"United in Diversity" - The ESM's Europe Week 2023
The annual "Europe Week" is a highlight in our school's calendar of events. It traditionally takes place around Europe Day, the day of the Schuman Declaration, which is the cornerstone of today's European Union. The "Europe Week" is a living symbol of the ESM's orientation towards the diverse, dynamic "House of Europe", which is unique in the German educational landscape. In these troubled times, when confrontation and aggression shape world events, we emphasise the European spirit of cooperation and exchange in the actions and projects of "Europe Week". "Europe" always plays a leading role in ESM lessons, but during this week the "unity in diversity" that is Europe takes centre stage even more than usual.In this sense, the diverse programme items dealt both with the different European identities and with the global challenges of our time, which require cooperation across national borders.
This year, Europe Week began on 4 May with a Europe Ball tournament of our P5 in the primary school and the opening of the exhibition "European Hours" of the P4/P5, which featured student work on various topics.
The official opening was a ceremony on 5 May. Guest of honour was Dubravka Šuica, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Democracy and Demography. Mrs Šuica exchanged views with our Director Anton Hrovath and the Director of the Kindergarten and Primary School, Alexia Giannakopoulou, about the special features and unique characteristics of the European School Munich. She also visited our state-of-the-art school library, which simultaneously offered an open day for parents, and our "European Hours" exhibition. During the ceremony, Dubravka Šuica described the European Schools in her welcoming speech as institutions that preserve and promote the diversity of European identities in a special way and provide a multilingual education of the highest quality for their students. She also answered questions from our primary school students, e.g. about children's rights in Europe. Dubravka Šuica was enthusiastic about our school and the commitment of our students and teachers: "This was ten times better than any meeting I have had - because you can see the children walk the talk - and live Europe". The ceremony was rounded off by our traditional flag dance, a highlight as always! Interested parents also had the opportunity to experience our primary school "live" during an open day.
On Monday, 8.5, we continued with our big "charity run" in support of the school's own outreach programme, which helps various charitable causes. Students, teachers and parents from GS and HS could participate and collect laps, which were then converted into monetary donations by sponsors. In this way, 10,000 euros have been collected so far. A great achievement. Thank you to everyone who participated!
On 9 May, the Europe Festival took place in the kindergarten. Our youngest children, together with their carers, had come up with a great programme. In the morning, parents had the opportunity to get to know our secondary school at an open day, which was followed by our flag dance. Afterwards, two symposia provided insights into current political and social issues.
The first, organised by the S6, was on the topic of "What does Gender Equality mean to you?". Ms Roberta Romano-Götsch, Chief Sustainability Officer at the European Patent Office, gave a knowledgeable presentation on the current state of gender equality in everyday work, especially in the male domains of STEM professions and technology-oriented research and development, but also in the EPO itself. She also focused in particular on gender equality which is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), namely Goal 5 aiming at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The UN SDGs were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The students were invited to an active exchange on the extent to which ending all discrimination against women and girls is not only a fundamental human right but also crucial for a sustainable future. Ms Romano-Götsch illustrated that the empowerment of women and girls contributes to economic growth and development and that remarkable progress has been made in the last 20 years.
Ms Cosima Baron Fernandez de Cordoba from the European Parliament's Liaison Office in Munich described the EU's commitment to ensuring gender equality in the workplace. She also emphasised that students have direct opportunities to influence political and social processes, which they should take advantage of: for example, by taking part in the European elections in 2024. This opens up concrete opportunities to help shape Europe and democracy. Finally, students had the opportunity to ask questions, e.g. about the sense of quota regulations.
In our second symposium, planned by the S5, Father Stefan Stöhr, provincial economist of the Salesians of Don Bosco in Munich, explained the diverse activities and aid offers of his order in Germany, but especially in Ukraine. How is the aid organised there, what offers do the Salesians have for the people suffering from the war in Ukraine? Here, European solidarity became tangible for everyone!
In the afternoon, there was a colourful programme with a fantastic upcycling fashion show - the student and teacher models wore exclusively recycled, self-made pieces -, an upcycling bazaar, an art exhibition and various theatre performances. It was impressive to see the creativity and commitment with which our students prepared and carried out the various activities. Chapeau! The day ended with a benefit concert by our teacher band "School Brothers" and a snack sale in aid of the Outreach Programme.
On Wednesday, 10 May, our SWALS students (students without a language section) gave various presentations showing how the cultural heritage of Europe is reflected in the fairy tales and folk stories of each country. The great project "Exploring our cultural heritage through fairy tales and folk tales" sharpened the view of the important contribution also of the "smaller" European countries to the cultural heritage of Europe.
Afterwards, the programme continued with a talent show, a concert by our big band, dancing and "language games". Those who got hungry could strengthen themselves with a very successful pizza sale for the benefit of the Outreach Programme.
In the evening there were two highlights to experience. In an art auction, organised by our art teachers and carried out with great enthusiasm by our students, parents and outsiders were able to purchase large-scale framed artworks created by our students during Corona, which were reworkings of famous paintings. All profits made will go towards the outreach programme. We are delighted that all five paintings were sold at top prices. The revenue amounted to more than 4,000 euros. A great success!
The auction was followed by a two-hour European concert by our music talents from the HS. Works from different countries and musical styles were performed. The members of the school choirs, orchestra and big band, accompanied by their teachers, provided a truly enchanting evening of music that we will remember for a long time.
The week ended on Thursday with a European Market in the kindergarten and the European Indoor Sports Festival in the GS.
The many impressions and inspirations of the week show how the sometimes abstract concept of Europe can be filled with life in a very concrete way. Sincere thanks go to all who contributed to the success of the week, students, teachers, parents, the caretaker team, the administration, the external speakers and helping hands and of course the numerous visitors who filled our events with life.