UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, once stated, “…We are all members of one human family”. At present, our family is sailing through rough waters. European economies and societies are struggling and the financial crisis is exacerbating poverty and inequality. Although several mid-Eastern and Northern African countries have made great strides towards democracy, people there are still fighting for their humanity and the countries haven’t regained substantial stability. In spite of real progress in women’s rights around the globe the bedrock problems that have dogged women for centuries remain. Even in wealthy countries, there are women who are unprotected and under attack. Racial prejudice, shunning and social rejection, hatred and intolerance still prevail, making us wonder whether Martin Luther King’s dream will ever come true.
However, educational programs encouraging students to be lifelong learners, open-minded inquirers, reflective thinkers, principled and caring citizens of the world, knowledgeable and accountable risk-takers have the power to make a better and more peaceful world. We aim to prepare students for life in a globalized 21st century and we encourage them to step outside their world. Ardevaz philosophy is based on the premise that the support, guidance, and encouragement we provide to our students are a foundation upon which intercultural understanding and respect are built.
In order to offer a well-rounded education, we have designed several activities to make our student population more aware of global issues, broaden their worldview, build intercultural understanding, explore diversity and promote harmony.
1. Ardevaz Foundation
At Ardevaz we believe that there’s no point in learning if we are not bettering the world. With this in mind, we have created Ardevaz Foundation whose aim is to sponsor underprivileged students in the south of Burma. To that end, we have built a library and we offer educational programs in one of the poorest countries in the world.
We plan to involve our student population in developing fundraising activities and hope to organize a field trip to enable some of our most motivated students to lend a helping hand. We are convinced that such a project will provide an experience of shared responsibility and leave a lasting impression on both parties.
A program of money-raising activities is planned to help finance the foundation. These projects involve students and friends of the school and, hopefully, stimulate an awareness and consciousness of the problems and difficulties of people less privileged than ourselves.
Ardevaz College believes in providing a high quality Swiss education to all the members of its diverse student body, regardless of their national origins, cultures, social backgrounds or personal objectives.
To help with their adjustment, special attention is proffered to our non-French speaking foreign students in the form of an adapted schedule offering a mixture of core academic subjects and additional language lessons. This quickly brings them to the level of their peers
Our aim is to give these students the opportunity for stress free total immersion in our school, our local community and the Swiss system, enabling them to make friends and enjoy the complete experience of daily life in a different country. Students are also actively encouraged to join local art, dance, music and sports associations.
During our annual school outings, SLS students are asked to bring a little bit of their homeland in the shape of traditional foods. These gatherings always lead to intercultural curiosity and understanding.
3. The Red Cross
We have started a project in which political refugees sent by the Red Cross are welcomed to Ardevaz in order to better their French. Whenever possible, we try to invite representatives of this organization and political refugees to take part in our Hardtalk debates.
Inspired by the BBC World television program, we would like to invite community leaders and NGO representatives (Valais Solitaire, Soroptimists, the Red Cross, Zonta, La Chaine du Bonheur and others) to take part in debates with our students on global issues.
5. Foreign Exchange Programs
We are in the process of setting up foreign student exchange programs so as to give our students the opportunity to discover other cultures in an academic setting, broaden their horizons and provide them with global perspectives.
6. Ardevaz Posters Commitment to Cultural Diversity
All our school posters and pictures promote a message of support for cultural diversity and are good illustrations that “every being has the right to culture, including the right to enjoy and develop cultural life and identity. Cultural rights, however, are not unlimited. The right to culture is limited at the point at which it infringes on another human right. No right can be used at the expense or destruction of another, in accordance with international law.” (UN)
7. United Nation’s Human Rights Day
Ardevaz School is planning to celebrate the UN’s Human Rights Day on 10 December because we believe that schools have the obligation to contribute to the creation of a widespread human rights culture through education and information.