a dream he’s had since he sat in classes at LGB. Read the story. >

Wear your T-shirt day

Alumni around the world wore their Ecolint attire and sent in pictures on 17 September, to celebrate Ecolint’s 93rd birthday. We’re aiming to double the number of pictures sent it next year. >

Centre des arts 2017-18 programme The Centre des arts has an excellent line-up scheduled for the forthcoming year. Be sure to check out the full details. >

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+41 (0)22 787 25 55

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Echo 21 (Fall 2017)  
Echo 21 (Fall 2017)  

Ecolint's bi-annual magazine for alumni and parents