Developing sense a responsibility towards others is a central tenet of the American Section’s mission. To instill this value in our students, we have developed a series of programs designed to open their eyes to the world and encourage personal dedication to issues that make a measurable impact on the lives of others.
American Section Students are encouraged to take part in community service events throughout the year. Students of all ages participate in a read-a-thon to raise money for an NGO that promotes literacy and girl’s education in developing countries. Lower school students collect Halloween candy and deliver treat bags, in costume, to a local orphanage. Groups of students visit soup kitchens, participate in forest clean-up days, and organize “drives” to collect coats for the homeless, hygiene products for refugees, or school supplies for less fortunate children.
Upper School students are encouraged to apply for the American Section’s summer awards. The Global Citizen Award is granted annually to two student groups wishing to spend part of their summer working on programs of human development, environmental protection or human rights. Among other projects, past winners have participated in a sanitation program in Nepal, volunteered in orphanages in China, Cambodia, and Ghana, and studied climate change in Iceland. The Summer Scholars award permits students to explore academic or artistic subjects in depth during the summer. One past winner has studied marine biology, with a specific focus on reconstruction of a coral reef; another explored medicine in Argentina. Finally, our Community Service Award encourages students to initiate sustainable projects on a local level. One recent winner has established her own NGO, which promotes girls' education through participation in area road-races.
India Exchange Trip
Our exchange program with the Mahatma Gandhi International School (MGIS) in Ahmedabad, India has been going strong for nearly a decade. We welcome a delegation of students from India to our community in the fall, and our students in turn travel to India for a two-week community service and cultural exchange in February. When in Ahmedabad, students volunteer in NGOs, with a particular focus on teaching English to underprivileged children from impoverished areas. They discover Indian family life through home-stays and explore the cultural heritage of the country, while sharing the traditions and culture of France with the students from MGIS.
Human Rights Team
The Human Rights Team’s goal is to raise awareness about human rights issues across the globe. They have organized several successful events in past years, ranging from an exhibit about the plight of Darfour refugees, a Children’s Rights film festivals and author events. Middle and Upper School students are encouraged to participate in HRT.
Model United Nations
Model United Nations, best known around the school as MUN, is a debating club that is open to all students from all sections. The sole requirements for participation are a commitment to improving our world and a passion for diplomacy. Each year, a MUN delegation attends THIMUN, “The Hague International Model United Nations,” one of the most renowned student organizations in the world. Along with over 4,000 other student delegates, students reenact UN proceedings. Delegations also participate in other MUN simulations, in Haarlem and in Paris at UNESCO.