AISB World Magazine - Summer 2018

Page 1







INTERVIEW: DR. VIORICA RUSU AISB doctor from 2001-2008. Catch up with Dr. Rusu and her latest ventures. Read the full interview on page17.


NICHOLAS BOURI Managing Partner, N.G.B.

Class of 2009. PhD in research computer vision and artificial intelligence. Read more on page 21.





Romanian Feature




Biertan is a commune in central Romania, in the north of the Sibiu County, 80 km north of Sibiu and 29 km east of MediaĹ&#x;. Biertan is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, having been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993. The Biertan fortified church was the see of the Lutheran Evangelical Bishop in Transylvania between 1572 and 1867.

Salwa Patricia Khalil / Editor

The Start of Something New

As is the case in our increasingly globalized world, people move around the world more and more often, particularly in our international alumni community. With bittersweet sentiments, I’d like to share that together with my husband, I am moving to Shanghai, China to pursue an exciting new job at Shanghai American School. As such, I am stepping down as editor of the WORLD Magazine and would like to wish a warm welcome to Kirsten Pontius who will take over. Kirsten comes to us with a wealth of communications and publications experience and she will be supporting the AISB Admissions and External Relations Office with all major school publications beginning in August 2018.

volunteers has accomplished over six short months during the first half of 2018. As well as publishing this fantastic magazine, the Alumni Association Executive Team has succeeded in making our community stronger and bringing it closer together through numerous events and initiatives.

While I’m incredibly excited about my move and future personal and professional prospects, I am also very saddened to be leaving behind the warm and nurturing community that I grew up in and grew up with. So rather than writing a traditional editorial for this particular issue, for my final message as Editor of the WORLD Magazine, I’d like to highlight all of the things that an incredible group of

• organized a hugely successful reunion in New York City in February, that brought together around 40 alumni;

Over the last six months, the Alumni Team has: • met on a monthly basis to plan and implement a host of invaluable programs and events for the AISB and Alumni communities; • supported the Grade 11 University Search and Application process in January, with advice from alumni about choosing their further education;

• invited twenty-five alumni and other experts to AISB in February to speak to Grade 10 students about their careers as part of the Speed Networking program; • began the migration to a new, more powerful and capable online network in

March, one of the most exciting projects of the year which will work to further strengthen the AISB alumni network - join now at; • welcomed AISB Alumna, Regine Muradian, from the Class of 1996 to AISB in April, to lead empowerment seminars for students and parents; • given Grade 12 parents an outlet to discuss a variety of elements relating to the transition of their Seniors into the ‘real world’ during the Letting Go session in April; • proudly welcomed 57 graduates to the Alumni Association at the Senior Brunch in May; and • opened the floor to AISB alumni all over the world to apply for executive positions by election in June. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks to the Alumni Association Executive Team for their tireless work towards the association in all the years that I’ve had the pleasure of working with them. Their dedication and commitment to growing this association to

add value to its members is immeasurable and they have built a strong and capable network. I would also like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Alex Cristescu for taking on the role of Alumni President so well, for leading a team with great enthusiasm, and for creating, sustaining, and working towards a vision that has brought great value to AISB Alumni all over the globe. Thank you. And now I turn to you. Please support the efforts of your Alumni Association by joining us online on our new platform at and making use of the fantastic capabilities of our alumni network. Find out more on page 31 and take advantage of the tools available; your personal and professional network will be richer for it. Please keep in touch and if you’re ever in Shanghai, do reach out via the network; it would be great to catch up and see you! All the best,

Salwa Patricia Khalil Warren




EDITORIAL TEAM LEAD EDITOR: Patricia Khalil EDITORIAL TEAM: Dorothea Achim, Alex Cristescu, Michelle Ciubuc Nikos Kougionas, George Mucibabici, Ana Teodorescu CONTRIBUTORS Dr. Viorica Rusu, Andrei Dobrescu, Nicholas Bouri, Patricia Khalil, Robert Brindley, Alex Cristescu, Ruxi Micsunescu, Abigail Rupp, Peter Welch, Ioana Tulea AISB Student Contributors: Tudor I., Pius S. PHOTOGRAPHY AISB Archives, Bogdan Greavu, Mihai Constantineanu DESIGN AND TYPOGRAPHY Mario Zamfir, School Brand LLC ONLINE EDITION School Brand LLC WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE Blvd. Pipera Tunari 196 Com. Voluntari Jud. Ilfov Romania 077190 Tel.: 021 204-4300 Fax: 021 204-4384 Email: Published by Design Works Publishing Co Print Circulation: 1000 copies Electronic Circulation: 2000 copies Cover Design: Mario Zamfir ISSN 2537-3978 ISSN 2537-3986 ISSN-L 2537-3978

About AISB

AISB was founded in 1962 and is currently Bucharest's largest international school. The language of instruction is English and teaching is based upon an American style curriculum. The school offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate Program from Early Childhood through 12th grade. AISB is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council of International Schools, and the International Baccalaureate Organization and is recognized by the Ministry of Education in Romania.

Copyright © 2018 AISB ALUMNI. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.



Trademarks: WORLDTM Alumni Magazine, AISB Alumni Association and their associated logos are trademarks of the American International School of Bucharest. All other names, logos, and trademarks of other companies shown in this publication are the property of their respective owners.


AISB's Future Design Center

22 25

Interview with Ruxi Micsunescu

Q&A with Peter Welch.

CONTENTS 06 07 09 10 11 15 17 20 24 28 30 31





Director's Message

Dr. Robert Brindley / AISB Director

In 1964, Bob Dylan wrote one of his more apocryphal songs, “The Times They Are a-Changin’ – ‘you better start swimmin', Or you'll sink like a stone, For the times they are a-changin'”. We have an educational system that was designed to give everyone a basic level of understanding to perform the tasks and jobs for the 20th Century, in an industrial age of manufacturing and conveyor-belt technology. But, times they are a-changin’; in fact, they have changed; the technological age is upon us. The technological revolution of the past forty years crept upon us like a stealth bomber, and with as much destruction and technical sophistication. Yes, the iPhone does have more computing power


than all of NASA had during the Apollo days of the 1970’s, but that stone-age technology had one simple and marvelous advantage, it was crash-proof. Today we are not crash-proof. Malware infiltrates to destroy, never to create; social manipulation makes it difficult to know which way is ‘up’, so it is not surprising that it so often makes us ‘down’; fake news that challenges scientific logic is a virus that infects our lives. Our systems become corrupted; social and moral traditions become toast – and we are burnt from the outside in. In the early 70’s, as NASA was planning for the moonlanding, educationalists were starting to discuss more openly what they called the ‘hidden curriculum’; the unwritten, unofficial, and unintended values and perspectives that students learnt in school. We now call these attributes the ‘Learner Profile’; a


range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. The incredible advances in technology, our Brave New World well beyond 1984, need to be counterbalanced by generational foundations of family, legacy, trust, and simple decency. Staying close to your personal networks, such as this one, your alumni network, but also being decent towards those around us considering the simple maxim of ‘paying it forward’ and ‘do unto others as you would do unto yourself’. Quite simple really. So, as we create new spaces for AISB students to ensure that form follows educational function, there is something more important. Among these spaces, the Early Learning Centre, Secondary School additions or a Design Centre for the future, which you can read more about in this issue, help us create a vision for the future. We

may understand how to differentiate a polynomial, analyse a poem, critique historical scholarship, bury a jumper, tweak a piece of code, unzip some DNA, or absorb another language, but social and personal values must remain steadfast and receive our undivided attention. So, in the 21st century, as we head for the technological stars, let us keep our feet firmly on the ground, to see things as they actually are, not what others tell us we should see – a real education, to enlighten and guide us through our past, present and future, so that we do not sink like a stone, because the times they are a-changin’. Regards,

