International Baccalaureate students address global challenges in honour of programme’s 50th anniversary

In honour of the International Baccalaureate’s (IB) 50th anniversary this year, students from 153 countries, studying all four IB programmes came together and developed projects in an effort to tackle real-world problems in extraordinary ways. The initiative, coined #generationIB, gives students a platform to showcase their collaborative skills, innovative ideas and solutions to a global audience.

Students participated in the assignment unequivocally, refurbishing fragmented coastal habitats, offering research and solutions to health issues impacting local communities, and much more. Notable examples among the more than 300 submissions include:

• Students in India distributed medicine to parts of the country where access is limited.
• Maunalua Bay, Hawaii students worked together to protect and maintain endangered reefs.
• Students in Bosnia conducted research to defend their peers against fake news and misinformation campaigns.

“The idea of celebrating the 50th anniversary this way is great.” said Dzeneta Ajanic, a mathematics teacher at Druga Gimnazija Sarajevo, one of the IB World Schools in Bosnia. “The topics IB offered to students are so inspiring and applicable globally. It is our pleasure to work on this project.”

Notable IB alumni were asked to suggest challenges the world is currently facing, for students to tackle under the five themes: health, citizenship, education, environment and equality, all of which are at the core of many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Siva Kumari, Director General of the IB, said: “We want to show the world that IB students of all ages are equipped with creativity and skills in working together, and are utilising these talents to find solutions to some of society’s most pressing issues. The #generationIB projects showcase the sort of creative thinking, collaborative skills and intellectually curious approaches that mark an IB education.”

Celebrating on the global stage

This week, the IB will partner with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and theGlobal Schools Program Projects to showcase some of the #generationIB solutions to more than 1,500 participants from within and outside the IB community at the IB Global Conference in Vienna, taking place 4-6 October. The conference is designed to bring together educators, government ministers and academia, to celebrate and learn more about the IB’s education across the globe.

Director of the UN’s SDSN, Jeffrey Sachs, had this to say about IB’s global impact: “It’s one thing to announce a goal, it’s another thing to achieve it, and that’s where we need the IB to come in, and young people.” said Sachs. “[some of] these governments…are not really focused on the public good, so they have said “OK, we support these goals,” but they’re not necessarily working hard to achieve them.”

50 years of international education

50 years ago, the IB developed a movement for international education to bring young people together with the skills, values, and knowledge necessary to build a more peaceful future. Today, IB students and graduates in almost 5,000 schools in 153 countries employ their learning to make a real impact in communities, locally and globally.