World Magazine - Summer 2013

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A M E R I C A N

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

S C H O O L

O F

B U C H A R E S T

SUMMER EDITION 2013

50TH ANNIVERSARY ALUMNI REUNION

INTERVIEW WITH ROMANIAN ACTRESS

IOLANDA COVACI Plus

PHOTO GALLERY AISB WORLD NEWS

NEW OFFICERS & DELEGATES

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION WORLD MAGAZINE 1


Romanian Feature

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The Danube Delta - A World Heritage Site Tulcea, Romania The waters of the Danube, which flow into the Black Sea, form the largest and best preserved of Europe's deltas. The Danube delta hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 freshwater fish species in its numerous lakes and marshes.


AISB Matters: David Ottaviano / Director

What does Accreditation mean to you?

AISB has been providing an international education for students in Bucharest since 1962. In the early days the school sought accreditation, or the license to operate from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. This accreditation has two sides: the first is so that our program is acceptable to colleges and universities and the second is to follow internationally prescribed rules for schools. Our first accreditation was in 1983. The process of gaining and keeping accreditation is a lengthy one and must be applied for every 10 years. The accreditation process begins 18 months before the evaluative visit by surveying the community for their impression of the school and its services. The community, which is defined as the Board of Trustees, the parents, alumni, students, administration, teachers and support staff are all asked to complete an on line survey from Endicott University. This is a comprehensive opinion survey involving every aspect of the school in areas like teaching and learning, school facilities, school policy, and school finances. In our recent case, there were two evaluators who came to our campus for a 2 day visit and they confirmed in a report to the Board that we were ready to begin the self evaluation (called the “self-study”). The school is currently finishing the year long “self-study” of selected groups of parents, teachers, staff, students and board members. The self-study also evaluates the details of the curriculum, facility, governance and instruction and evaluates such things as our health office and food service. AISB now applies for accreditation from three agencies. We seek accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in the USA, from the Council of International Schools, a worldwide consortium of international schools, and from the International Baccalaureate Organization. The International Baccalaureate Diploma is accepted in 145 countries, including Romania. These accreditations give AISB not only recognition but credibility. For our graduates, it means they can attend universities and colleges in Europe, the USA and other parts of the world. AISB is also recognized by the Romanian Ministry of Education as a school licensed to offer a foreign curriculum in Romania. Every year we must submit information to the Romanian Ministry of Education to remain current. Accreditation is important for the school’s reputation and for the students and alumni who have studied at AISB. In November 2013 we will welcome almost 20 evaluators from Europe and North America. They will visit every classroom, review our curriculum and its delivery, and evaluate our facility, emergency procedures, governance meetings and financial status. This is a very thorough review and will end with recommendations that will assist us in planning our strategic plan for the next 5 to 10 years. Why should this matter to you? Recognition by these organizations provides a positive picture of the school and by extension, adds prestige to your AISB education. This in turn is something that our alumni share with current and future employers and friends. It also ensures that AISB is in a constant state of improvement and a contributing member of the community.

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VOLUME 2 / ISSUE 1 SUMMER 2013 CO-EDITORS Lynn Wells Maria Tudor CONTRIBUTORS Elena Sandulescu PHOTOGRAPHY Alexandru Calcan Radu Fugarescu Maria Tudor AISB Archives DESIGN AND TYPOGRAPHY Mario Zamfir Urban Design Associates ONLINE EDITION Urban Design Associates WORLD ALUMNI MAGAZINE Sos. Pipera Tunari 196 Com. Voluntari Jud. Ilfov Romania 077190 Tel.: 021 204-4300 Fax: 021 204-4384 Email: alumni@aisb.ro www.aisb.ro Published by Design Works Publishing Co Print Circulation: 1000 copies Electronic Circulation: 2000 copies Cover Photo: Alex Calcan

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AISB VAMPIRES at 50!

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Alumni Reunion / 50th Anniversary

Editor's Letter

CONTENTS 10

Interview with IOLANDA COVACI

22

Interview with chris gellenbeck

24

Interview with alex dobre

26

Interview with sabrina sotiriu

27

Interview with sijmen van groningen

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Editorial

“Any former student, faculty, Board of Director member or staff of AISB, who has spent at least one semester affiliated with AISB, will be considered an Alumnus or Alumna” (Constitution of AISB Alumni Association)

Maria Tudor / AA President / Co-Editor

During the four years spent at AISB I was involved in many of the school’s activities such as the Student Council, Community Service as well as occasional conferences and entertaining activities. I learned about the importance of working and communicating with others in order for the projects to be successful and I was prepared to continue my education in a diverse environment in London.

Returning to Bucharest in 2011 and visiting AISB I realized that time flies by too fast and I had lost touch with the school and my former colleagues. It so happened that in the fall of 2011 I was invited to join the Planning Committee for AISB’s 50th Kick-Off Anniversary, which took place beginning of September 2012. It was a great experience, which reminded me of the high-school years and the AISB spirit, and I have to admit made me nostalgic. AISB’s idea of officially establishing an AISB Alumni Association was a great way to start reconnecting with former colleagues, meeting alumni from different generations as well as getting more involved with the school’s activities and the community. My involvement at AISB during high school, and the necessity to reconnect were the two forces which convinced me that I had the ability to organize the reunion and lead the association. Every big project needs a well thought plan, so I started a team of enthusiastic and committed alumni: Cristina Gingirov, Ioana Balu, Monica de Romeo, Eduardo Khalil and Sever Savanciuc, to organize AISB 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion. After many months of hard work, we made it:

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the 50th Anniversary Alumni Luncheon was a great success! On Sunday September 2nd 2012, around noon, over 50 alumni gathered at Entourage Lounge in Bucharest. All Alumni present voted to approve the Constitution and elected officers, therefore officially establishing the AISB Alumni Association. Our purpose, as an association, is to form, maintain and renew relationships, to establish and maintain communication, to improve social atmosphere with the school and the community. To do so, we started more projects, working closely with Mr. Wells, Dr. Ottaviano, Mr. Zamfir and other AISB staff. As the 50th Anniversary Alumni Luncheon turned out to be the best alumni reunion, we planned another reunion, which took place on March 1st at the Refinery in London. It was a lovely evening to meet and catch up with alumni over canapés and wine. Merits to Sever Savanciuc, Didi Radu and Alex Cristescu for organizing and the 40 alumni who attended the event. Another important development is the World