Robert Brindley AISB Director

School Expansion The start of the 2017 – 2018 school year at AISB was one with many firsts. On August 22nd, 2017, we opened our doors to 940 students – an unprecedented figure in the school’s 55 years in operation. On June 21st, 2018, we say ‘have a great summer’ to a fantastic 984 students. Over the past two years, the AISB Board of Trustees has made a commitment to refurbish, renovate and modernize the school campus, to meet the changing needs of our curriculum and student requirements. This academic year, we opened the new Early Learning Centre, a purpose-built campus for our youngest learners.

This expansion has afforded the main school additional spaces as the EC2, EC3, EC4 and Kindergarten classrooms moved to their new abode. The former Early Childhood classrooms were converted to new Design and Music spaces for the Secondary and Elementary Schools. Five of these classrooms now house the film/media, technology, robotics and textile design classes for the Secondary School, whilst two classrooms have been redesigned to accommodate the Elementary Music program. In the Secondary School, the Art classroom attic space has been totally remodeled and expanded so that all Art classes will be taught

in this space. Likewise, both the Elementary and Secondary Special Educational Needs departments have been allocated new spaces. Also, the Athletics and PE departments have a new multipurpose outside court that has been designed for volleyball, basketball and tennis and one of the soccer fields is being artificially turfed to allow for better conditions during sports tournaments and PE classes. It has been a very busy time in other parts of the school with the addition of a PTO Office, a covered walkway between the cafeteria and the secondary building, a Theatre faculty



office, a new Elementary office, as well as installing new teacher and student desks. The school year continued to bring added growth to our building with the Secondary building expansion. It is due to open for the start of the

The Secondary School extension includes:


academic year 2018-2019 and all the temporary classrooms at the back of the school will be removed as a result of the additional space. The next phase of our school expansion is the development of the remainder of the Design and Engineering Center. Upon

completion, the DEC will be a two storey hub for design, multimedia, film, cuisine, robotics, and more. Find out more about the expansion in the Press Room feature on page 15.

• Fifteen new classrooms

• Five new faculty workrooms

• Two outside sitting areas

• Two new laboratories

• Large Common Room

• An additional prep area

• New bathroom facilities

• A café/work area for the IB Diploma students.


Alexandru Cristescu / Association President

Thank you to the AISB Alumni Association’s 20162018 Executive Committee I feel grateful to have worked with people of character and integrity who have volunteered their time and energy to strengthen our organization through monthly meetings after work, two issues per year of the WORLD Magazine, school campus events, international alumni reunions and much more, as you all know. The dedication of all our team members have led many to believe that the AISB Alumni Association is our full time job. In truth our only reward is the pleasure of service: adding value to our community. Thank you Patricia Khalil for your professionalism, enormous dedication and constant high quality work. From school campus events that benefit current AISB students, to negotiating with suppliers, from editing the WORLD Magazine to reunions on other continents, you have

Adding value to our community

done it all with the calm and elegance that have always defined you. Your involvement has enabled us to achieve all that we have done. Thank you Catalina Gardescu for your support and contribution. Our association has felt no lack of resources and thanks to your backing, we could work continuously towards our goal. You have held your promise and have offered us advice and help whenever we needed it. Thank you George Mucibabici for being such a positive and sincere presence. Every moment that you have dedicated to our association was out of your belief that our international community has the capability to reach a high potential. Your work ethic and long term outlook has brought much stability to our group and has motivated us all. Thank you Nikos Kougionas for being the most inspiring team member. Very few know how strongly you believe in our mission and our team, so I think it should be in writing. You did whatever it took during our hardest moments (when we had no team, no

direction, no prospects), you stepped down from your position as Vice President to improve our chances to recruit new members and have been there every step of the way even though you were working on different continents for months on end. Your can-do attitude and modesty deserves our respect. Thank you Michelle Ciubuc for your fantastic work ethic and kindness. It did not matter that you had no time to spare or energy, somehow you were always there providing us with high quality work. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all you have done, your dedication is inspiring. Thank you Alex Calcan for always being prepared to help out. You were always informing yourself on our progress, have always provided advice and spent much time brainstorming with me new ideas and approaches. Thank you Ana Teodorescu for your hard work and constant flow of new ideas. You dedicated much of your time to our association and

have constantly strived to better yourself and become a more valuable team member. Your presence has helped us achieve the stability we enjoy today. Thank you Dorothea Achim for taking on so many work-intensive and detailed responsibilities to provide our audiences with content. Your contributions have helped us make an impact, be it with our school campus events, reunions, WORLD Magazine articles or our social media effort. I would like to thank all our Worldwide Delegates for being always at our disposal as well as Alexandra Johari for her help with social media, Tim Battersby and Oddny Bakke for their contribution to our school campus events and of course, Dr. Robert Brindley for his constant support our our activities.

Alexandru Cristescu Association President



Advertising Through WORLD™ Magazine, the AISB Alumni Association presents the achievements, ideals, future goals, stories, and more, of its worldwide community to an international audience. Our magazine is published both in print and digital formats and is catalogued by the National ISSN Center of the Romanian National Library under ISSN 2537-3978 and ISSN-L 2537-3978.

It is represented in the American Corners of five National Libraries across Romania, namely the National Library of Romania in Bucharest, The Petre Dulfu Maramureș County Library in Baia Mare, the Ovidius University Library in Constanța, the Mureș County Library in Târgu Mureș, and the Timiș County Library in Timișoara. The interviews, articles, stories and columns published in the WORLD™ Magazine are collected by the Association's Executive Team who volunteer their time to engage our worldwide alumni, to promote international education and foster opportunities, inspiring global citizens to make a positive impact by adding value to their communities.

Audience Profile

We welcome strong partnerships with amazing people and organizations, so contact us at if you wish to advertise your company or brand through our community. The AISB Alumni Association prides itself with the quality of the content that reaches our diverse and influential audience. Please consult the statistitcs below for further details on demographics and sponsorship rates.


WORLD Magazine creates a tangible link between the American International School of Bucharest and its alumni. Today our magazine reaches a diverse readership in Romania and internationally through the online edition. With every issue, our pages connect an educated, affluent audience with AISB and their fellow alumni. TM

WORLD Magazine has a total print circulation of 2,000 and an online readership of over 20,000. Our readers comprise a variety of industry sectors and professional titles, as indicated to the right.





