Written By Abigail Chifusa, Global Schools Project Officer.
In light of the International School of Leuven’s commitment to embedding the Sustainable Development Goals into its everyday teaching, third grade students decided to write to the Mayor of Leuven. On May 20th, 2022, Leuven’s Mayor, Mohamed Ridouani, and the Deputy Mayor, Lalynn Wadera, visited the school to hear about actions taken to embed the Sustainable Development Goals into the curriculum.
Caption: Grade three students pictured with Global Schools Advocate, Silvia Yubitza Moreno Carlín, and the Mayor, Mohamed Ridouani.
The Mayor’s visit was organized by 3rd grade teacher, Silvia Yubitza Moreno Carlín, who became an Advocate for the Global Schools Program in the Summer of 2021. The school made a commitment to develop a curriculum that would embed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into their everyday teaching and nurture a future thinking mindset for all students.
The 3rd grade students welcomed the Mayor with a song "Together we can change the world" and took turns sharing the activities that they had been carrying out as a class. Furthermore, the students expressed their opinions and enthusiastically shared actions they had undertaken to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability. From a climate change protest, to plastic recycling, to the design of ecological communities, the children were eager to exchange ideas with Mayor Ridouani. Through their interactions with the Mayor and his Deputy, the students learned about Leuven 2030, and the actions that the city was taking to become a climate neutral city. They also learned about School 2030, a project to encourage sustainable development curriculum in Leuven schools.
The visit provoked interesting conversations between the Mayor and the students. One student mentioned that she wanted to rule her country (India) and the Mayor asked her “Why not Leuven?”, already offering her his full support.
In the end, Global Schools Advocate, Silvia, and the students finished another school-wide display on sustainable development. Students wrote their pledges and actions they committed to accelerate the SDGs, and the Mayor took a Teaspoon of Change from the display. Silvia says of the visit, “The Mayor was very impressed! He took my students seriously and made them feel [that] their young voices matter.”
At the conclusion of the visit, the Deputy Mayor requested that Advocate Siliva further discuss activities and initiatives with the local office that linked the SDGs and education.
The head teacher at the school congratulated Silvia and her grade 3 learners. “A huge thank you to Mayor Ridouani for this wonderful visit. Our students felt empowered, heard and recognised as essential advocates for the future of our planet", said Carol Bancroft, Head of School.
Below are some of the photo highlights from the Mayor’s visit at the International School of Leuven.