AISB Alumni Officers President:

Vice president:

Maria Tudor / Class of 2005 Cristina Gingirov / Class of 2004

Secretary/Treasurer: Ioana Balu / Class of 2007

Alumni Magazine, which focus is bringing people together even though we are miles apart. The magazine is about alumni, what we do, where we live and ways to keep connected, so I contacted many of you though Facebook and asked for your news. Thank you for all your replies and for helping us making this WM issue exciting and entertaining! The Alumni page on the AISB website is also one of our priorities and an ongoing project. Networking is very important these days therefore we are developing an active platform, which alumni can access and benefit from. In regards with the association’s involvement with the school, we are planning to participate and organize activities such as sports games,

Delegates: Sever Savanciuc Monica deRomeo Eduardo Khalil Andreea Dinulescu Didi Radu Inna Asthana Maria Roncea Marius Opran Ruxi Micsunescu

Alina Iaciu Filip Radu Hermen Rossey Shirin Johari Paul Predusel Stefi Ivan Victorita Paun Moshe Gordon

fundraisers and inspirational speakers in order to connect and encourage the students and the community. We will keep you informed of our agenda through social media. So far it has been challenging but also motivating to be part of the office of the Alumni Association and to start the association. I believe that, with all alumni’s help, we can grow into an organization, which will not only form a strong network but also make a difference.

Maria Tudor, AA President / Co-Editor

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Editorial AISB Vampires At 50

Lynn Wells /Co-Editor

How does the American International School of Bucharest celebrate its 50th Anniversary? We engage, prepare and inspire the community with a variety of special events, service projects, parties, assemblies, guest speakers and more. You only turn 50 once, even if you are a Vampire, so it’s important to celebrate not only where you’re going but how you got there. It all happened like this. In 1962 US Ambassador William Crawford and his wife Barbara, together with a handful of dedicated parents, dreamed of creating a quality English language school in Bucharest.

This was a time of Communist rule in Romania so of course the students were primarily from diplomatic families. As Ambassador Crawford wrote in his memoirs: “In the period immediately following World War II, our diplomatic missions in Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, and Belgrade all reestablished elementary schools of their own dating back to

the prewar years. Our only missions in Eastern Europe without them (elementary schools) were Bucharest and Sofia,” wrote Ambassador Crawford. “During a visit to Bucharest in 1955, I had noted that the lack of any American school there presented a morale problem for children and 8 WORLD MAGAZINE

parents alike. Mothers with children taught their own in their own fashion, at the loss of much time and energy, and with mixed results. There was general dissatisfaction with the prevailing situation compromising rapport between families and among children,” he concluded. So it was that the American School of Bucharest (ASB) was born and opened its doors to 6

students in September, 1962. The past 50 years have seen a revolution, devastating earthquakes, a major building expansion, adoption of the Vampire mascot, a name change (AISB), adoption of the International Baccalaureate (IB World School) and extraordinary enrollment growth. With all


this to celebrate we started our 50th Anniversary Celebrations early, as soon as school started. “Marking this milestone in our school’s history is as much about our future as it is about our past,” said Dr. David Ottaviano, Director of AISB. “By celebrating the past we affirm our foundation: an educationally challenging school that inspires students to reach their full potential to become responsible global citizens.” With current enrollment of over 830 students from 55 nationalities, AISB has not only grown significantly over the past 50 years, we have outgrown our purpose-built facilities. As we look ahead to the next 50 years we have a major expansion plan to look forward to so we can continue to serve the educational needs of a growing region of the European Union. In September 2012 our Alumni helped us celebrate! 50th Anniversary Book – A commemorative book that captures 50 years of history with photos, drawings, text and contributions from former ambassadors, students, parents, teachers, principals and school directors, all of whom are Alumni of AISB! (pic. 1)

50th Anniversary Opening Reception & Dinner – The Diplomatic Club welcomed current and former board members, staff, parents and local dignitaries to open the 50th Anniversary celebrations with champagne, music, dinner and speeches. (pic. 2)

50th Anniversary All-Family Picnic – A highlight this all-day picnic was opening a 1962 time capsule and to begin gathering artifacts for the 2012 capsule to be sealed at the end of the school year. Commemorative 50th Anniversary coins/medals given to all students, faculty and staff and families could purchase 50th Anniversary commemorative coffee mugs, tumblers, key chains, shirts, and caps. (pic. 4) 50th Anniversary Alumni vs. Varsity Soccer Match – The Alumni men and women pulled out a thrilling 1-0 win against the varsity team on the AISB soccer pitch. It was a perfect end to the all-family picnic and prelude to the night’s dinner dance. 50th Anniversary Dinner Dance “Under the Stars” – What we needed was a tent large enough to hold 450 people for dinner, plenty of food and drinks and a great band to play into the wee hours. We had it all one of our soccer pitches which was transformed into the 50th Anniversary Dinner Dance Jubilee. (pic. 5) 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion – Alumni from around the world came to Bucharest to see friends, celebrate the 50th year of AISB and also conduct a little business. The official by-laws of the AISB Alumni Association were approved

and the first slate of officers was elected. Over 60 former students gathered on the shores of Herastrau Lake on a perfect Sunday afternoon. (pic. 6, 7) Lynn Wells, Director of Admissions & Advancement

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Interview with romanian actress

Iolanda Covaci AISB Alumna / Class of 2005

"The advantage of the AISB educational system is that it is very real life oriented. The information you find out in class has a practical side to it, even in math, physics or chemistry. The things you learn are very useful afterwards, once you graduate"

