Country: Switzerland Status: Not-for-profit foundation under Swiss law
IB programmes: Primary Years Programme (PYP), since 2004; Middle Years Programme (MYP), currently in application process; Diploma Programme, since 1969
The International School of Geneva occupies a unique place in the history of the International Baccalaureate (IB) as the school that originated its flagship Diploma Programme. When Paul Meyhoffer, founding principal of our school, first proposed the maturité internationale in 1925, it was an idea a generation ahead of its time. The moment for its realization came with the period of reconstruction after the second world war that was characterized by a steady growth in the number of international schools and by an awareness of the need for international reconciliation through education.
When Desmond Cole-Baker was appointed head of the English language section of the school in 1961, his vision and organizing energy ensured that an international baccalaureate eventually came into being. He was fortunate in his colleagues. Robert Leach, who taught history, understood the significance of an international curriculum and spearheaded the first IB diploma course: world contemporary history. Language teachers like Nancy Poirel devised language programmes with an international dimension. Gerard Renaud, who taught philosophy and French, gave the idea of an international diploma intellectual substance and went on to become the second director general of the IB, an infant organization that had its original headquarters in our school.