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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
New West Wing Opens at International School of Hamburg
By Marc Morian 13-Oct-15
Not since the move to its current home at Hemmingstedter Weg half a decade ago has the International School of Hamburg (ISH) in Germany undertaken a project as significant as the West Wing. After about one year of construction and over six months of event planning, ISH’s new West Wing is now officially open. On a bright and sunny day, close to 1,000 members of the current and former school community, diplomats, business partners, representatives of various authorities, journalists, and many others flocked to Hemmingstedter Weg to celebrate the joyous occasion. They were not only treated to delicious food courtesy of caterer Tafelspitz and entertained by clowns, magicians, and circus artists, but also to insightful speeches by ISH Chair of the Board of Directors Dr. Anke Frieling, ISH Head of School Andreas Swoboda, ISH Student Board President Vyvian Nguyen, First Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz, US Consul General Nancy Corbett, Airbus General Secretary Gunnar Gross, and Alternative Nobel Prize Founder and ISH Alumnus Jakob von Uexkull. The inaugural ceremony, expertly moderated by Secondary School Principal Andrew Cross, started with opening remarks by Dr. Frieling and Mr. Swoboda. Both emphasized the importance of the annex for the school’s future development and growth as it increases capacity by 200–250 to nearly 1,000 students in total–a welcome addition since the school has been expanding steadily over the years. The additional capacity also has a positive impact on the local business community, as it enables companies to attract much-needed qualified employees from abroad who want to come to Hamburg with their families. Not least, the West Wing allows for more differentiation in programs and classrooms, and creates room for additional pedagogic initiatives and new concepts of learning. Next Vyvian Nguyen took the stage and first expressed her gratitude that the student population was given an opportunity to speak at the event. She then welcomed the West Wing as a positive development for the school and a further improvement to the excellent international education it provides. After that, the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz confirmed that the existence of an international school is vital for the attractiveness of Hamburg as a business location. He also recognized the deeper values represented by ISH: Internationality, responsibility, and the joy of learning. With the new educational method of project-based learning, which the West Wing now provides the necessary room for, ISH is a world pioneer. At the end of his speech, Mayor Scholz addressed the students directly, encouraging them to value the great education they are receiving and to understand that it comes with great responsibility for others, for the community, and for society—no matter where they are. U.S. Consul General Nancy Corbett congratulated the school and the City of Hamburg. She said that, as a diplomat, she knows how important it is to be part of a supportive community far away from home. “The U.S. Consulate General has long appreciated ISH as an institution of learning that fosters intercultural understanding, and that connects Americans with Germans and with the larger international community.” Mr. Jakob von Uexkull, Founder of the Right Livelihood Awards and of the Hamburg-based World Future Council, concluded the ceremony with his keynote speech. Von Uexkull, who is an alumnus of ISH himself, talked very convincingly about global challenges presented by the climate change. According to him it is not too late to prevent a global disaster, widespread poverty, and disequilibria within and between societies—if we act now. His speech fit well into a school in which students are encouraged to think and research, rather than merely follow the curricula. After the festive inauguration the guests were treated to delectable food and great entertainment. In a separate reception event that took place in the new West Wing multi purpose room, 80+ alumni from all corners of the world and all decades of ISH’s history caught up and exchanged memories with current and former ISH staff.
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