Tribune News Network
GEMS American Academy Qatar (GAAQ) hosted its annual United Nations Day to acknowledge and celebrate the cultural diversity of its students, parents and staff. The day is the most important and anticipated school event of the year and relies on a great deal of parent engagement, connections and collaboration.
With its student body made up of some 71 nationalities and the faculty featuring some 15 nationalities, diversity has long been a GAAQ staple and a catalyst for the advancement of the school’s ethos and the richness of the student experience.
This year’s celebration provided an array of opportunities for students to broaden their intellectual horizons and for cultural exchange. These included a student flag parade, classroom games and learning activities, an array of internationally-themed dancing, poetry and singing performances, a friendly football match between parents and staff as well as food, music and artistic displays from 26 countries.
After more than two years of hosting the UN Day virtually, COVID-19 restrictions have now been loosened, allowing parents to once again meet and work together on their displays and performances. GAAQ parents, guests and student groups prepared their countries’ booths and adorned their areas with flags, national dress and clothing, statues, artifacts, movies and visual content, artwork and educational posters.
The event included over 200 students participating in a flag parade where everyone had the chance to cheer and show pride for their home country or country of ethnic background.
Also on display were 20 performances by parents, students, staff and guests.
GAAQ music teacher Martin Farragher, who performs under the stage name Faraway Martin, performed his latest single, I Got Fire, via an acoustic guitar performance.
Additionally, multicultural group Ballet Folclórico Latinamericano en Catar completed the Mexican Jalisco folkloric dance, while students from Qatar Turkish School delivered an upbeat traditional Turkish dance for the crowd.
To conclude the UN Day, a friendly football match between parents and staff was played, with the latter winning 7-2.
The event was attended by notable guests, including Costa Rica’s Ambassador to Qatar HE Alvaro Mariano Segura Avila, as well as Rudolf Wyss, head of Economic Section and Projects for the Embassy of Switzerland in Qatar.
Each year, the GAAQ community helps inspire an international open-mindedness and inquisitive approach to learning that diversity commands.
GAAQ parents understand and value the importance and positive influence of cultural diversity in education, as research and direct experience show that children like to see themselves in their teachers and school leaders, improve the quality of communication and cognitive processing, enhance short- and long-term intergroup relations and help challenge stereotypes.
The UN Day at the school is the ultimate manifestation of the diversity that facilitates their learning environment for all students to become better thinkers and citizens of the world.