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WM: What have you been doing since AISB? IC: After I graduated AISB, I decided to give up studying abroad, at least for a while, and risk auditioning for the Theatre and Film University in Bucharest. It was a hard decision, taken only intuitively, based on no reason whatsoever, just on an inner drive that I decided to listen to. Apparently, it proved to be true since I entered the first one on the list and enjoyed the three years of university thoroughly. I have been collaborating with Bulandra Theatre since 11th grade and, after graduation, I was employed at the Jewish State Theatre in Bucharest, where I am still working. I also perform in plays in Teatrul Mic, Godot Cafe, Unteatru and Green Hours. In 2011, I started studying psychology at Titu Maiorescu University and in 2012 I also started a four year training program 12 WORLD MAGAZINE

in Psychodrama. I find the combination of Psychology and Theatre, purposefully intertwining therapy and selfdevelopment, fascinating WM: What was the key moment in your life when you realized what you want to do/what career to pursue? Who or what influenced you to become who and what you are today? IC: I don't remember a certain key moment when I made up my mind to choose the path I chose... it was an innate feeling all along high school and even before. However, there was one person from AISB who encouraged me and influenced me to take acting seriously, who shaped me and taught me self-discipline and that is Mr. Greg Jemison, my theatre arts teacher to whom I will always be grateful for his trust in me and for his own respect for acting and theatre arts, a respect that I took with me in

my career and will always keep. Theatre Arts was a part of my IB program and the fact that I could choose to study acting in high school was one of the reasons I chose AISB in the first place. The experience was a high standard one, comparable to the actual experience in professional theaters and I will always keep it in mind as a diapason for everything I do. WM: Tell us a "crazy" AISB memory and name 3 AISB "partners in crime". IC: I remember when we were rehearsing for the musical "Grease" with Mr. Jemison and Miss Ham and I was supposed to do a flip over my partner's back. I tried it once on stage, with a protection mattress underneath and it went just fine. After a while, Robin, my partner and I were in the canto classroom that had a raspy carpet and we decided to try the flip again. I


PHOTOS COURTESY OF TEATRUL BULANDRA

fell and scratched my whole forehead that turned all red with blood. I then went into the theatre to tell Mr. Jemison what had happened and everyone started laughing thinking I was playing a trick, saying it was a very good joke and no one would actually believe me. Eventually, Petru Calinescu realized it was real blood and told everyone I was not joking. I remember his father, Florin Calinescu, when he came to school to pick up Petru, took me to their house and took care of me, put a special ointment on my forehead and made sure I was OK I didn't look particularly sexy for about a month... You have the chance to give advice to the current students. What would you say? IC: I am a Romanian and I can compare the Romanian educational system to the AISB one and also see, by contrast, the benefits of this school.

One of them, something that I think students should really feel grateful for and take advantage of is the AISB library. It is very well equipped, the books are appealing, not the dull, dry kind of books that may be tiring to read, so I advise them to read a lot, to expand their knowledge beyond the information they receive in class, to be curious, to go in depth in the fields that interest them. The advantage of the AISB educational system is that it is very real life oriented. The information you find out in class has a practical side to it, even in math, physics or chemistry. The things you learn are very useful afterwards, once you graduate. Also, the fact that there are so many nations in one place is a wonderful opportunity to find out more about each nation's way of thinking, rituals, culture, etc. I would advise them to be open minded and socialize, use

high school as an opportunity to develop their social skills, their tolerance and why not, their sense of humor. WM: What do you think the AA's priorities should be? What AA activities would you like to see happening or attend? IC: I think it is useful for current students to read the stories of different former students, find out their high school dilemmas and how they overcame them, maybe many of them are the same as their own questions. Also, it should present different accomplishments of former students that can inspire the actual students to aim for the sky in order to land among the stars, as they say. Studying at AISB, in such comfortable and good quality conditions, is a privilege that not many people can enjoy so...ENJOY!

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Alumni Reunion Founding of the AISB Alumni Association Beginning in the winter of 2012, discussion began with the 50th Anniversary Committee about officially establishing an AISB Alumni Association. One of the active members of the alumni community, Maria Tudor was asked to join the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee and to begin networking about this possibility. Although the school had already created an AISB Alums Facebook page, a team of volunteers created the 50th Anniversary Alumni Reunion Facebook Event page to showcase and inform alumni about the Alumni Reunion events scheduled for September 1-2, 2012. The number of friends accepting

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the invitation to attend the 50th Anniversary Alumni events soon topped 100 and many new alumni also became friends of the AISB Alums Facebook page. On Sunday September 2nd over 60 people gathered at the Entourage Restaurant to review and approve the AISB Alumni Constitution and select its first slate of officers. Prior to the business part of the event, however Mr. Radu Florescu, an ASB Alumni from 1968 talked about the evolution of our school and the role of alumni in ensuring the stability and reputation of AISB. Dr. Ottaviano, AISB Director presided over the establishment of the AISB Alumni Association as a vertically unanimous show of hands adopted the Constitution. The Constitution was then declared valid. Concluding the day’s business was the election of officers. There were 16 alumni running for the offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, and Members

at Large. Balloting was monitored by members of the High School Student Council. Representing AISB in this capacity were Max Petre, HS Student Council President, Julie Brown, Vice President, Ana Frangogiannis, Alexandra Gheorghe, and Romane Prigent. These Student Council members distributed and collected the ballots, and tallyied the results. The individuals elected to lead the AISB Alumni Association were: President: Maria Tudor Vice President: Cristina Gingirov Secretary/Treasurer: Ioana Balu Delegates: Sever Savanciuc Monica deRomeo Eduardo Khalil Andreea Dinulescu Didi Radu Inna Asthana Maria Roncea

Marius Opran Ruxi Micsunescu Alina Iaciu Shirin Johari Victorita Paun Moshe Gordon