Health Care 3.90%



Holding Co. 1.40%

Media / Press 2.70%



IT & Telecom





Real Estate


Government 12.30%






Sponsorship Rates


WORLD Magazine accepts only full-page, half-page, and quarter-page design formats (the inside-front, inside-back, and back covers are reserved for full-page graphics only). TM






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Back cover 21 x 29.7cm




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* 2x indicates one cash sponsorship per issue, for two consecutive issues, benefitting from a 15% discount. All rates are gross. No additional charge for bleed. # AISB reserves the right to accept or reject in-kind donations. The values are to be agreed upon by mutual consent based on similar products or services on the market.


Interview with

Nicholas N. Bouri

Nicholas is a graduate of AISB's class of 2002. He is now a managing partner at N.G.B. “The Next Generation: From Running a 4th Generation Family Business to Being an Entrepreneur” WM: We would like to warmly welcome Nicholas N. Bouri today. Could you please briefly introduce yourself and tell us about your relationship with and connection to AISB?

NB: I am a Graduate of AISB’s class of 2002. I moved to Romania when my father privatized various state companies in the late 90’s. I have a lot of great memories at AISB. We were the first senior class to graduate from the new campus in Pipera. I had the pleasure of experiencing both the Dorobanti campus in the city center and the current campus in Pipera with all its modern facilities.

Today, I am the Managing Partner at N.G.B, which is our group’s real estate development arm in Eastern Europe, which has been based in Romania since 1995. The company’s main activity today is to develop and manage industrial real estate properties. Our properties are designed for Logistics, Distribution, IT&E-commerce and Production companies looking to lease our facilities for medium to long term periods.

WM: In your opinion, what is the value that an international education offers to students and what effect does it have on their development? NB: An international education has many benefits for young students. It allows them to integrate with an international community from around the world, giving them early insight to different cultures at a young age.


In my experience, international schools always had a higher level curriculum, facilities and, most importantly, teachers and counselors as compared to local public schools. These amenities, coupled with the proper dedication and focus from the student could open doors for the students to some of the best universities around the world. WM: What about that of higher education? What is your experience? NB: Higher Education is very important in my opinion; there are some significant benefits to a higher education: A) Personal development: critical thinking, realization of passions, sense of accomplishment and communication;

B) Pursuing a passion: University helps you identify your passions and interests and gives you access to the theory and practice to explore such passions. Otherwise, University helps you realize what you are not interested in which is equally important; C) Getting a good job: earning a higher education degree increases your chances of landing a good first job, which may help set you on a promising path down the road. Universities typically have their own career platforms as well which can be very useful; and D) Networking: the most important aspect of a higher education is networking, in my opinion. You never know who you will meet on campus, in the dorm room or at an event. Broadening your network could open doors for you down the line. Joining a club, a fraternity, or a team have long term benefits and lasting friendships. In my personal experience, each year, I continue to study and complete courses or programs that I believe might help me in my professional and personal growth. To date, I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Deree College (Greece).


I hold a Graduate Degree from Cornell University in Financial Management. In 2014, I graduated from INSEAD’s MAP Program. I hold a Diploma in Project Management from IBMI. I am licensed as a real estate developer. As of September, I will be completing a degree in International Mineral Extractions from the University of Derby. My goal is to enroll in an EMBA within the next 3 to 5 years when my schedule allows for it. WM: Please tell us about your family history and the generations that make up the Bouri family. NB: I have a very diverse background. My father is Lebanese and my mother is American with Greek Heritage. I was born in NYC and spent most of most of my childhood growing up in Athens, Greece. I have 3 siblings and my mothertongue is French. Today the Bouri family is located across 4 continents; we are considerably a large family. I have five uncles and four aunts all from my father’s side of the family, forty-eight first cousins, most of whom we have close ties with, and

many of us work together in some capacity or another. From a business perspective, we are now in our 4th Generation. WM: Why Romania as a home and business hub? NB: Romania is a great place to live and grow up. The country is very safe, full of history, culture and wonderful people, amazing restaurants, beautiful hotels, and lots of activities to partake in. The country has beautiful mountain sides, and at the same time the sea side just 2 hours away from the capital. Another aspect is that living in Romania is more affordable than living in most other EU countries. As a business hub, we entered Romania when my father privatized various companies in the 1990’s. However, Romania is also strategically located. It is the gateway between Western Europe and Asia (via Turkey). The country has lots of natural resources, one of the largest surfaces in Europe for agriculture, a strong and growing industry for production for example the automobile industry, and it has a strong IT industry

and culture. Setting up a company in Romania is a very welcoming and a simple process. Furthermore, taxes are some of the lowest in Europe, which is one of the main reasons we have seen so many foreign companies entering the market in the last decade and still, more are coming. The main challenges Romania will need to face in the coming years is the development of its infrastructure and available workforce. Unemployment today in Romania is at the lowest level it’s been throughout the country which is now becoming a major topic in our industry for companies looking to enter the market. Overall, Romania has a bright future with many opportunities in all industries when comparing to most other EU countries. I decided to join the team in Romania because I believed I could add value and develop our business in the region compared to staying in Greece or Lebanon. I saw the opportunities the country had to offer. WM: Tell us about your family business, what industry do you operate in, in what countries are you present, how did the family business come about, and how did you manage to keep it in the family for so long? NB: On the international level, our family is widely known for being in the Cement industry. However, Over the years, the company expanded from Cement trading and production to Shipping, Port Services, Land and Sea Terminals, Concrete Production, Aggregates Mining, Real Estate, Energy and other businesses. The group has offices and activities in 5 continents. In Romania, we privatized various state companies which were mainly in the Concrete and Aggregates industry. In 2006, after having re-structured everything

under one umbrella, we sold the main activity to AngloAmerican. Since then, we were left with a lot of real estate, mainly industrial properties, from which N.G.B was born. Today N.G.B has investments in real estate, aggregate mining, concrete, and energy in Romania. N.G.B has investments in Greece and Serbia as well. WM: What are some of the advantages of a family owned business? NB: I would have to say, for me, the main advantage is trust. All members of the family in the company are working towards the same goal; to preserve our current position and secure a more prosperous future by continuous and strategic reinvestments in our industries. In our case, I know the type of intense training and knowledge my siblings and I needed to obtain our current positions, so their advice and pointers are always respected and well received. In our company, the decision making process is a quick one; unlike at large corporations, our team can decide and act at a faster speed which is advantageous in many cases. We also have a long-term outlook and commitment to the group which allows us to plan and organize well and accordingly. WM: How do you prepare for a family business to be taken on generation after generation so that the business continues? How do you excite the next generation about the prospect of taking over? NB: With time and good preparation. The handover to the next generation should not be a quick and simple process, it should take years. The next generation should and needs to understand all the elements of the business before taking over. In my case, I used to visit my father and his brothers at work in the office in Athens or

at the shipyards in Turkey or the mines in Romania. From an early age, I can remember loving visiting him wherever he was, feeling a sense of pride and excitement when he would explain what he was “building”. What made it more special for us, was that we were always spending time together with my uncles, my cousins and other relatives. Our employees were viewed as distant but close family, always joining us at family weekend events or other special celebrations. The Family and the Business were very closely connected and it was embedded in our culture from a young age.

our roles, responsibilities and more, yes! And we expand it, year by year, as the family is growing and the family business is expanding. Establishing such a constitution is very useful and avoids any type of misunderstandings or confusion.

