Sunday 06 November 2016

The Journey that Makes Us

The 2016 Conference celebrated 50 years of the Round Square movement, with 80 schools from around the world gathering at two locations – Louisenlund and Aiglon in Switzerland to explore the conference theme: ‘The Journey that Makes Us.’ The school was represented by nine students and supporting staff.

Highlighting the value of the ‘journey’ as a metaphor for life and learning, the group travelled first to Belfast in Northern Ireland where the group’s pre-conference tour was hosted by Rockport School. MLC Sydney and India’s Vivek High School joined the tour, allowing Ivanhoe staff and students to form strong friendship bonds with delegates from those other schools.

Tour highlights included a visit to Stormont – Northern Ireland’s Parliament, City Hall, Crumlin Road Gaol and the powerfully evocative murals depicting the Troubles that so scar the city. It wasn’t all serious though, with the tour also taking in the world-renowned Titanic Museum which has been voted one of Europe’s leading attractions as well as a visit to the Giant’s Causeway and the National Trust-listed Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Rounding out the Belfast leg of the tour was a trip to one of the locations used for the filming of Game of Thrones and a dinner hosted by Rockport School Headmaster George Vance, featuring locally sourced, sustainable produce and plenty of ‘craic’.

Throughout the conference guest speakers continually challenged the students to think about their journey, resilience and passion for life. Among the speakers, delegates heard from polar explorer Ben Saunders, Professor Dr Manfred Spitzer, a neurologist who produced data to argue that multitasking is not an effective learning tool. Souad Mekhennet, a German journalist who worked for the Washington Post and New York Times, received a standing ovation for her retelling of a number of stories about the amazing challenges and encounters she has had being a Muslim woman covering war zones and confronting organisations such as the Taliban and ISIS during the course of her work. All speakers left a lasting impression on attendees.

Round Square President His Majesty King Constantine was in attendance and Ivanhoe student Alice Wilson was fortunate to meet the former King of Greece when she represented the school at a special lunch for delegates.

While the students broke off into Barazza groups to continue their individual journeys and to contribute to the collective journey of all those in attendance Ms Deguara and Ms McFadden attended a number of meetings to share what Ivanhoe does in relation to the implementation of the Round Square Discovery Framework at the school.

The 50th Anniversary Round Square International Conference was a tremendous opportunity to engage with Round Square schools from across the globe and to share our strengths and achievements as we look to further incorporate global perspectives and the Round Square IDEALS into our curriculum and programs.