2 September 2012 The 2012 Alumni Reunion in Bucharest began the next 50 Years of AISB in style.

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The association "The alumni association is an opportunity for us to form new friendships and business relationships with students of a similar educational background. While the expectations for us are to organize social events across the world, publish newsletters of our current events, and raise funds, at the end of the day, we formed this organization to create a community for people who had the pleasure of attending the American International School of Bucharest. While we have struggled to gain a foothold in what we really want to accomplish as the Alumni Association, we can agree that ultimately we won’t stop until we create a strong network, an easy line of communication among the alumni, and a sense of community that we can carry long after graduating from AISB." Inna Asthana AISB Alumna

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Cristina Sassu [Class of 1999] I currently work at AISB and this year I am organizing two major fund-raising events this spring: 4th Annual AISB Charity Fashion Show and Fur-ball Fundraiser for BARKS. Suha Yenigul [Class of 2002] The most important achievement this year was helping save a 6 year-old little girl’s life by supporting her in her fight against cancer. After a successful surgery, Serafim and I are now raising funds for the little girl’s treatment. Maria Madalina Antip [Class of 2008] I just moved from Austria to Paris to work for a leading NGO as a Policy Analyst in Communications and Public Affairs. It is my dream job so far and I am really excited to meet people and attend conferences at the OECD. Susan Canobie [Faculty Alumni] I just accepted the position of Secondary School Principal at the American International School of Kingston, Jamaica. The position will begin in August. Petru Calinescu [Class of 2005] I am currently working with my band “Green Tea” on the debut album. Also, I reached this year’s Eurovision semifinals with my own composition, sang by Maximilian Muntean. Moshe Jonathan Gordon Radian (Graduation year 200xx) – I am applying to the Technion’s excellence program and performed at the TED Active conference as part of the Skype virtual choir (conducted by composer Eric Whitacre).

announce that Romanians are the 5th minority at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

assistant and will be attending the festival which is a week before Cannes Festival.

Thomas Brown After I completed an enlistment in the Marine Corps, I was accepted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis MD. I graduate next year, and will be commissioned as an ensign in the US Navy. After that i have orders down to Pensacola FL for flight school. Real Top Gun type sh*t.

Andrada Petcu [Class of 2009] I have graduated from BSc Human Genetics this September and decided to move onto a masters degree in International Health Management at Imperial College Business School, which allows me to get a real insight into the challenges faced by healthcare today. I was very lucky to be a part of AISB: warm yet challenging and diverse, a school that really prepared me for the future and shaped me to become a balanced individual.

Diana Radu I am currently enjoying my gap year before embarking on a full-time job. This is my time to go wild. Raluca Savanciuc [Class of 2009] I am half way done with my masters at LSE, I only have 3 more weeks of term and then exams and my dissertation to do over summer. I will be starting my job at AlphaSights, a financial consulting/broking firm, in mid September. Victorita Paun [Class of 2005] Almost a year ago I discovered my true calling: teaching. Today i am proud to say that I am working as a kindergarten teacher at Little London Nursery School. I am learning a lot everyday and loving every minute of it. My speech and debate coach in college predicted a career in teaching for me in 5 years after graduation...but i didn’t believe him...here i am only 4 years after graduation fulfilling his prophecy...I guess teachers have an eye for teaching talents. Nora Douedari [Class of 2008] I am studying dentistry right now and I’ll be getting my doctorate’s degree from Carol Davila in 2 years. Hoping to go to New York afterwards to get a dental specialty in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Matei Lucescu [Class of 2012] I am studying Business Administration in the MAGAZINE 18 WORLD Netherlands and I am proud to

George Mucibabici [Class of 2006] Since graduating magna cum laude with a BBA from The George Washington University in 2010, I’ve been living and working in Arlington, Virginia, United States, as an Associate in mergers and acquisitions for Seale and Associates, Inc., a global middle-market investment-banking firm. I get to visit Romania when on vacation to enjoy seeing family and old friends. I miss the environment and memories of high school and AISB. It was fun! Robert Serafim I’m graduating with a 3.8 GPA and I just signed with Dalton State. I was offered a 85% scholarship for tennis. Mircea Vulpe [Class of 2006] After finishing my Masters Degree at LSE, I have started my PhD in Political Science at the University of Bucharest. Catherine Kyritsi-Morales [Class of 2006] I’ve been working and coproducing two movies which has kept me super busy. The first one is She’s With Me written and directed by Stephen Langford (who used to write for Family Matters) and the second one is called Club Dead directed by Paul Rocha. At the moment I am also working on a promo video that is for the sole purpose of getting investors to make the actual movie, which is directed by Tommy Lee Wallace who is a horror movie director legend. I have been involved the Monaco charity film festival for the last 2 years. This year I am the president’s executive

Alena Tatum [Class of 2006] After I graduated from Florida State University in May 2009, I was the billing manager for a small office for about two years. I decided to go back to school and am now about half way into my MBA program at George Mason University. Alex Cristescu [Class of 2009] After graduating from AISB in 2009, I was accepted at Queen Mary, University of London Law School in a 4 year course of English and European Law. As part of my course I studied my 3rd year in Belgium, at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (focused on European and International Law). This is my last year of university in London. I will return back to Romania as soon as I finish, where I plan to take the Bar Exam and qualify as a lawyer.


LJ Brown [Class of 2005] I am still in the US Army and currently living in Hawaii. I am also pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Diplomacy and Military Studies from Hawaii Pacific University. Jessica Kendrick [Class of 2011] I am studying nursing in Edinburgh and enjoying it. Alex Martin It’s been nearly 7 years since I left Romania but AISB and Bucharest are still where I spent most of my child hood and very close to my heart Right now I’m a second year Life Sciences major at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In my free time I’m acting in and directing plays and I just helped organize a student mental health conference in Toronto! I recently visited another AISB alum, Jessica Kendrick, as we’re still close friends after all this time. Hope part of this info is of interest to you!

