Democracy In Action!

Thursday, 02. February 2017

by Emily Strahler
Pictures here

When you attend school in a village in the Swiss Alps, it can be hard to stay connected with what’s happening in the rest of the world. So on Monday, January 30, students were given an opportunity to discuss the pressing global issue of democracy in an event called ‘Democracy In Action!’ Rather than attending normal morning courses, some students signed up for faculty-organized workshops that focused on a wide range of topics. A small sampling of workshop themes follows here:

In ‘Fake News: Democracy in the Age of the Internet,’ students learned tips for spotting fake news stories and discussed how the rise of the internet has impacted the way we get information. Students left the workshop with a drive to keep themselves informed and to look for reliable sources. As one student commented, we have to ‘question everything.’

Another workshop titled ‘Paul Geheeb and the Rise of the Nazi Party’ focused on democracy in the early history of the Ecole. Students read texts from Geheeb and explored the early democratic ideals that led to the school’s founding. They looked at how these ideals have evolved over time and how they compare to the school community we have today.

In ‘Democracy Needs Women’s Voices,’ a group of young women gathered to discuss the importance of women’s voices in a democracy. They talked about the power dynamics that tend to perpetuate male dominance and the roles they can play in breaking the cycle. As the discussion leader, Sarah encouraged them to find their own voices and begin speaking up now.

Whether looking at democracy in the whole world or just in our Ecole world, students in these workshops were pushed to think about their role as global citizens. In addition, the whole community came together at Andacht to talk about similar themes in a presentation on the Women’s March. Students first learned about the message behind the Women’s March and sister marches that occurred on January 21. Then a current freshman student at American University in Washington, D.C. joined the conversation via Skype. She shared her personal experience at the March and answered questions from the community.

Though we could only begin to explore ideas during ‘Democracy in Action!’ and the Women’s March Andacht, these experiences opened the door to important conversations that will continue in the days and years ahead.