The New International School of Thailand (NIST) became the world’s newest United Nations-related school when it opened in Bangkok in August 1992. As was the case with many other such schools, the parents of United Nations staff based in the capital were the main driving force behind it, although others in the international community also donated years of time and large amounts of money to get this school open under the aegis of the United Nations.
United Nations Day is devoted to making known to peoples of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations Organization. United Nations Day is part of United Nations Week, which runs from 20 to 26 October. As this week corresponds with the NIST October Break, NIST celebrated UN Day on Friday, October 19.
NIST Secondary Principal, Julian Edwards explains: “Our greatest strength at NIST is our diversity. None of us are exactly the same, and we don’t need to be. We represent over 50 nationalities and on Friday we celebrated that. Teachers and students were invited to wear their national dress, or clothes in their national colours to help celebrate UN Day. This was a chance to celebrate national or cultural identity.”
In addition to this, students took the opportunity to learn a little more about the UN and its work. NIST exists because of the UN and so the significance of this day has greater meaning for NIST as a school.
NIST is among the relatively few international schools worldwide that implement the International Baccalaureate Programme for every grade level. As was mentioned by the ESCAP Executive Secretary on the occasion of the school’s foundation in 1992: NIST “is an exciting new venture in international education of the highest quality. This is a truly international school – as distinct from a national expatriate school. What is taught, and the way in which it is taught, is designed to reflect the fundamental values of our global society. Through being United Nations related, the school is better able to project and maintain a consistent, uniform international perspective in all its teaching and activities.”