Eitan Iahr [Class of 2002] I’m living in Israel, working for a genealogy social network called MyHeritage. It’s nice to see though that you and others from the alumni association are taking the initiative to organize a bunch of things. Gus Park [Class of 2002] After graduating from AISB in 2002, I went to Cornell University to study Economics and International Relations. These two schools provided me with exposure to empowering information and relationships that opened doors to phenomenal opportunities, which enabled me to tap into my highest potential. I am currently an Assistant VP at a reinsurance brokerage firm in New York City called Willis Re Inc. I married an amazing woman last year and we just had a beautiful child six weeks ago. Yuri Han I am working as a researcher at the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI). Recently I started working in the international cooperation team where we support OECD/BIAC and G20/B20. So this year I visit Paris on March, April and May for OECD meeting and St. Petersburg for G20/B20.

Andrei Enoiu I just returned from the US to Romania after working at a production and distribution company in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. I currently started script consulting in Romania. I am working on two movies. Flavius Junior I’m studying law at Titu Maiorescu University in Bucharest and hopefully will become a lawyer in a few years. During the summer I am looking forward to getting an internship at a law firm. Becca Achim [Class of 2010] After I graduated from AISB, in 2010, I applied for dentistry at UMF Carol Davila Bucharest. I am currently in the 3rd year of university and have 3 more to go. In my spare time (which is little) I volunteer at an organization focused on helping students develop in three important fields: professional, social/emotional and spiritual.

Thomas Wesson I have been pursuing an acting career in New York City and have had great success with leading roles in indie feature films, commercials and music videos. I am fortunate enough with my work to not need a survival job. I am booking better and better work, so hopefully you’ll all be seeing me in mainstream movies soon. I also write movies; I recently completed a fulllength historical biopic on the life of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It’s making the rounds in the industry and hopefully we’ll go into production soon (with yours truly acting in it too!). Much love from New York!

Nicholas Nabil Bouri II [Class of 2002] In 2012, Finished a graduate certificate in Financial Management from Cornell University and in 2013 started Courses online at Harvard with hopes of pursuing a Masters in Business Management with a concentration in Finance. I currently live in Romania and I am a member of the Rogbc (Romanian Green Building Council) and founding member of American Football and the Bucharest Warriors Club (www.warriors.ro) I am ravelling a lot and meeting new and interesting people everyday. I am also managing the family’s Real Estate Development Company and Aggregates Company, as we continue to invest in Romania. Firas Bayazid I am currently performing business transactions between South Smerica and Libya. I work as a commercial manager for ABUSDERA GROUP with main headquarters in British Virgin Islands. My main residence location is in Beirut, Lebanon. Recently engaged and inviting you all for my wedding in December, in Beirut!!! Alex Wallar I am studying Computer Science at St Andrews. It is truly a pleasure to be around international students that had similar experiences as I did in AISB. Megan Mix I am currently living in Boston, Massachusetts. I am an account executive at a public relations firm in Boston. In May 2013, I will be graduating with a Master’s of Arts (M.A.) degree in Health Communication from Emerson College in collaboration with Tufts University School of Medicine. Philippe Werner [Class of 2007] I chose to combine the things I enjoy in life which are music and going out, so I decided to set up my own business. I started to book upcoming DJs in the clubs when lived in Malaysia and London.

with more DJs/artist managers and booking agencies. I then started to travel Europe and arranged meetings with club owners, offering them artists and/or concepts that I created. After a lot of persistence I was able to organise events and book artists for various nightclubs in Amsterdam, Madrid, Marbella, Zurich, Bucharest, Cluj, London, Los Angeles, Scottsdale and San Francisco. I recently got back from being in Los Angeles for one month where I had an event in a club in Hollywood, Los Angeles and in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was great experience being in Los Angeles and adapting to the American way of business - which is totally different to our European ways. The next half year I will be travelling a lot to Romania, UK, Spain and starting business in Singapore, Hong Kong and China this coming fall. Mina Khattak [Class of 2009] I am currently attending the National University of Singapore after an exchange semester abroad in the University of California, Santa Barbara Yana Kouvaeva I live in Maryland, USA. I have two kids, Calvin 9 and Felix almost 2. I am finishing up my student teaching for my Secondary Education Masters Program. Akshay Bhasin [Class of 2012] Since I’ve only been away from AISB for less than a year, I am enjoying my time in Rochester in Upstate NY, despite the cold weather. I’m enjoying my prospects in maybe advertising, PR, marketing and perhaps film, and the US is treating me well! Of course, I do miss AISB and all the memories it brought me. Mohamed Safwat On the professional level I am Project Manager at Orange Business Services in Cairo, Egypt. On the personal level, I have 2 boys, a 5-year old and a 2-year old. I also play keyboards for two local hard rock bands in Cairo.

I then moved back to the Netherlands where I started organising events for students from the international schools. WORLD MAGAZINE 19 While doing this I got in touch


Nora Kirkham [Class of 2012] I am enjoying studying History and International Affairs at Gordon College and have been involved in Model United Nations, as I was at AISB; attending the Harvard Model UN conference in Boston. Bana Karim [Class of 2012] Moving away from Romania was a real difficult thing to do as I’ve lived there almost all my life. It’s a new chapter of my life and as much as I miss Bucharest, I have adapted to life in London. I’ve met extraordinary people here and love the course I’m taking at university. I’m thankful I took the IB as it has helped a lot with my studies! Dorothea Cristiana Achim [Class of 2009] I am in my forth and final year at University of Dundee. I will be graduating with a MA in International Business and Finance. I am excited about the new opportunities that I will face once I graduate. I just got engaged last month to my boyfriend of 3 years and I am really excited about this new chapter in my life. Andrei Gaita [Class of 2009] I am currently finishing my final year at City University in London and looking forward to getting an undergraduate diploma in BSc (Hons) Business Computing Systems. Tom Shai I recently travelled South America for 7-8 months. After the infantry, came back to Israel and I am starting university in October.

because I go there when I have holidays and have nice sunny African vacations. Simona Ritter [Class of 1998] After graduating AISB in 1998, I am now in Romania after living in Dubai for the past 5 years. Came back through work, I met my life partner and I have recently delivered my second child.

