Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) is a significant part of the DP, so 10-14 October gave the Grade 11 students an excellent foundation from which to launch the next two years of their CAS initiatives. In an effort to map global issues for projects and map community needs and projects, the CAS Coordinators, David Duwyn and Chris Pultz,  invited some truly inspirational speakers to give ideas and motivation to our students.

Starting with UN Country Head for Afghanistan, Peter Dalglish, students had a lively Skype discussion on the UN Global Goals: how to measure them, which ones are most critical,  and what students might do in the context of CAS to address some of these issues at school or in the wider community. Peter, who may soon be deployed to Syria, also gave engaging commentary about what life is like for children in the world’s most dangerous places, whether in conflict zones or at ground zero of the ebola outbreak (where he coordinated World Health Organization activities).

After that Skype session, students had the choice of two breakouts: Skyping with the Director of the Jane Goodall Institute in Nepal or meeting with local NGO Small Projects Istanbul.

In the Jane Goodall session, we Skyped with Manoj Gautam, who spoke about Roots & Shoots, the nature and animal conservation project that schools can start. But Manoj stressed that beyond any kind of program that a student can get involved in for CAS, the most important thing is to follow your passion and create positive change in whatever are your passion leads you.

Students were so motivated by Peter and Manoj that they asked for possible volunteering opportunities with Peter and Manoj in Singapore, Nepal, and beyond.

The other breakout featured Small Projects Istanbul, a new and growing NGO targeting support of Syrian refugee communities.  SPI Project Coordinator, Mehmet Cetinkaya, gave a presentation on the current situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and what they are doing to help– (and what they are doing is impressive enough to have earned SPI Co-Founder, Karyn Thomas, the distinction of being selected a 2016 honoree of Harvard Law and International Development Society’s ‘Women Inspiring Change’ for her work with SPI). Mehmet gave students ideas of how to get involved.

Students also spent time with organizers of the Durusu ProjectCan Aras and Emre Bey from IGA,
and with IICS DP Turkish Teacher, Serife Lumsden, who spoke with students about the Karaagac project.

Students met and brainstormed with the President of the IICS Parent Teacher Association, Stefanie Saka, who outlined new initiatives that will help the PTA support student social outreach via an information portal that will help students match needs and resources according to their CAS interests.


After hearing from and brainstorming with all these inspirational speakers, Grade 11 was brought back down to earth by IICS Class of 2008 graduate Yasemin Zamanpur, who gave our students invaluable advice on how to make CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) work for them now in high school, as well as in their adult life. Read more about Yasemin’s inspirational advice here.

Lastly, students were excited to learn from David Duwyn and Communications Coordinator, Jennifer Gokmen, that IICS will be launching the Duke of Edinburgh International Award this year, which brings with it Tuesday afternoon Outdoor and Survival Skills sessions, with some incredible activities planned. More on that coming soon!