A school in the suburb of Antwerp requested an all-encompassing project to bring its students of very heterogenous backgrounds closer to each other. This resulted in Multipride: an extracurricular program spanning two years that had parents, students and teachers participate in various lectures, workshops and a theater play as the cherry on the cake. The change in cohesion was scientifically measured through surveys that were administered before and after the project.
Multipride Project – DYP International School united in cultural diversity
by Dr Dehlia Schirmer & Dr Edmond Maher
‘Dream, Achieve, Celebrate, Unite’
To unite is the closing statement of our school’s guiding statements ‘Dream, Achieve, Celebrate, Unite’. As an International School it is our ongoing aim to keep unity despite the diverse background of our students. We want our students to grasp what diversity means and to understand its beauty.
As a starting point we specialized in global learning and citizenship. To take our aim even further, we decided for a pro-active approach and engaged Integra to develop more ideas for us to build and maintain cultural integration. Already three years in a row all our students experience the spirit of unity by participating in a school play: Journey of the Pride, SOS Antarctica and this year’s “The last resort”. By doing so we celebrate our diversity in all its aspects as a value, not a challenge. The entire school follows this approach from two angles
1. Help our students to understand areas of diversity to develop appreciation and respect of others being different
2. Celebrate diversity to unite
The American philosopher Henry David Thoreau said once, that “It is never too late to give up your prejudices” – But we as an International School with students from all over the world believe, that it is even better, when our students don’t develop prejudices against any aspect of diversity in human life at all.
Three years after starting with the ‘Multipride Project”, we are sure that this is the right approach. This year’s school community survey proves our conviction:
About 90 % of ours students agree,that “The school’s Mission includes respect for diversity and the development of global understanding”. It was understood by 79 % that the school’s Mission, Vision, and Values guide the school in its decision-making.
Also the teaching in the classroom is connected with our approach:
74 % of our students say, that local language and culture are used to enhance their learning. (about 74%). About 81 % agree, that in their classes, they learn about cultures different to their own and 77 % feel encouraged, to share about their ethnic/cultural heritage.
The lasting impact of what we are doing is, what keeps us going!
Integra is a psychotherapeutic practice in Antwerp (Belgium).
We offer psychological help to people who feel stuck in their lives:
not being able to get ahead, not seeing any way out, not being capable of functioning anymore, …