Regarding my preparation, similarly to my siblings, we started our training at a young age. I started my first real internship within the Group the summer of my junior year in high school, travelling across Romania to the quarries, mines, and concrete plants to learn the basics. Department by department, industry by industry – depending on where my passions and interests were. Each summer I would have a specific role/responsibility; most of which was to learn and listen.

In regard to my experience and passions, I have invested in other ventures that are not oriented towards our family business.

At the end of 2003, I decided to return to Europe to finish my undergraduate degree, during which time, I worked three days a week, as an intern in our shipping company in Athens for a period of three years, in Accounting & Finance and Operations. In 2007 I returned to Romania, where I began working in the Commercial and Business Development department for N.G.B Ten years later, I am now the Managing Partner of N.G.B.

• ONE Industrial, a venture launched with ONE United (a leading real estate developer), which will specialize in developing industrial properties in central Romania. We have just launched a +200,000sqm industrial park of which construction of Phase I is estimated to start in Q1 2019 and will be the newest park in the region.

WM: Is there a family constitution or procedure for dispute resolution that you implement so that the interests of the family are aligned towards the family business? What if someone has a different passion or wants to make a change? NB: We do have a constitution which states

We are very fortunate because our father, though he would like to see us all together, has always been supportive for us to explore our passions and other business opportunities if that is what we want. Fortunately for us, we are all together today.

• I am a Founding partner and majority shareholder of KnigthBridge International – a private consulting group with offices in Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens, Beirut and Amman. The company specializes in services for real estate, mining, shipping, building materials, food, agriculture, energy, and other industries. Other ventures include:

• OptoEletronica, where I also serve on the board, is a R&D company specialized in technological development, innovation in physics, advanced electronics and optoelectronic devices for civil and special applications. • Picoloo, where I am a partner, is a company specialized in designing and developing high end construction units using containers systems for residential, retail or commercial use as well as special application, for disaster relief.


WM: How does one take care of and manage so many ventures successfully? NB: As a team, we decide not to over leverage ourselves by taking on too many endeavors at the same time. However, we do trust and rely on one another quite cohesively and successfully. This is a factor of respect, open communication, trust and teamwork. As entrepreneurs, we do not have set schedules or holidays, however, we view it as being full time. WM: What is your schedule like during a normal week? NB: In the last year, due to all my responsibilities and activities, I usually wake up around 5:30 am, I am at the gym by 6:30 and in the office by 8:30 or 9:00. I would say that our office day usually ends around 7 or 8 pm at which time I either go to the gym again or have meetings. I usually return home around 10 or 11 pm. WM: What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun? NB: I enjoy playing contact sports a lot and training: Gym, Kickboxing, American Football, Rugby and Basketball. I really enjoy Archery (which I have loved since I was very young) and lately I enjoy spending time at the shooting range during the weekends. During my spare time, I like to play chess or Sudoku and spend time with friends and family. Other than

that, I do enjoy travelling and wining and dining like everyone. WM: Mistakes happen and they are great sources for learning; what are some of the mistakes you have made and what is the wisdom you gained over the years that you use now? NB: I would say that the biggest mistake I made when I first joined the team in Romania, was not to be patient enough. When I joined, I was over ambitious and confident enough in my abilities to oversee more projects at a larger scale than we were used to; I realized with time that the projects I had more success with and completed best were the ones that I could properly manage and control. My father taught me the valuable lesson of patience and that everything has its time and place; there will always be more opportunities in the future. WM: Do you have any advice for those young adults who choose to work with their families? NB: I think working with your family is a great adventure. My advice for young adults is as follows: Most importantly, decide or know if your family’s ventures are in an industry/field which you are passionate about. If you join a structure that you have no passion for, you will not be motivated nor will you


be able to add value to it in the medium to long run. But if you enjoy it, you understand the industry, the market, and you have a strong passion for it, there are unlimited aspects in which you can succeed and help your parents and siblings take the company to the next level. As much as possible, treat the company professionally as if you were not related to the owner. Secondly, be patient. Objectives and visions will not materialize overnight. Listen to those who have more experience in the field, get their feedback and thoughts and develop your strategy. Do not waste your time and energy on unrealistic targets. Learn to listen to past experiences, they are worth more than any degree can teach you. And last but not least, learn to properly communicate with your family and co-workers. Everyone has a different style of retaining information. Learn their listening patterns and adapt your messages accordingly. Some people may respond well on mobile messages, others by email and others through word of mouth. You will find that once a member has properly received your message, they will be more supportive and understanding of your thought process. WM: Do you have any advice for parents in preparing their business for the next generation?

NB: Parents, take the time to properly train your children in your industry/company and teach them the functions of each division and every role, as many as possible. This will help the child as they develop to better understand the concepts, requirements and processes for future decision making. They will have a better understanding of the roles of their employees and managers in the future. Take the time to properly communicate your vision and decisions to the younger generation. Help them understand why you have decided to move in that direction. By communicating your thought process to them, you will have less misunderstandings of any kind and more support and action, as my experience has shown me. My last piece of advice is that your children are the next generation of the company; I recommend that you to listen to their ideas and vision for the future. They will inherit this company in the future, and they need to be part of the decision-making process and feel pride towards the company. Your children have certain knowledge and know how that the older generation does not: the use of the internet, new technology, and other formats are simpler for the younger generation to understand and integrate into your structure. Not all change is negative and it’s always better to have that change occur while the parents are still involved during the transition.


DESIGN CENTER Our school is technologically advanced, and one might say that it’s one of the best in Eastern Europe, and the top in Bucharest. With its many assets (top teachers, large campus, modern gym, and sports facilities), the school still has room for improvement. The new Design Center, which will be built immediately after the secondary school construction is finished, plans on achieving this. THE GOAL OF THE DESIGN CENTER The Design Center will aim to facilitate more creative, project-based learning, according to AISB’s Head of School, Dr. Robert Brindley. With the help of the Design Center Committee, it will incorporate a large variety of subjects, from Film, Design, Textiles, and Robotics, to 3-D Product Design and even Cooking. The new project will help students to think more creatively, and ultimately, to have an open mindset. These skills are in high demand in today’s society,

as jobs are becoming more automated, and many industries such as Ocado (a British online supermarket) are “pursuing automated workers.” This takes place in “hospitals, law firms, (and) the stock market,” as reported by BBC-Future. Companies will no longer look for people with basic skills, but “people who understand 2D design, [and can] make it 3D; the people who can combine theories and make them practical,” according to Brindley.

after which they will be instructed to “bring elements from different subjects (Film, Design, Cooking, etc.) together in order to be creative,” Scholtes adds.

Hence, the Design Center. The school is moving forward from the normal notion of subjects, and, “to even think of them as subjects is probably not being clear about the goal that we are looking towards,” says Design Center Board Committee Member, Luke Scholtes. Rather, the school will guide the students to pick their specific areas of interest,

WHY DO WE NEED IT? The initial Design Center idea came from Dr. Brindley. He was looking to further enhance the education at the school and decided to look to other companies and schools for reference. Brindley says that the new Design Center will “replicate more of the real world industry than [the traditional] school.”