Nameerah Hameed [Class of 2007] I studied Development Studies and Economics in undergrad in Pakistan, worked in British Council in Islamabad for a year, and I am now attending the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), in Bologna, Italy. I currently serve as the Vice-President on the Student Government Association and am looking forward to my second year of Masters in Washington DC. Jesper Jensen After attending AISB I moved to Denmark and studied in a Danish High School in Ringsted were I graduated in 2009. I am currently working as a Financial Bookkeeper for the Social Committee of the Copenhagen Municipality.
My future plans are to study BSc in Economics and Business Administration at Copenhagen Business School from September 2013 and after that hopefully a MSc in Economics and Business Administration.

Niccolo Ficarelli I now study engineering with management and entrepreneurship at City University in London. My family has now moved to WORLD Uganda, 20 which is prettyMAGAZINE cool

Gregor Marković [Class of 2001] I’m currently an ICT teacher in Belgrade, working in three International Schools, teaching the Cambridge International Curriculum to kids of various nationalities - just like one of which I used to be, many years ago in ASB. I saw that the last teacher who taught me way back then was recently retired - Mrs Suma. Kudos to her for being a great teacher, and surviving us all! Josh Hakkenberg [Class of 2001] I am married to a wonderful woman from Canada with a beautiful 9 month old baby girl named Emily. I am currently a Branch Manager of a Canadian retail bank near Toronto. Graduated in 2001 and I have kept in touch infrequently with several friends but not many! Nour Jabra I founded a tech startup aimed at giving exposure and compensation to artists in the Middle East. My startup has gone international and received thousands in investments from all around the world. You can see more at www.ikimuk.com Mimi Al-Hassan After leaving Romania in 1986, I settled in Virginia, USA . I have three beautiful kids and am helping care for my sick mother, while managing a full time job as a management consultant. My years at AISB hold some of my fondest memories.

Dina Safwat It is so good to hear from AISB. When I was there it was just ASB. I am almost done with my masters in Economics in International Development, at the American University in Cairo. After working for years in development am currently in the process of shifting my career to economic development. Nele Schuldt [Class of 2012] I am now enjoying my gap year by travelling. My base is in Hamburg, Germany. In the autumn I am looking forward to start my studies at the University of Essex where I will be studying Human Rights Law. Sacha Barbui [Class of 1989] I graduated 8th grade in 1989. Mrs. Suma best teacher in the world!! I married a Turkish girl a year and a half ago that I had met in Bucharest in that period. Living in Udine (north east Italy, an hour from Venice) where I have a building managing company. I am still in contact with friends from ASB. Will meet up with some this year.


Message from the AA Secretary/Treasurer

Message from the AA Vice President

Having graduated AISB back in 2007 and missing it ever since, I thus decided to get involved in the AISB Alumni Association, where I now am the treasurer/secretary representative within the team.

Last autumn when the AISB Alumni Association was born, I was elected Vice President. It is a great honor to be part of the AA, mainly because it keeps me close to some of the people I spent 6 years of my life with. Our team believes that the main goal for AA is to keep all Alumni in touch with each other and with the school. Together as an association, we believe that we will become more than just a few alumni that set up annual reunions but more a network.

In this way, I find myself being a part of AISB all over again, the Association making it possible to keep in touch with everyone who is, or was, a part of AISB. I am one of the members who helped organize the AISB Alumni Luncheon for AISB’s 50th Anniversary, which turned out to be a great success and a most memorable event for everyone who attended. Recently, I also helped organize and attended the London AISB Alumni reunion, which took place in March this year.

A network that allows anyone who has graduated from AISB to be in touch and to know information about people they haven’t seen in long periods of time. We hope to have 3 “home bases” (Bucharest, London and US), where appointed delegates will help fresh new graduates "settle in" whether they chose to go to college in London, Bucharest or the US. We hope to increase our programs as we grow bigger. As the Vice President, I believe that program planning is too important to be left to a one person committee, therefore we have a hard working involved team. It is a pleasure to hear other ideas from any graduates who would like to be part of AA’s team.

Currently, I work within the Marketing Department of Law Firm Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii, as I relocated back home, in Bucharest, after finishing a Management degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

As the Vice President I say that it is amazing to be part of a team who works hard in to keeping in touch with friends from all over the world. Even though each one of us has our own lives, we are still willing to give freely an hour or two a week to sit down and come up with ideas in order for the Association to reach its goals.

Ioana Balu / AA Secretary/Treasurer

Cristina Gingirov / AA Vice-President

AISB Alumna / Class of 2007

AISB Alumna / Class of 2004

WORLD MAGAZINE 21


Interview with

Chris Gellenbeck

WM: What have you been doing since AISB?

CG: I graduated from Albright College in the summer of '08 with a Bachelors in Communcations and Music Business. I currently work for the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel as an Executive Meeting Manager. 
I got married to my freshmen year girlfriend on Easter of 2009. I started working for Interstate Hotels and Resorts shortly after. My biggest life changing experience was the birth of my daughter, Ava Lily Gellenbeck, on 11.29.2011. WM: What was the key moment in your life when you realized what you want to do/what career to pursue? Who or what influenced you to become who and what you are today? Explain AISB's part of it. CG:
In Romania I was friends with various artists from the music scene. I guess my dream at the time was to become a music producer or sound engineer since I was exposed to the industry 22 WORLD MAGAZINE

AISB Alum / Class of 2004

around the age of 14. At that time I always imagined that being part of the entertainment industry was a big thing with endless opportunities - Radio/Film/Music etc. As we all know that is not the case however.
That was my original plan, I never really knew 100% what I wanted to do or the career path I would have liked to take. I always had a general idea in which fields I would like to obtain a career after graduating college but never determined what those field were.

AISB's role came into play when I had to apply for colleges. I generally expressed the path I would like to take and the faculty was always there to guide and give advice where needed. Not having my family around for my Junior and Senior year I had a lot of faculty members that filled the gap during their absence - Mrs. Barrows, Mr. Nicholson, Mr. Bournas, Mr. Elliott, Jerry Heiman (R.I.P.), Basil Kessler etc. I made lifelong connections, expanded my


A note from: James Stewart

A note from: Andrew Nicholson The footballer with the bung knee; just like me,
The bearded- bald, smiling and always happy chappy; not too dissimilar in nature to beloved Jerry Heiman, (RIP).

