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26. Jeremy Lack (LGB 1984)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi 22 septembre 2014
Jeremy Lack1. How long did you spend at Ecolint?
Thirteen years.

2. How did you come to attend Ecolint in the first place?
My father was a human rights lawyer and my parents moved to Geneva for an NGO he worked with. They decided they wanted their children to have an international education that would encourage a tolerant and open mindset. Article 4 of Ecolint's Charter embodied all of the values my parents were seeking. My brother (Gideon) was the first to attend in 1964, followed by my sister (Dinah) in 1968.  My father joined the school’s board of directors, and by the time I was ready to go to school (in 1971), there was no question of my going anywhere but Ecolint.

3. Which teacher had the biggest impact on you and how?
There have been so many exceptional and wonderful teachers at Ecolint that it would be unfair to single any out. I remember each and every one of my teachers from first grade (Mrs. Stump) all the way through to grade thirteen (Mr. Hamayed, Mr. Anthony, Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Vivian, Mr. Philips, Mr. McArdle, Mrs. Williamson). They included some unforgettable characters along the way, such as Mrs. Lagnardo, Ms. Craggs, Mrs. Rushton, Mme Bonhomme, Mrs. Love, Mr. Leach, Mrs. Knight, Mr. Brown, Mr. Bonan, Mr. Bassam, Mr. Billington, Mr. Kukorelly – too many to mention in detail. There were also many members of staff or teachers who never taught me, but who were there to support all of us, from Mrs. Jarrell in the book room, to Mr. Thomas in the administration and guidance, Mrs. Whitehurst in the nursery, Mr. Villars and Mr. Lunt in the Chemistry lab, Collette … Every one of them had an impact on me (even my sports teachers, Messrs. Jennings, Garstang and Kerswell, who never gave up on me despite my complete lack of any athletic aptitude).  As for the rare teachers I did not get along with, who were fortunately few and very far between (2 in total, over 13 years), I also remember them today with mixed feelings but also with gratitude. They taught me how to deal with difficult people and moments of injustice, the power of friends, other teachers and mentors who I could go to for solace and guidance. Many of them gave tremendous amounts of their time and energy outside of school hours for free, for drama, music, sports, debating, SUN, science competitions, travel, skiing and canoe trips.  I will never forget their commitment or dedication to the school and the children. We did some truly challenging and impressive projects, with a lot of creativity and fun.

4. What was your favourite spot on campus and why?
There was a different “favourite spot” on each campus, as in those days primary school was at La Gradelle, and the Middle School building was brand new when I moved to the LGB campus and we had limited access to the rest of the school.  At LGB, my favourites included the Greek Theatre, the Theatre Workshop, the bottom of the big sports field, in the woods, and the Green Door. They were places to go and hang out with friends during the morning and lunch breaks.

5. What was your favourite place in the wider region, and why?
Being by the lake, the Plage de Genève, walking and swimming around the Perle du Lac (where my brother drove one of the motor boats for the waterskiing school), cycling around Vandoeuvres, Choulex, Lully, Jussy, etc. or going up to the mountains for skiing and seeing the breathtaking views you can see from many places nearby.

6. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
My wife and I moved (back, in my case) to Geneva in 1998, primarily because of Ecolint. We wanted to offer our daughters the same opportunities that I had growing up. Our eldest finished her IB last year and is now at UCL in London. Our youngest is in the ever-increasingly stressful throes of completing her IB this year. I work as an independent technology lawyer and international mediator, specialised in preventing and resolving cross-border and intercultural disputes. For my sins, I am also now serve on the Board (currently, my 6th year).

7. What should be Ecolint's top priority as it approaches its 100th anniversary?
My sense is that we need to stabilize its revenue streams so that we can guarantee it will still be around for another century, continuing to provide thought-leadership and innovation in international and intercultural education, which is inclusive, non-selective and takes a child-centred pedagogical approach, as it has always done.

8. What "words of wisdom" would you pass on to today's Ecolint students?
Ecolint is a rare and privileged opportunity to become engaged and sensitised to think as a global citizen, even if you never leave Geneva the whole time you are here. There is an incredible throughput of people from all over the world, and from many walks of life. Try to think of what you learn from each of your friends and the people you encounter - and not only your teachers. Many of them may have very different understandings or perspectives of situations you care deeply about (such as peace in the Middle East). Try to understand their perspectives and learn to become friends beyond the differences that would otherwise divide you.

9. What has been the biggest impact of your Ecolint education on your life?
As I look back, I realise that I did not appreciate the greatest impact Ecolint had on my life while I was there. It taught me to think critically and independently, but most importantly, it taught me to work cross-culturally. My main lessons were the invisible ones I learned every day in the classroom, be it from the new student from Japan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Thailand, Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan or India. I remember students from Lebanon during the 1980s civil war, who lived in the boarding house that existed at that time at LGB. Although their parents were fighting one-another at home, their children became close friends while at Ecolint. I learned to appreciate other religions and cultures, while accepting and being comfortable with my own heritage, which was often completely different from theirs.

 


 

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