Teachers will allow the students to plan their own work periods and dates for goals they need to achieve, offering as much freedom as possible. This provides a much more project-based way of learning, much like the MYP Personal Project and Genius Hour.

Tudor I. // Grade 9 Student June 1, 2018 Extract/adaptation from the Secondary School Newspaper: The Bite //


He gives the example of “Entrepreneurial Hubs” to mimic the goal of the project. These are places where entrepreneurs are able to teach classes about their experiences. was recommended by Brindley as an example of what the school might look like (see picture on page 15). The Design Center Committee will soon travel the world to look at other international schools and universities, and most importantly, successful businesses in the hopes of finding a representation, developing it further, then adjusting it for our school.


This will create the tool to bring the community and flow of ideas together, since both the Secondary School and the Elementary School will participate in projects for the Design Center. Through this broadened flow of ideas, the Design Center will hopefully inspire creativity and dedication in the students’ school work and day-to-day life. SIZE AND PLACEMENT The location of the center will not change; the current Design Center will double in size, at the very least. When the project is finished, it will have a total of two levels, and will be extended around the temporary structure.

Brindley says that this project requires plenty of space and time in order to create the “multifunctional” building, as well as to add the “required equipment” to achieve the purpose of the Design Center. It’s clear that this is an impressive project that will change the landscape of the school. We’re looking forward to seeing it for ourselves in the next year or two.

Interview with

Dr. Viorica Rusu

AISB Alumna, 2001-2008 (Parent / School Doctor)

Dr. Rusu was the AISB school doctor from 2001-2008. She is also the proud parent of two AISB graduates. WM: We know that you lived and studied in the United States. What did you discover over there that you brought back to the medical system in Romania? VR: I attended medical nursing school in New York in the early 80s. I worked there for 15 years and I learned that you can do a lot of good if you believe in people. You have to follow your ideas, progress in your activity, and always attempt to be the best at what you do. When we, as a family, came back to Romania, we opened a private clinic called Bio-Medica, which had an important role in my activity during the AISB years. I appreciate all that I’ve learned in the US, and at the same time, I valued everything I knew from my own country. It’s always a combination of our roots and experiences that enables us to have an impact on people.

WM: Thank you for accepting to do this interview with us. Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you are doing nowadays. VR: It is a pleasure to see you here. It reminds me of the good old days of our medical unit at AISB. Since I left the school in 2007, I have started a private clinic called

1 & 1 Nursing Home, which is a home for the elderly that provides 24/7 care and aims to improve physical and mental health. I would love to be back at AISB, but one only has so much energy. Our current project here requires my 100% involvement.

WM: What year did you start working at AISB and how did you decide to start the medical office? VR: AISB opened its gates for the first time on the new campus in 2001, the same year in which I started working at AISB. As an American citizen, doctor, and nurse, I had the privilege to receive the position of

physician in the new campus. With the support of the BioMedica clinic, we organized the medical unit from A-Z with everything necessary, to provide the best medical care for the everyday needs of all the students, teachers and staff. I was impressed by the medical system in the United States, more specifically by the way people treated each other, and I ultimately wanted to be a pediatrician. However, my first assignment was in a geriatric unit, so when the opportunity to work with children at AISB appeared, I was very enthusiastic. I realized that if you trust your patient and you make them feel comfortable, you win a friend and a partner. The doctor-patient relationship is the most important in a medical interaction. I could say that the doctor is the liaison between children, students, family, teachers and medical personnel. I wanted to create a unit where the protocols in place would allow you to have all the resources to solve a problem, up to a certain point, where specialized medical care would be required. I aimed to have the right pharmacological products, standard medical equipment and a comfortable space for students to feel safe. Of course, the medical personnel were also very important – it


“It’s always a

combination of our roots and experiences that enables us to have an impact on people”


was crucial for the staff to be friendly and good listeners. My intention was also to always involve the family, and create a database with the medical history of each individual student. WM: What were the challenges you faced during this process? VR: It was very difficult to take into account such a high number of different nationalities when considering immunization protocols and medical approaches. At the time, AISB had students from at least 40 different countries, and if we take into account so many cultures, we notice that every single

person has a different approach to medicine. We had to respect the Romanian law, and considering that AISB is a private school, we needed to take care of the immunizations ourselves. I believe it was very difficult to manage all the potential outbreaks that could occur as a result of children coming back to Romania from different countries during their breaks and vacations. They could be coming with contagious diseases, medical issues that could easily spread, and in order to contain this issue, it was very important to maintain an open dialogue with the parents. There could’ve been numerous outbreaks of chickenpox, head lice, scabies, etc. Every student had a personal file that I had created, and in this, the immunization record was the most important. My daily activity consisted of about 30 kids per day, with all sorts of troubles.

WM: What was the campus like back then? Were there many students at the time? VR: The campus had 300 kids when I first started working at AISB, and in about 7 years, this number had doubled. The campus was just recently built, so there were very small trees, almost no grass, but these all grew along with us. I have very fond memories of Earth Day in April, when all the kids learned about the planet and made a tribute to nature. I remember my father coming in a few times on this occasion to teach students how to make a garden. When the Outdoor Education trips took place, the medical staff at AISB had a mission

to prepare medical kits depending on the venues for each class. It was the toughest to prepare the kits for students going camping because there were additional dangers that could arise and we had to be very cautious to ensure we packed a kit for any possible situation. WM: Can you please share with us your most memorable experience from AISB? VR: I would say that my most memorable experience at AISB was when we organized a First Aid lesson with the BioMedica doctors from all sorts of specialties – emergency doctors, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists and internal medicine doctors – all of whom were very enthusiastic about teaching emergency medicine to the students. Likewise, the kids were curious to learn about this topic, and they had many questions that

were unexpected. At that point, the students realized that the doctors that they thought were very serious and at times scary, were in fact also humans with a lot of humor. The feedback for that event was wonderful, and the doctors felt great satisfaction for teaching the students such an important lesson.

supportive and involved in the activity of the medical office. WM: Where would you hope to see the medical office at AISB in the future?

VR: There are many ways today to be in touch with the whole community. Various campaigns can be organized to raise awareness

VR: I am hoping to see the medical office at AISB as a part of the vertebral column of the school because physical health goes hand in hand with mental health, leading to the well-being of each and every individual at AISB. I encourage students to reach out to the medical office for anything they might experience, and even more so, I encourage parents to be as involved as possible with the office in order to improve the activity of the doctors at

of the various conditions and diseases that may be encountered. Immunization protocols are very important, along with the regular follow up and periodic examinations.

AISB. I am glad to see that the medical office continues to be very involved in the sports competitions and tournaments that take place on campus.

This is not only crucial for the students, but also for the teachers and other staff members. There must be permanent communication with the families of the students, and I encourage more events such as the First Aid one to be organized on a constant basis. In addition, a doctor needs to be a very good psychologist, and you must understand the aspects of a students’ life, not just at school, but also at home. When you notice a certain complaint that is repetitive, you start thinking of something that could potentially be wrong outside of the school. Little by little, we discover aspects that not even the parents know.

