Flashback Friday: ISB International Day

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By Angel Jin, ISB Communications

Published on Friday, September 22, 2023

This article is part of a series highlighting ISB’s history of excellence. The school has been providing challenging and joyful learning since 1980. Flashback Friday profiles some of the traditions and memorable moments that ISB continues to build upon today.

International Day is ISB’s very own Expo… a showcase of continents, countries, and cultures represented by our ISB families. This day provides a fun-filled way for students and the whole community to respect and celebrate ISB’s diversity through cultural performances, activities, and food tasting. As is tradition, the celebrations will start with a parade of all our students, faculty, and staff, many will be wearing clothing representing their countries or cultures. Following the parade, students, parents, and staff will get to browse the showcases and enjoy various cultural entertainment. There are roughly 60 countries and regions represented in our student, parent, staff and faculty body, so this is going be a big festival of global citizenship!

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In the mid-1990s, International Day was called UN Day, the name was changed to International Day in 2004. Historically, UN Day was one of the biggest events on campus. It was a popular event known in Beijing with over several thousand people in attendance. With Beijing being such an international city then, and even more so now, many ambassadors came and visited ISB on UN Day. As this is the first time in 4 years that we get to have a full-fledged International Day, we are hoping to bring back some of these old traditions. This year, we will be inviting guest speaker Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator of China to give a keynote address.

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Since its inception, whether known as UN Day or International Day, the day has been a time for students and staff to extol their home countries – wearing traditional clothing, organizing cultural displays, and participating in fun activities like creating their own countries’ flags. Other features of the day that are continued today are sharing traditional or common activities from your country. The event has such a long and rich history here at school, and after a 4 year break due to the pandemic, the whole community is buzzing with anticipation for an International Day that incorporates both old and new traditions.


School wide events like International Day are so important to us because we value getting together and community building. This all aligns with our efforts to build strong, lifelong peer relationships across national, linguistic, and cultural lines in our inclusive community. With the tradition and success of International Day, it’s easy to see how ISB is the oldest, largest, and also best international school in the capital city. So, we encourage all ISB community members including parents, students, and staff to join us on International Day on October 13 in celebration of all the diversity found at ISB.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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