International School of Geneva

The International School of Geneva (in French: Ecole Internationale de Genève), also known as "Ecolint" or "The International School", is a private, non-profit international school based in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • International School of Geneva
  • Ecole Internationale de Genève
Ecolint logo.png

TypeDay School
Director-GeneralDr David Hawley
Color(s)Navy Blue and White   
  • Volleyball
  • Rugby
  • Football
  • Skiing
  • Basketball
  • Track and Field
  • Netball
  • Table Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Tennis

Founded in 1924 in the service of the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization (the world's first international organizations), it is the oldest international school in the world, and the largest one with 'international' in its name.[1][2][3] It was the result of a partnership between parents (Arthur Sweetser and Ludwik Rajchman) and educators from the Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Adolphe Ferrière and Paul Meyhoffer).[4] In the mid-1960s, a group of teachers from Ecolint (La Grande Boissière campus) created the International Schools Examinations Syndicate (ISES), which later became the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and then the International Baccalaureate (IB).[5] Since its inception, the school's mission was conceived as educating for peace and the inculcation of humanitarian values such as inclusiveness, respect and inter-cultural understanding. It describes itself in its website as "resolutely not-for-profit; mankind is the only beneficiary of our work, not corporate shareholders or private equity firms."[6] In 2017, it was labelled by ITN as "the most diverse school on the planet."[7]

Article 4 of Ecolint's Charter states that "the activity of the school in all fields and especially in the field of pedagogy shall be based on the principles of equality and solidarity among all peoples and of the equal value of all human beings without any distinction of nationality, race, sex, language or religion."[8]

Ecolint comprises three campuses in and around Geneva, each with its own principal (also known as "director") working under the Director General of the Foundation of the International School of Geneva (currently Dr David Hawley) and a Governing Board elected by parents, staff and alumni with co-opted members from the UN and Swiss Government.[9] Ecolint is a bilingual school, with instruction primarily in English and French. In addition to the IB, it is a testing centre for the US college boards (SAT and ACT), the British IGCSE (CIE)[9] and the Swiss Maturité fédérale.[10][dubious ]

Ecolint is a member of the G30 Schools Group.[11]


The history of Ecolint has been charted in four volumes published in different decades. The first, bilingual one (Ecole Internationale de Genève - Son premier demi-siècle / International School of Geneva - the first 50 years, Geneva: 1974, 311 pages), edited by René Lejeune[12][circular reference] (better known as René-François Lejeune), compiles the contributions and eyewitness accounts of various authors, including the historian Robert J. Leach and Ecolint's second director, Marie-Thérèse Maurette. The second one (Ecolint - A portrait of the International School of Geneva, 1924-1999, Geneva: 1999, 218 pages) was written by the historian Michael Knight. The third volume (Marie-Thérèse Maurette - Pioneer of International Education, Geneva: 2009, 84 pages), which focuses specifically on the director who headed the school between 1929 and 1949, was authored by Professor George Walker, former Director General of Ecolint and of the International Baccalaureate Organization. The fourth and final volume to date (Ecolint - A History of the International School of Geneva, Geneva: 2014, 170 pages) is the joint work of educators Conan de Wilde (an alumnus of the school) and Othman Hamayed (a former director of La Grande Boissière's Secondary School).[13] In addition, Robert J. Leach[14][15][16][17] published privately in 1974 his own account of the school’s history, International School of Geneva, 1924-1974 (63 pages). Most recently, the geographer and economist Phil Thomas, who served as interim Director General and held a wide range of teaching positions in the school during his 35-year Ecolint career, published the booklet Ecolint and the Origins of the International Baccalaureate in 2018.[18] (These works constitute the source for some of the information provided below.)

From 1920 to 1921 the League of Nations and the International Labour Office established their headquarters in Geneva. In 1924 the International School of Geneva was founded by senior members of these two international organizations, most notably Arthur Sweetser[19][20] and Ludwik Rajchman,[21][22] in partnership with Adolphe Ferrière and Paul Meyhoffer, educators from Geneva's Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau.[9][23] Meyhoffer, originally trained as a theologian, had previously taught at Bedales School in England and, for eight years, at the Ecole Nouvelle de la Châtaigneraie (also known as Ecole Nouvelle du Léman), which in 1974 was integrated into Ecolint.[24]

Ferrière housed the first class in a chalet that was part of his family's estate, on the Route de Florissant in Geneva. He was also technical adviser to the school from 1924 to 1926. The nascent school was supported by William Rappard, Rector of the University of Geneva, the neurologist and child psychologist Édouard Claparède,[25] and Sir Arthur Salter, a senior official of the League of Nations. After occupying rented accommodation on the Rue Charles Bonnet in Geneva's Vieille ville (Old Town), the school finally acquired its own premises in 1929: a historic site known as La Grande Boissière.[26] The acquisition of this large property was made financially possible by Arthur Sweetser, who personally gave the school thousands of dollars and sought contributions from his network of affluent acquaintances. These donations included 25,000 U.S. dollars from John D. Rockefeller Jr.[27]

Among Ecolint’s notable teachers during the early decades of its existence were Paul Dupuy, formerly doyen (dean) at Paris’ Ecole normale supérieure and defender of Alfred Dreyfus in the late 1890s; the psychoanalyst Charles Baudouin; the philosopher Jeanne Hersch; and the novelist Michel Butor.