I must say, before we end the interview, that I miss AISB. I really enjoyed every single day of my activity there. I felt like I lived every day to the fullest, and every student was like a friend at the end of the day. Ten years have passed since I left the school and every time I bump into somebody out on the street, it’s a happy moment.

WM: What responsibilities do you think the school has to inform and educate the community about medical conditions?

Everything is confidential, but the school’s administration has always been extremely


Interview with

Andrei Dobrescu WM: Thanks for being here with us. Can you start by giving us a quick summary of your educational pathway right up to university?

AD: For my undergraduate degree I went to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and I studied biotechnology.

AD: I started my education at my local Romanian school in Bucharest. In the middle of fourth grade, my mother got a job offer to work in New York. It felt scary at first, but I went with her and did two years, grades 5 and 6, in a small town in New Jersey. Going from the Romanian to the American school system was a very positive experience for me. I learned English and I saw that school can be more than just memorizing as much as possible. We then came back to Romania and I completed grades 7 and 8 in a Romanian school. I really wanted a change and knowing the American school system, I applied for the AISB scholarship program that year and I got in. I spent 4 years at AISB between grades 9-12.

WM: What followed your undergraduate degree?

WM: In your opinion, what are the biggest educational and cocurricular advantages AISB has to offer? AD: AISB is great because of the diversity it has to offer. I enjoyed the mix of school work and the wide variety of after school activities. Going to the competitions at the end of the season was a highlight of the semester. The IB is also a great program. It is tough while you’re in it but it does a good job in preparing you for University. Finally, I think meeting and spending time with people from all over the world is important to understand that we live in a global community. WM: Where did you go to university and what did you study at an undergraduate level?

AD: After my undergraduate degree, I did a Master’s in systems and synthetic biology also in Edinburgh. Although biology is a fascinating subject, I realized that I wouldn’t enjoy the day to day job of working in a lab. At this point I started to get into programming and liked it so I investigated how I could change fields. While doing odd computing jobs, I applied for PhD’s and I got a scholarship to research computer vision and artificial intelligence. WM: How difficult is the path you have chosen and what motivates you to continue it? AD: My path to get here was quite unorthodox given that I didn’t have a programming or math background, so it meant a lot of self learning, online courses and tutorials. The motivation comes from learning a very interesting subject and the potential applications and impact of this technology. I’ve lived in Scotland for almost 9 years now so it’s my second home. Edinburgh is a great city to study and live in. It is big enough that there is plenty to do but small enough that you can get everywhere on foot or with a bike. WM: Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic right now, what do you think are some important things we should know about it? AD: First of all, artificial intelligence is a powerful tool but still in its infancy. Even the


AISB Alumnus, Class of 2009

term intelligence is somewhat misleading because at the moment, is not really intelligence as we perceive in humans or animals, but an algorithm learning a very specific task very well under strict parameters. As with most new technologies, articles in the media often portray it as more advanced than it is. The speed of development is very fast, but we are still very far from the AI systems present in science fiction. It’s main strength is that it can analyze huge amounts of data very quickly and the goal is to get close to human level accuracy. Currently we are using AI algorithms that exist already in services like facial recognition for Facebook, Google translate, Amazon’s Alexa, and self-driving cars. WM: What social impact will this technology have? AD: The short answer is it’s hard to say. The most obvious social impact will be the big potential wave of unemployment due to some jobs being replaced by computer algorithms, but the extent is unknown. There will be a big impact if self driving cars and trucks become the norm as the transportation sector is huge. In the future, I think people will also become more accepting of algorithms and interacting with machines. WM: Will it be the last invention mankind will have to make? AD: No, I don’t think so. This technology is ultimately a tool that is still just a part of a larger system. WM: What is being done to ensure this technology will become a tool that creates value for mankind?

AD: The main reason for its development is to save resources by increasing efficiency. As the technology is still in its infancy, there currently isn’t much restriction around it. That said, once it becomes more mainstream, regulation is soon to follow. From an academic point of view, social impact studies are done regularly to make sure that our work will have a positive social impact. WM: Our generation will be associated with AI and we bear the responsibility of setting the foundations for how we develop further from here and how we will interact with this technology. What should the leaders in research do to make sure mankind can thrive with AI? Does each person have a responsibility to this end? AD: I think it will be important for industry and research leaders to educate people on how they can live and contribute in an increasingly automatized world. More and more people are impacted by automation and AI development will only intensify the trend. Human capital will still be very important because computers are unlikely to come anywhere near comparable levels of creativity or critical thinking. I think a balanced approach is best, where companies should have the freedom to develop their business how they see fit but also contribute more closely to help society. I think talks of universal basic income will increase in the following decades. WM: It is clear from the interview that predicting the evolution of AI is not an easy task, as we enter very much into the unknown. That explains also our fear. Assuming we successfully integrate AI into our lives and

societies, how do you see mankind's future with AI? What will our lives look like? AD: I think it will have a net positive impact in our lives. With every big technological leap there will probably be an initial impact, but humans have proved to be great at adapting. It is hard to predict the future but I think our lives would get easier and we will become more technology reliant as AI systems become more advanced. The best example is the Internet and how it is a relatively new invention but it has become hard to imagine life without it. It is likely that helper robots will become mainstream and we would probably not even think twice about using fully automated services. As with every technology, there is the potential of using it for malicious purposes but overall, I think it would be very valuable. WM: What can AISB do to better prepare its students for the realities of life with AI moving forward? What educational programs can they implement at a foundational stage to pave the way for student careers in this field? AD: AISB, and schools in general, should teach students how to adopt new technologies and use them to their advantage rather than shy away. Critical thinking and creative problem solving are becoming more and more important and will most likely continue to be strictly human qualities. Foundational courses in computing and programming would be important as we move toward a more digital world.


Interview with

AISB Alumna, Class of 2009

WM: In what manner did the International Baccalaureate prepare you for your future studies? RM: After AISB I went to Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland, where I got my Bachelors Degree in International Hotel Management and specialized in Marketing. The more I studied and worked in the marketing and communications field, the more I wanted to learn about it so I then pursued my Masters in Marketing and Creativity at Ecole Superieure De Commerce De Paris (ESCP) Europe in London and Paris. I think it was only when I started EHL that I fully realised how well AISB had prepared me for studying abroad, both on an educational and personal level. First of all, I was fully prepared for all of my academic courses and I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been to learn business or math terms in English for the first time had I not have attended AISB. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I felt prepared on a personal level; already accustomed to a highly international community, I had no problem adapting to a new and diverse community. Another thing that helped me was that at AISB, compared to the Romanian system, we focused a lot on teamwork, be it in class or during extracurricular activities. With 80% of our university projects being team-oriented, I can only imagine how hard it would have been for me to adapt, without having previously cultivated the necessary soft skills for such projects.


WM: Leaving to study abroad and working outside of your home country is an experience for everyone, how did you adapt when returning back to Romania?

the local market from an employee’s perspective, for as long as possible, no matter the industry or the background he or she has.

RM: Coming back after 6 years was not easy, not because I did not like Bucharest, but because I really missed France and Switzerland. However, I did start working in advertising only a month after my return and once I did that I started discovering a whole new side of Bucharest. I met new people, went to very hip places and events, very similar to the ones I would go to in Paris. The city gradually grew on me.

