As part of our vision at Leysin American School in Switzerland, we strive to embrace a diverse Global Family here in our Alpine village. By nature, our international boarding school environment has a diverse student body with people from all over the world. However, a diverse community is not necessarily inclusive unless, as a school, we make an effort to embrace everyone and educate ourselves and others about the importance of acceptance. This is a priority at our school, and we do this through workshops run by experts, hiring a diverse faculty, and allowing our students to learn and be exposed to people from all different walks of life.
Last year, we welcomed an extensive range of visiting scholars from all over the world to talk to faculty and students about their fields of expertise. This year we welcomed alumni Kymani Montgomery ‘12, who now works as Programs Manager of the Ten Oaks Project in Ottawa, Canada. Kymani strives to empower institutions to become more inclusive for children, teenagers, faculty, and staff who are members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
Having an expert in this field that has first-hand knowledge, has personally experienced discrimination, and has used their platform to educate others has been of great value to our community and has allowed us to gain insight into these very relevant issues. Not only did Kymani conduct workshops with our students, but he also talked to our staff members about the importance of creating safe and inclusive environments for young people. Going forward, this new knowledge has allowed us to further our awareness of inclusivity and promote this throughout our school.
Furthermore, diversity in terms of ethnicity, religion, and nationality is promoted through our efforts to recruit students from all over the world. This is the case for both our student body and faculty community. Our robust admissions team travels each year to different areas of the world to ensure that our student population is as diverse as possible. However, diversity in terms of nationality is only one element that we consider in our admissions plan. Nearly 40% of our students benefit from financial aid, ensuring that we have diversity of not only nationality, but also socio-economic status. This is important to us as a school, as it allows everyone in our community to learn more about the world around them and embrace people from different backgrounds to their own.
Diversity of cultures is further promoted through annual activities such as International Week and Mother Language Day. During these events, we encourage students and staff to take pride in their cultural traditions and languages. With over 50 nationalities represented in our community, it’s important we celebrate each other and learn about the varied world around us. In honor of International Week this year, LAS hosted many fun activities to help students get into the spirit and represent their countries. This included a flag parade, a country quiz, and many sports tournaments!
Here at LAS, we are committed to the work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ), not only in the foundation of our organization, but also through events that encourage our community to accept themselves and others, allowing us to create well-rounded, empathetic, understanding, and innovative students. We can’t wait to welcome more visiting scholars onto campus in the future and organize more events that allow our community to celebrate its diversity!