Just lots of DVDs... So many of them... hundreds! I miss those AISB days... Young and fun.

The crazy love of a good or bad movie, just like good old Freddie,
The love of sports, and all things chemistry; just like Ms. Canobie,
The finger on the pulse of all things "party"; just like Doc C,
 A fan of good food, and friends, just like the Barrows family.

I miss you guys!

There is only one Chris Gellenbeck, in whom we all saw so much positivity, and we know that he is now passing those traits onto his own family. You are much loved Chris, let's catch up soon!

vision and knowledge, grew from a middle school boy into a young responsible adult, and I think AISB contributed to every single factor. I am proud to say that AISB has and always will be my second family. WM: Tell us a "crazy" AISB memory and name 3 AISB "partners in crime" CG:
All I can say is DVDs and whoever knew me during this period knows what I am talking about. DVDs! Plenty of them! 
My main partners in crime Basil, Nir, Eden (R.i.P.), JJ, Suha, Josh, Joe, James, Rich, Fred, Francois, Rob, Lara, Ruxi, Gio, Nass, Marius etc. (no hard feelings, its been a while) WM: You have the chance to give advice to the

current students. What would you say? CG: Enjoy this time and make the best of it. This is one opportunity that can and will have an everlasting impact on the rest of your lives. 
If I had a chance to relive this particular period in my life all over again, I would. There are so many memories that I reminisce on a daily basis and it's been eight years since I've graduated. WM: What do you think the AA's priorities should be? What AA activities would you like to see happening or attend? CG: I would have to get more involved in order to give a clearer answer. I haven't been up to date with AISB's past and recent.

STORY IDEAS WELCOME WORLD Magazine strives to present news, stories and other content in the course of each year that is of particular interest or pertinence to the AISB Alumni and the community. We rely in part on your input to guide and generate articles. This is your publication and you are always encouraged to contribute. NEWS: Your life is ever-changing. Let others know about your new careers, new members in your family, achievements and prises, as well as your location on the globe. PROFILES: Want to share your own story? WORLD Magazine is a great way for Alumni to stay connected and keep in touch with the AISB Community. Let alumni get to know you better! INTERVIEWS: We might be contacting you for an interview. Interested? Or you can contact us, too.

FEEDBACK: Write to us and share your viewpoints. Write to alumni@aisb.ro or send your letter/article to the editor's office. STORY PRIZES: If your article/story is published in our magazine we will send you one of the following gifts: 1. 50th Anniversary Coffee Tumbler 2. 50th Anniversary Key Chain Each article submitted should be accompanied by good quality photography if available. Articles not published will be archived for future use. Forward all articles to the editor: alumni@aisb.ro

WORLD MAGAZINE 23


Interview with

Alex Dobre AISB Alum / Class of 2004

WM: What have you been doing since AISB? AD: After graduating from AISB I decided to read history at University College London. The course focused on East European history, covering the 20th century developments in the region. After spending three colourful years in London, I had the opportunity to continue my studies at Oxford University, St. Antony's College. The picturesque Oxford atmosphere contrasted strongly with vibrant London. Meanwhile, my girlfriend Maria, decided to embark on a different course, enrolling at the prestigious culinary school Le Cordon Bleu. This decision brought us today in

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Paphos, Cyprus, where we have recently opened a new restaurant, Sunset Breeze. The restaurant uses only local and fresh ingredients. We are proud to say that we are one of the few restaurants on Aphrodite's island that make their own pasta, dips and desserts. As the name suggests, the restaurant is situated next to the sea shore, being separated from the Mediterranean by a banana plantation, as it overlooks a beautiful afternoon sunset. WM: What was the key moment in your life when you realized what you want to do/what career to pursue? Who or what influenced you to become who and what you are today?

Explain AISB's part of it. AD: It is difficult to say when I decided to pursue this career. If someone would have asked me a few years ago, I would have probably said that journalism or a career in politics were the most probable outcomes. However, having visited Cyprus two years ago, I realised that waking up every morning overlooking the deep blue sea is one of the most amazing vistas. Consequently, we tried to focus our energy towards pursuing a career in hospitality. WM: Tell us a "crazy" AISB memory and name 3 AISB "partners in crime" AD: I have to admit that I was quite the model student at


AISB :). However, I remember back in 10th grade, the Personal Project presentations. Being a football fan, I focused my project on Steaua. The only issue was that the same day we had the presentations, Steaua was playing an important game in Bucharest. My 'partner in crime' was our beloved French teacher, Madame Paraschivescu. She helped me get the first slot at the presentations and allowed me to leave immediately so that I could catch the game:) WM: You have the chance to give advice to the current students. What would you say? AD: Having studied abroad after AISB I have realised the importance of the International Baccalaureate. The curriculum is designed in such a manner that by the time you reach university, you are already prepared to tackle the initial challenges, such as writing a coherent essay or making a professional presentation. I would strongly advise current student to find a balance between enjoying the high school years, while focusing on their studies.

Message from the Delegates

Inna Asthana

The alumni association is an opportunity for us to form new friendships and business relationships with students of a similar educational background. While the expectations for us are to organize social events across the world, publish newsletters of our current events, and raise funds for our organization, at the end of the day, we formed this organization to create a community for people who had the pleasure of attending the American International School of Bucharest. While we have struggled to gain a foothold in what we really want to accomplish as the Alumni organization, we can agree that ultimately we won’t stop until we create a strong network, a easy line of communication among the alumni, and a sense of community that we carried long after graduating from AISB.

WM: What do you think the AA's priorities should be? What AA activities would you like to see happening or attend? AD: I believe that the alumni association should focus on improving the communication between alumni. A social media application that would connect all of us would be a great opportunity to exchange ideas, job offers, thoughts or just memories. Also, personally, I would like the AA to organise a summer reunion in Cyprus, so that we can all enjoy a cocktail by the sea.