WM: What inspired you to make the leap and start your own business? What are the advantages of this step for you?

What was very different and hard to adapt to was the working environment. I feel that, compared to Switzerland and France, where I had worked before, Romanians put less emphasis on soft skills and on management training. I believe this was one of the main reasons behind deciding to start my own advertising agency - I could not really change the environment in existing companies, but I could start one from scratch, more relaxed and more focused on employee development and recognition. WM: You returned to Romania following your studies, however you did not pursue a career in your primary area of study. Why did you choose to shift your career? Please tell us about your experiences working for different public relations agencies. RM: While I did not go into Hotel Management, I did pursue a career in my area of studies, as I specialised in Marketing & Communications during both my Bachelor’s and Master's degree. As for my career path in Romania, I believe I was very lucky to work for the top two advertising groups in the country - McCann and Lowe. This meant adapting to two different ways of working and environments. But given that I’ve always been set on learning as much as I can from both good and bad experiences, I did manage to gather a lot of “dos and don’ts” when it comes to advertising in general, and also dealing with clients and managing a team. All in all, I believe that any alumni that decides to come back and start a project in Romania should first experience

RM: I often felt the need for more time, so I could take projects to the next level, to grow professionally and personally. I also really missed the working environment I enjoyed abroad, that would encourage growth and a work-life balance, one that allows you to focus more on quality and new ideas. I believe this is what made me start envisioning my team, my agency and our projects. However, I believe the tipping point was when I started being pitched by other agencies to build new departments. Then it all clicked - why not build something of my own, guided by my own ideals? So I quit my job, rented a small office and started working on pitching and implementing awesome ideas, offering really good client service (that’s where my hospitality side kicks in) at transparent fees. That is how Line Agency came to be. WM: What services does your business offer? What plans do you have in the immediate future?

WM: What is exciting about your work? RM: Everything! You get to work on new and exciting projects all the time, with people with various backgrounds and brands from different industries - right now we have more than 20 brands in our portfolio, from hospitality to real estate, beauty and luxury. There is also a certain rush that this industry gives you, which I believe would be hard, if not impossible, to find in other fields. WM: What is your biggest challenge? RM: I believe the biggest challenge would be the lack of support from the government when it comes to startups, not to mention the taxes. Second would be the job market, at least for the moment. It has been rather hard to find people who have a long-term vision and can recognize growth potential. Nonetheless, I did manage to gather amazing people around me and I hope I’ll be as lucky in the future. WM: What tips do you have for present students who wish to enter your field of work in the future? RM: I think my advice would be to focus on learning, no matter the chosen field of work. Pay attention to everything and everyone around you because even a random, overheard conversation can turn out to be helpful one day.

RM: The agency started off as a digital (social media, e-PR, and websites) and events company, guided by the idea of connecting social dots, online and offline. Because our clients were happy with us and wanted our support in other areas of communication and we already had the necessary expertise and workforce, we expanded into the areas of PR, as well as branding, packaging etc. In just one year we gained the status of a full-service advertising agency, from through the line to above and below the line services.

Another thing I would tell them is not to be scared to experiment for a few years. If today you work in hospitality, find a way to jump to banking, marketing or any other field you desire. I promise every experience will turn out to be helpful in the end and one day you’ll look back and see all of those dots connected.

For the next two years, I plan on further expanding our portfolio (and offices hopefully) abroad, as my network is very strong in countries such as Switzerland and France and I believe that we can bring to those markets some of this amazing energy the Romanian advertising industry has, at affordable prices.

They can find more information about us on our website: and on our Facebook page https://www. .

If any of our current or future Alumni wish to experience the field of advertising, we would be more than happy to meet for a coffee.


Message from the AISB Board Chairperson Dear AISB Community, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support during the recent Director search process. The Board received over sixty applications from highly qualified educational professionals around the world for this position. After a series of Skype interviews with shortlisted candidates, three candidates and their partners were flown to Bucharest so they could spend at least two full days at AISB, meeting members of our community, taking part in discussions, and answering questions. All the candidates met with representatives of the Board, the School Leadership Team, student leadership groups, faculty, staff, and parents, and they were all greatly impressed by the ethos and direction of our school. The Board had the important task of deciding who will be asked to build on the outstanding legacy Robert Brindley is leaving at AISB. I am thrilled to announce that Peter Welch, the current Director at the International School of Helsinki (also a CEESA member school), was offered the position of Director of AISB, effective August 1, 2019, and that he has accepted with much joy and positive expectation. The Board will work with him and Dr. Brindley to ensure a smooth and productive transition. I hope you will all join me in wishing Peter and Suzanne Welch and their daughter, Gaby, who will be joining us as a student in HS, a warm welcome to AISB and many successful and fulfilling years ahead leading this amazing school. Best Wishes, Abigail Rupp Chair of the Board of Trustees



with AISB’s Future Director,

PETER WELCH Pius S. // Grade 9 Student June 12th, 2018 As published in the Secondary School Newspaper: The Bite //


Q: Why were you interested in this position? A: I think AISB is a really interesting, dynamic school with fantastic future potential. I believe in the IB way of learning and have certainly really appreciated being part of the CEESA family of schools. This will be my third headship within the CEESA region. Q: Had you been to Romania before your interview at AISB? What are you looking forward to about living in this country? A: My family and I had not spent any time in Romania prior to the interview process last December. We are excited to learn about the culture and language of Romania. From the outside looking in, it seems like a country that is changing in many ways and has a culture with great contrasts. Having spoken with international families who have lived in Romania, they have had

really warm things to say about the people and possibilities to travel around the country. Q: What are your main goals for when you begin working at the school? A: My main goals are to build on the current strengths and ambitions of the school. First, it will be important to get to know the community well and to build relationships of trust characterized by positive, supportive communication. Working with students, teachers, parents and the Board, I would like to develop a shared vision for the future of AISB and tell a story about this future that engages the entire community in the process of making this happen. Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you’re like as a director?


A: With a priest and a counselor as parents, the conversation around the family dinner table was often about what makes people tick, and this upbringing gave me the instinct to ask deeper questions about what things mean. I think I have always been exploring these themes as a student, as a teacher, and as a traveler. This curiosity and searching is what has taken my family and me around the world. We love to keep learning and trying to renew ourselves. I enjoy great food, movies, and books. Stevie Wonder makes me want to get up and dance. Chelsea Football Club can affect my mood way too much on the weekends. Some of my happiest times are walking our dog in the Finnish forests, watching the seasons change. As a director, it is important for me to understand the ‘why’ questions first of all. Why are we doing this,

this way? This is a kind of default strategic mindset in which I constantly explore the purpose of what we do and the wider implications. With this priority, I invest time in working out our collective purpose in conversation with the communities I seek to lead. I would always like this conversation to be brave, open and based on trust. I am comfortable in challenging basic assumptions of how schools work, but understand that creating a consensus for change can take time. The success of any conversation is really impacted by the culture and context of my work. I believe more and more that leadership is an adaptive skill. What works in one place, in one school, often does not work in another. So becoming Director of AISB will challenge me to really tune into what will work in my new community.

