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Ten perspectives on international-mindedness

How do students, teachers, and leaders in IB World School communities view the concept of international-mindedness? Ten IB community members share their perspective on the concept and why it is central to the IB educational philosophy.


circular-maskDr Saud Al Ammari, Legal Counsel and Member of the Board of Trustees, King Fahad Academy, London, England—”International-mindedness is the key to having a better understanding and appreciation of one another. In fact, in today’s troubled world, international-mindedness is perhaps the way for a brighter and more peaceful future. Our young men and women are the hope for a better world, and I am pleased to see the IB championing this trustworthy cause to enable them to achieve such a noble objective.”

KevinKevin Kahiro Maina, IB student, The Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi—“International-mindedness is best defined as a ‘frame of mind.’ Perhaps though, a ‘philosophy for living’ would be more appropriate for it enables and empowers individuals with the ability to perceive the world in a manner that disregards the ‘self’ and its prejudices while embracing a greater sense of the ‘other’.”

LiinaLiina Baardsen, IB Alumnus, Diploma Programme Curriculum Manager—“International-mindedness means the ability to see an opportunity in every encounter to both share life with a unique individual and a fellow human being. The greater our individual differences, the more difficult such encounters are likely to be. But they can also be some of the most rewarding experiences we have. When differences on an individual level seem big, our greatest aide is a search for what we share as human beings, which I believe is always more than what separates us.”

MikeMike Bostwick, Executive Director of Katoh Gakuen Bilingual School, Japan—“At the heart of international-mindedness is a frame of mind; a curiosity about the world, an openness towards things ‘other’, and a profound appreciation of the complexity of our world and our relationships to each other. You don’t have to be in an international context to develop this kind of mindset.”

KrisKris Kosaka, CAS Coordinator and teacher at Tamagawa Academy, Machida, Japan—”Students truly take ownership of a concept only by doing and experiencing it in practical terms. I believe international-mindedness is best taught by connecting with others around the globe or in the many different worlds to be found by stepping outside of accepted comfort zones in one’s back yard.”

StuartStuart Pollard, International Community School, London—“It is my belief that through engagement and action, linguistic competency and awareness, and an understanding of both national and international cultures, IB students are prepared to be successful global citizens of the future. International-mindedness is the foundation and the driver for this preparation.”

QhalisaQhalisa Khan, IB student, The Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi, Kenya—“International-mindedness is the ability to be receptive to a multitude of ideas and cognisant of various experiences worldwide. This includes being part of an international community which is both pluralistic and meritocratic. Multi-nationalism and respect for cultural diversity are also key components of global harmony. The development of human ingenuity to incorporate broader aspects of our global network is also an integral part of this.”

SimonSimon Walker, Head of Berlin British School, Germany— “International-mindedness is a way of thinking; perhaps even a philosophy that has the possibility of leading us to a deeper and broader understanding of our complex world and our role within it. It can and should be made visible through the questions students ask and actions associated with global citizenship.”

AnthonyAnthony Tilke, Librarian, United World College, Singapore—”International-mindedness is at the heart of an IB library. IB students, with their rich and diverse backgrounds and experiences, rightly make demands for multi-viewpoint and balanced resources to support inquiry, information, language and literacy needs.”

DaraDr. Darla Deardorff, Executive Director, AIEA, Duke University, USA—“Higher education institutions have increasingly found inter-cultural competence and international-mindedness to be core student outcomes of internationalization efforts. IB plays a key role in helping to prepare students not only for their future college careers in this regard but also for the diverse world in which they will live and work.”

International-mindedness is central to the IB mission and a foundational principle to its educational philosophy; it is at the heart of the continuum of international education.

An IB education creates learning communities in which students can increase their understanding of language and culture, developing as successful communicators with the skills needed for intercultural dialogue and global engagement.

Students, teachers, and leaders in the IB school communities have a range of perspectives, values, and traditions. The concept of international-mindedness builds on these diverse perspectives to generate a sense of common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet.


What does international-mindedness mean to you? Post a comment below.



  • Adrian D’Ambra

    Knowing you are in and of the world; that your sense of place is fluid, flexible, expanding; that you are not just one thing and that other people are never just one thing.

  • Samah Al Safadi- SEN Consultan

    Exactly what Dr. Ammari added! ‘Troubled world’… Calling challenges by their names is the first solid step for successful cure. IB philosophy and open mindedness is no longer a ‘luxury’, it is a ‘must’ should we plan to have a peaceful world for our offspring!

  • Elizabeth Dillingham

    It is interesting that a common theme seems to be that international-mindedness deals with our frame of mind. This was mentioned several times by the article contributors. Our frame of mind as it pertains to the world and our “philosophy of living” is such an important aspect of being a part of a global society.

  • Pavitha Paul

    I agree to Adrian’s views. I also feel International Mindedness is nothing but opening out to others’ views and opinions with an open mind, accepting others as they are and trying to be a good communicator and be an inquirer too.

  • Sara Morris

    International-mindedness is an open, respectful attitude to others; whether that be the ideas they share, culture they come from, or their opinions. It is a crucial part to educating all students in today’s society. We are more connected than we ever have been before. This means that almost any future career will have our students in situations where they are working and interacting with others from various cultures and backgrounds. Teaching them to be open to what others have to say as well as respect their ideas is central to creating successful, future citizens of the world.

  • Girija Rao.A

    International mindedness is one great opportunity to learn. There is so much of scope for a wider horizon to understand how the basic learning happens.How the world is. On an international arena the countries participate with a purpose.This learning many a time evokes the humanness among the citizens of the world. The nations might have their very authentic monumental or rich history and heritage in many walks yet the international mindedness brings the boundaries together due to the human mind and helps in developing the fellow nations.

  • Girija Rao.A

    To put it very simply international mindedness is to use our intelligence in such way that would be useful globally, at any given time, generation after generation !

  • Lisa Karlin-Rigo
  • “International-mindedness is best defined as a ‘frame of mind.’ Perhaps though, a ‘philosophy for living’ would be more appropriate for it enables and empowers individuals with the ability to perceive the world in a manner that disregards the ‘self’ and its prejudices while embracing a greater sense of the ‘other’.”