Sever Savanciuc

I graduated from AISB in 2011, after studying there for all of my pre-university education. I am a delegate of the Alumni Association based in London, although during my breaks from University I have worked on the Association’s events in Bucharest. So far I have had a great time working with the other members of the association to organize the AISB 50 Years Anniversary Alumni Reunion, as well as the 2013 Reunion in London. Most of all, however, I am excited about the future of what we can achieve together. The past two events we’ve held have brought a lot of energy to the AISB Alumni community, and I can’t wait to be a part of what’s coming next!

WORLD MAGAZINE 25


Sabrina Sotiriu WM: What have you been doing since AISB? (uni, work, where you live, status) SS: Since leaving AISB I moved to Canada, returning to Bucharest every summer to see family, friends and at the same time do something useful on the side too. I have been studying political science since graduating from the IB, first for my Bachelor's, next for my MA and finally at the moment for my PhD. I have tried complementing my studies with some practical experience, which has only convinced me that I landed in the right field, going through internships in the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chamber of Deputees in the Romanian Parliament, the Romanian Embassy in Canada, being a Model UN delegate as well as organizer, and even Secretary General at several such simulations, and most recently in the Canadian Parliament where I am currently working part-time during my studies. That's quite a mouthful, I know. WM: What was the key moment (at AISB) in your life when you realized what you want to do/what career to pursue? Who or what influenced you to become who and what you are today? Explain AISB's part of it. SS: I was unsure of what career I wanted to do until I finally went to Lisbon for the Iberian Model UN in my senior year, with Mrs. Murray, and I felt such an adrenalin throughout the whole weekend, that I knew that my career would have to be fueled by this sentiment. My parents never guided me into one direction, but only advised that I find something that I do with pleasure, and which doesn't feel like work, and that weekend I had finally felt like that for the first time ever, and the feeling continues until the present day, having just left work, on a Friday at 6PM. I don't think I had one particular person that influenced me to become who I am today, too many of my teachers have inspired me to find my niche and blossom there, I guess. Corny, yes, I'm aware. WM: Tell us a "crazy" AISB memory and name 3 AISB "partners in crime" 26 WORLD MAGAZINE

AISB Alumna / Class of 2007

Interview with

SS: Now that's a tought question to ask, not because I can't think of one crazy AISB memory because it's been 10 years since i started my studies there (aka I'm not growing old or anything), but because any crazy memories that I can think of (as in, more than one), would probably become frowned upon by those that know, or remember be, who are still on campus. And I wouldn't want to spill other important, relate details, such as naming my partners in crime, for their sake, of course, I'm sure you understand. Let's just say that my crazy AISB memories would need a whole separate interview in and of themselves, categorized as: on campus, off campus, and abroad. WM: You have the chance to give advice to the current students. What would you say? SS: I'm not sure if my advice to any of the current students will be taken seriously, nor if I would have taken seriously any of the advice I would have received when I was in their place, but I would say "dive right in, completely", in that the AISB experience becomes most enjoyable when you put your whole heart into it, from the community service projects, to the sports teams, and finally, yes, even what you learn academically can become rewarding. WM: What do you think the AA's priorities should be? What AA activities would you like to see happening or attend? SS: I guess the priorities should be actively maintaining contact with other alumni through any and all avenues possible (social media, the World Alumni Magazine, events, etc), and i guess a yearly Homecoming weekend would not hurt, as well as a 5 and/or 10 (or longer) year reunion for graduating classes (both from MS and HS, to encourage mingling). I know my graduating class had an informal 5-year reunion 2 years ago that I had missed by one weekend, because of my return from Canada. I think these would keep the Alumni Association busy enough throughout the year.


AISB Alum / Class of 2010

Interview with

Sijmen van Groningen WM: What have you been doing since AISB?

SVG: I graduated from AISB in 2010, since then I’ve moved to Groningen, the Netherlands to study International Business. In my freshman year of university I decided to take up high performance rowing, which has taken up the majority of my time, training 12x a week, alongside my studies. Next to studying and rowing I’ve been active in several student committees. Other then that, I haven’t been up to all that much. WM: What was the key moment in your life when you realized what you want to do/what career to pursue? Who or what influenced you to become who and what you are today? Explain AISB's part of it. SVG: I was never academically brilliant, unless I really really tried, which was rare. Instead I opted to balance as many extra curricular activities as I could in my schedule. MUN, ToK, and History really convinced me that my skills set lay more of the problem-solving end of the spectrum, which is why I opted to go for getting an MBA then go on to do another masters in Law. I always took it for granted at AISB, but it still astonishes me to see how many opportunities I was given at AISB to discover what I liked and enjoyed, and am thankful for that. WM: Tell us a "crazy" AISB memory and name 3 AISB "partners in crime"

SVG: A crazy AISB memory? To be honest I was always quite lame, but I guess the most badass thing I ever did was skip the first half of IB math with Abhishek Puri & Sean Campell every other Thursday morning, opting instead to take a nap. This was obviously done because we were always sleep deprived from working SO hard. WM: You have the chance to give advice to the current students. What would you say? SVG: In my opinion, at this point in life, it’s very important to be ambitious, figure out what it is you really enjoy in life, and not be afraid of unattainable goals. Go for it, and don’t let anything stop you, no matter what people say and how much people doubt you. It may be a little cliché, but still. WM: What do you think the AA's priorities should be? What AA activities would you like to see happening or attend? In my opinion it’s important that the AA give alumni the opportunity to keep in touch as much as possible. Its hard to keep in touch with the good friends we’ve made at AISB as it is, so I think it should be the AA’s priority to provide alumni with the opportunity to meet old school mates and develop a network of relationships that will last a life time. As of what id like to see happening, I guess more opportunities for alumni to visit school again.

WORLD MAGAZINE 27


see you in Bucharest

Check the AISB Alumns Facebook page for details about the next Alumni Reunion. We hope you can join us!

Sos. Pipera Tunari 196, Voluntari, Jud. Ilfov 077190 Romania Tel: (40 21) 204-4300 www.aisb.ro

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