TIDBITS Family Details

Married to Suzanne, who is Canadian. Suzanne is a professional artist, illustrator, and teacher. We have one daughter, Gaby, who is 12.


I have developed an online questionnaire that maps student cultural dispositions to their learning and communication habits. This research has been adopted by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and is currently being piloted in 50+ international schools worldwide.

Recent Presenting

School Leadership

• Director of Admissions & Marketing Elmwood School, Ottawa, Canada • Director of Post-16 Education Sir James Henderson School, Milan, Italy • Head of Sixth Form/Head of Humanities Tanglin Trust School, Singapore


• Head of History Haileybury College, Herts, UK • Voluntary English Teacher VSO, Ghana • Voluntary English Teacher Link Africa, Lesotho

• CIS Symposiums on Intercultural Learning (London/Hong Kong 2016)


• CCE Symposium on Creativity (Finland 2015)

Cambridge University

• AAIE 50th Anniversary Conference (Atlanta 2016) • CEESA Conference (Istanbul 2016) • Keynote Speaker ELMLE Conference (2017)

Recent Training

• Marketing for International Schools @ Haaga-Helia University (Helsinki, 2015) • ‘How Do Boys and Girls Learn Differently?’ EIS (Helsinki, 2015) • Lycee Winston Churchill, ‘Working Across Cultures’ (London, 2016)


• CEESA Executive Committee • IB Workshop Leader - Leadership Pathway • CIS and WASC Accreditation Visitor


• International School of Helsinki, Finland • Istanbul International Community School, Turkey • American Pacific International School, Thailand

• BA - History

• MA - History

London University

• PGCE - Secondary Education

Leicester University

• Ad. Cert. Educational Management

PROFESSIONAL SKILLS • Strategic Planning – Experience leading whole community strategic planning exercises from initial audits through to the collaborative writing of strategic and action plans with KPIs. • Facilities Development – Experience of project design, financial planning, architectural studies and permit process including ‘third campus project’ at Istanbul International Community School. • Budget Management – Overall management of school budgets, strategic enrolment objectives and development of long-term financial sustainability plans. • Curriculum Design & Development Curriculum leadership of all IBO programmes (PYP, MYP & DP) and experience with UK, US and Canadian national curricula. Experience leading early childhood curriculum writing. • Accreditation – Leadership of schools through all aspects of international accreditation processes: WASC (APIS,

Thailand), CIS/NEASC (ISH, Finland & IICS, Turkey) and IBO. • Recruitment – Significant experience of recruiting international teachers as a Head of School at Search Associates, CIS and ISS Fairs and through Skype and phone interviews. • Teacher Training – Workshop leader at educational conferences on ‘Working Across Cultures: Leadership in International Schools’. ‘Developing Effective Collaboration in International Schools’ & ‘Gender-based Learning Styles’. Approved Trainer for ‘Culture Active’ program for Richard Lewis Group. • Learning Technology – Overall management of integration of 1:1 laptop program, the development of e-learning platforms and developing short, medium and long-term learning technology plans, including transition to BYOD. Excellent ICT skills in Windows, Apple and DTP products. • Marketing & Branding – Experience of running own consultancy serving independent schools in Ottawa, Canada, providing brand identity services, school marketing plans and design of marketing materials. Building of new website at ISH including concept and ‘Uniqueness Project’ photography. • Appraisal & Mentoring – Experience leading the redevelopment of the appraisal system and the integration of a new peer mentoring systems. • Counseling – Training in ‘Acceptance & Commitment Therapy’ & ‘Reflective Listening: Working with Adolescents’.


I enjoy writing and am currently working on a book called ‘Culture Vultures’, which takes a humorous look at why understanding cultural differences is so important. I paint with the indulgent support of my wife, who is a professional artist. Our family enjoys traveling, keeping fit and walking our dog in the forest where we live by the sea.


dedication day



“What if you fly?” Ioana Tulea, AISB Graduate of the Class of 2018, Equestrian

People around me are always wondering; what it is about a horse that is so enthralling to you? What is it about this animal that incites you to train for three hours a day, six days a week, no matter the weather or your health? How can you persevere and continue this sport relentlessly, pushing past the pain and tears and sweat that it causes you? My horses to me are not mere animals; they are my partners, my teammates, they are everything to me. In them, I see a reflection of my dreams and goals, a reflection of hard work and patience that both myself, my parents and my trainer invest relentlessly in. There is no feeling I have ever experienced as great as

that of riding a horse with which you can connect with, a horse that knows you inside and out. That feeling of winning a class that both you and the horse have worked so hard to succeed in, and hearing the cheers of the public and the giddy feeling of bliss blossoming in both your chest and your horse’s. I trust these animals with my life. When I am in the arena, the hundreds of people watching disappear, and in that moment, I am left alone with my partner beneath me. On the course, we breathe and move as one. We are no longer two separate beings of different species – we become one team. Each


fraction of a second counts; the smallest mistake or hesitation can lead to gaining penalties or to elimination, as well as painful falls. The risk is enormous; I have been thrown off the back of a 600 kg horse galloping at full speed into heavy wooden bars. There have been times where I blacked out for several minutes and have broken, torn and bruised more body parts than I care to count. I have seen my friends and people I idolize slammed into the ground and I have heard the sickening thud and cracking of their fragile bodies crumpling underneath their horses’ hooves. And yet I still continue,

because ambition and determination propels me past the looming prospect of death or paralysis and into the belief that I can become great. No guts, no glory. There are, of course, days in which it becomes too much. Days in which my horses won’t understand my commands and days in which I miscalculate and give them the wrong instructions. In those days, when the bruises and broken bones and torn muscles and overwhelming, frustration seems to engulf the prospect of success, slivers of doubt weave into my mind. But in those instances I remember that my horse - like me - has weaknesses, and days

in which my commands don’t make sense and she cannot cooperate. I remember that when I tire, she tires with me, her breathing matches my own, her muscles shriek in protest as mine do when we’ve been working for too long but my trainer tells us to keep going. And I remember that despite all that, she pushes forwards and perseveres, always doing her best for me and never giving in, no matter what. And I owe it to her as well as to myself to keep pushing and to keep believing that one day, no matter the setbacks and obstacles, I will accomplish my dreams.

Alumni Platform Redesign We are centralizing everything on WE URGE YOU ALL TO SIGN UP TO OUR NEW ALUMNI PLATFORM NOW!

WHY? Simple. We have learned a lot during the past 2 and a half years since operating our first online platform. It is time for an overhaul based on our present knowledge. Our goal as the Alumni Executive Team is to always fine tune our strategy and put in the work to satisfy the interests of our community. Communication and transparency is key to this, and we are now centralizing all the information on WHAT’S NEW? The new platform has all the capabilities that you were used to on the old platform. In addition, you will also find all the articles we have published in our WORLD Magazines well-organized

and easy to read, photos from our main events, all the minutes to our meetings, our founding documents, and much more. Coming soon will be all the yearbooks we have on record - from 1978 on! WHAT’S NEXT? Sign up to our new platform (http:// and use it. This will help us better identify the areas where we need to improve and make our AISB Alumni Association bring more value to you. If you have any requests, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I wish you all happy networking, Alex Cristescu AISB Alumni President


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