Global Citizens, at Home and Abroad
Developing a sense a responsibility toward others is central to 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 engage in community-service events throughout the year. Students of all ages have participated in read-a-thons to raise money for an NGO that promotes literacy and girls' education in developing countries. Lower School students take part in food and toy drives, and visit food banks and local clothing collection stores. Middle and Upper School students have visited soup kitchens, participated in forest clean-up days, and organized drives to collect coats for the homeless, food and personal-care products for local refugees, and school supplies for those in need.
India Exchange Trip
Our exchange program with the Mahatma Gandhi International School (MGIS) in Ahmedabad, India has been going strong for over a decade. We welcome a delegation of students from India to our community in the fall, and our students travel to India in February for two weeks of community service and cultural exchange. When in Ahmedabad, students volunteer in NGOs, with a focus on teaching English to underprivileged children from impoverished areas. They discover Indian family life through home stays and explore India's cultural heritage, while sharing the traditions and culture of France with students from MGIS.
Human Rights Team
The goal of the Human Rights Team is to raise awareness about issues across the globe. Events from past years include an exhibit on the plight of refugees, a children’s-rights film festival, and author events. Each year HRT hosts a film festival and conference for the Middle School to learn about and debate a topic related to human rights. 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 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. The 4,000 student delegates reenact UN proceedings. Delegations have also participated in MUN simulations in Haarlem, New York, and Paris.
Summer Awards Program
Students in eighth grade (Quatrième) and up are encouraged to apply for American Section Summer Awards:
- The Summer Scholars Award, for students in Seconde or Première, encourages exploration of academic or artistic projects during the summer. One past winner studied marine biology, with a focus on reconstructing a coral reef; another joined an archaeological dig.
- The Junior Summer Scholars Award, created in 2019, offers a similar opportunity to a student in Quatrième or Troisième. Our first winner will be attending a fine-arts academy.
- The Global Citizen Award is granted annually to two students (or student groups) in Première wishing to spend part of their summer working on programs of human development, environmental protection, or human rights. Past winners have participated in a sanitation program in Nepal, volunteered in orphanages in China, Cambodia, and Ghana, and studied climate change in Iceland.
- Our Community Service Award encourages students to initiate sustainability projects at the local level. One winner created her own NGO, promoting girls' education through participation in area road races.