The school became a Foundation in 1968, and continued to evolve as it acquired new campuses. In 1974 it incorporated as its second campus La Châtaigneraie (also called "La Chât"), which had originally been founded in 1908 as the Ecole Nouvelle du Léman (later known as Collège Protestant Romand) near Founex in the Canton of Vaud.

The third campus, Campus des Nations, had two beginnings. The first was in the 1940s with Rigot, which subsequently became Pregny-Rigot, and the second in 2005 with the closure of Rigot and the opening of the purpose-made buildings at Saconnex. The Pregny-Rigot campus was a pre-Kindergarten through year 6 school that adopted the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program in 2002. This campus had two buildings, Rigot (an old Swiss farmhouse near the Place des Nations), and Pregny, a modern architectural structure, adjacent to the United Nations' premises and close to the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2005, Pregny-Rigot shifted with the opening of a new building at Saconnex, near the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization. The early childhood classes at Rigot were moved to a renovated Pregny and Rigot was returned to the city of Geneva. Years 3-6 were moved from Pregny to the new building, Saconnex, which also opened a secondary school. The Secondary school offers the IB's Middle Years Programme, the IB Diploma and the IB Career-Related Programme (IBCP).

Languages offeredEdit

Ecolint offers its core curriculum in English and French to varying degrees, depending on the campus and section.

Ecolint offers additional modern languages such as Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin as part of its curriculum. Arabic, Dutch, Finnish, Japanese, Norwegian, Swahili, Swedish and many other languages are available via private tuition but can be counted towards credits or as IB programmes; this route is often chosen by students who have little other opportunity formally to study their mother tongue.


La Grande Boissière (also called "LGB") is the oldest and largest of the three. The primary school (beginning from age three) has approximately 550 students, and runs through grade 4. The middle school also has about 550 students, and runs from grade 5 to grade 8. The secondary school has around 800 students, beginning with 9th grade and going to grade 12 or 13. All three stages offer bilingual programmes. The Primary School Principal is Mr Duff Gyr, the Middle School Principal is Ms Shona Wright and the Campus and Secondary School Principal is Dr Conrad Hughes.[citation needed][28] (46°11′55″N 6°10′21″E / 46.19861°N 6.17250°E / 46.19861; 6.17250)

La Châtaigneraie (also called "La Chât") became part of Ecolint in 1971 and is located in the Vaud countryside, near Founex, overlooking the Alps and Lake Léman. It has a primary and a secondary school, and has approximately 1600 students. The oldest building on campus is the main secondary building which was completed in 1908, when La Châtaigneraie first opened. The Primary School Principal is Mrs Jennifer Armstrong and Campus and Secondary School Principal is Mrs Alexandra Conchard.[citation needed] (46°20′23″N 6°10′18″E / 46.33972°N 6.17167°E / 46.33972; 6.17167)

Campus des Nations, (also simply called "Nations") opened in 2005 and operates on two locations in and in the vicinity of Grand Saconnex. It has around 1000 students. Campus des Nations is the only campus to offer all four IB programmes (PYP, MYP, IBDP and IBCP). The Early Years (Pregny) Principal is Ms Isla Gordon, the Primary School Principal is Ms Christelle Lonez and the Secondary School Principal is Mr Jamie Williams:[citation needed]



International School of Geneva's (upper) secondary education (Middle and High School) is not approved as a Mittelschule/Collège/Liceo by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).[29]


Ecolint's various programmes are accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the Middle States Association (MSA).[30][31] The last full accreditation was conducted in 2011, with an interim assessment in 2016.[citation needed]

Ecolint has satisfied the authorization procedures of the International Baccalaureate (IB) to offer the PYP, MYP, IBDP, and IBCP.[32]

Campus La Châtaigneraie is an approved Cambridge Assessment school, offering IGCSEs.


The Governing Board appoints the Director General to which the latter is accountable. All alumni, current parents, teachers and other employees may vote in the Governing Board elections and may be elected as members. Three seats are permanently reserved for members appointed by the Cantons of Geneva and Vaud, and by the United Nations. The school’s personnel are represented on the Board by three appointed or elected observers (one from each campus), and the Staff Association has the right to nominate for full membership someone who is not a current employee of the school.[8] Parents typically constitute a majority on the Governing Board.[33] Kofi Annan was a member of the Board from 1981 to 1983.[34] Ecolint’s governance was inspired by the direct democratic mechanisms of Switzerland. The Governing Board is accountable to all community members (parents, personnel and alumni) at the annual Consultative General Assembly and, when convened by members of the Ecolint community, at Extraordinary Consultative General Assemblies.[8] In February 2002, one of these assemblies, held at the United Nations, was attended by some 1,000 people.[35] It gave rise to a no-confidence referendum in June of that year involving all the school's eligible voters, the outcome of which forced the resignation of both the Governing Board’s Executive Committee and of the Director General.[36]

