Luis Sfeir-Younis - Caracas, Venezuela
We are proudly telling the world about our alumni in our 50th anniversary year. Luis Sfeir-Younis graduated from the IB Diploma Programme (DP) at Escuela Campo Alegre, Venezuela before completing his undergraduate studies at American University, Washington D.C., USA and receiving his master’s degree from the London School of Economics, UK.
Why did you originally decide to pursue an IB diploma?
I decided to pursue an IB diploma because I was excited by the idea of pushing myself intellectually, while also exploring certain subjects that I had an interest in, such as theory of knowledge (TOK). The fact that the credit I would earn through an IB diploma would also help me save time and money later on at university was also a plus! When I did start my undergraduate studies, I quickly realised how useful my IB experience had been, as it gave me some of the critical thinking, analytical skills and subject knowledge that helped me do well in my university and later professional life.
Which of your IB teachers inspired you most?
I enjoyed all the IB teachers I had, but the teacher that inspired me most was my history teacher, Martin Walsh. He is personable, funny, and a deeply committed educator, and I remember him for having a passion for social issues. His approach helped bring the subject alive for me in a way that made it easier to see the connections between the past and its legacy in today’s world. This awareness eventually led me to pursue degrees in international studies and international development, as well as a career focused on trying to address some of the critical social, political and humanitarian challenges of our time.
“Appreciate the little things and those around you, as everyone who crosses your path can have something to teach you.”
How did you reach where you are today?
Hard work, perseverance, a bit of luck but most of all the support of others—family, loved ones, friends, colleagues, teachers and mentors—helped me get to where I am now. At times life had detours in store, but I always tried to come back to a path where I was contributing to something bigger than myself, in service of others and the world around me.
What advice do you have for current students?
I benefited from a lot of good advice from others, but I don’t have a magic formula. All I can offer is to just be true to yourself and find what drives you. Be humble and open to new ideas and experiences, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Appreciate the little things and those around you, as everyone who crosses your path can have something to teach you. Finally, find time to enjoy yourself and have fun.