Directors & Directors GeneralEdit

Directors (Pre-Foundation)Edit

1) Paul Meyhoffer (1924-1928)

2) Paul Miroglio (Interim – 1928-1929)

3) Marie-Thérèse Maurette (1929-1949)

4) Fred Roquette (1949-1964)

5) Desmond Cole-Baker (English Language Programme) & Jean Meyer (French Language Programme)(1964-1967)

Directors General (Foundation)Edit

6) Irving Berenson (1967-1968)

7) Asme Nawar (Interim – 1968)

8) René-François Lejeune (1968-1978)[12][circular reference][37]

9) Alden Lank (1978-1980)

10) Leo Fernig (1980-1981)

11) Joseph Blaney (1981-1983)

12) Philip Thomas (Interim – 1983)

13) Jan Ter Weele (1983-1986)

14) Foundation Management Team (Interim – 1986-1987)

15) Bernard Ivaldi (1987-1991)

16) George Walker (1991-1999)[38]

17) Jean-Jacques Streuli (Interim – 1999-2000)

18) Donald Billingsley (2000-2002)

19) Council of Directors & Jean-Jacques Streuli (Interim – 2002-2003)

20) Nicholas Tate (2003-2011)[39]

21) Vicky Tuck (2011-2017)

22) David Hawley (2017- )

Notable AlumniEdit

The Charter of the International School of Geneva gives all registered alumni the right to vote in the elections for the school's Governing Board, and to be elected as Governing Board members.[8]


Science and MedicineEdit

Visual and Performing ArtsEdit




  • Harry Albright - Journalist and former Editor of The Friend.
  • Rami G. Khouri - Journalist, director of the Issam Fares Institute at the American University of Beirut, editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star and co-laureate of the 2006 Pax Christi International Peace Award.[44][64]
  • Eric Margolis - U.S.-born, international journalist.


Academia and ScholarshipEdit


As of 2015, around 6600 former students were registered on the School's Alumni website.[70]



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  4. ^ Ecole Internationale de Genève - Son premier demi-siècle / International School of Geneva - the first 50 years, Geneva: 1974, 311 pages, edited by René-François Lejeune
  5. ^ Elisabeth Fox (2001). "The Emergence of the International Baccalaureate as an Impetus to Curriculum Reform". In Mary Hayden; Jeff Thompson (eds.). International Education: Principles and Practice (2nd ed.). Routledge. p. 141. ISBN 9780749436162.
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  11. ^ "G30 Schools - A gathering of interesting and like-minded school heads". G30 Schools. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
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  24. ^ René-François Lejeune (editor), Ecole Internationale de Genève - Son premier demi-siècle / International School of Geneva - the first 50 years, Geneva: 1974, page 14
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  26. ^
  27. ^ Othman Hamayed and Conan de Wilde, Ecolint - A History of the International School of Geneva, Geneva: 2014, ISBN 978-2-8399-1196-2, page 25
  28. ^ "La Grande Boissière". Ecolint | International School of Geneva. 2016-03-20. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  29. ^ "Maturität - Maturité - Maturità" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Federal State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, SERI. 1 March 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  30. ^ "International School of Geneva: Campus des Nations". The Good Schools Guide. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  31. ^ "school profile nations 2014-2015" (PDF).
  32. ^ "International School of Geneva - Campus des Nations". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
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  34. ^
  35. ^ Tribune de Genève, 28/02/2002, "L'Ecole Internationale a crevé l'abcès: la communauté désavoue la direction"
  36. ^ Othman Hamayed and Conan de Wilde, Ecolint - A History of the International School of Geneva, Geneva: 2014, ISBN 978-2-8399-1196-2, page 154
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  40. ^, page 16
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  44. ^ a b "Search Results - Ecolint Alumni Office". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  45. ^ "Adobe Web Photo Gallery". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
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  47. ^ "Souvenirs and vignettes of my Ecolint stay (1939-47) - Ecolint Alumni Office". Retrieved 26 January 2019.
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  51. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-06-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  56. ^ de:Stuart Schulberg
  57. ^ "Vital Theatre Company". Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  58. ^ Interview in Télétop Matin magazine (Switzerland), 21 September 2014
  59. ^ "Ecolint Alumni: Maya Stojan". International School of Geneva. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
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  64. ^ "Rami G. Khouri". Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  65. ^ "Riad al Khouri Visiting Scholar, Middle East Center Carnegie Endowment for International Peace". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
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  70. ^ "Visualising our community: ALUMNOGRAPHIC 2015". Retrieved 2021-02-24.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 46°11′55″N 6°10′21″E / 46.19861°N 6.17250°E / 46.19861; 6.17250