Interview with Dr Conrad Hughes: our future Director General – His vision for Ecolint

General Background
Born in South Africa in 1974, in the midst of an apartheid government, Conrad Hughes
attended an all-boys school with an aggressive, racist, ideology. Consequently, he didn’t
enjoy school. However, his life changed when he was older, and he attended a boarding
school in Eswatini. As an IB school, it was a kinder environment and “it helped shape my
values…it really opened my mind…” eventually influencing his interest in international
education and literature. Graduating from secondary school, he studied in France, the UK,
and South Africa. Eventually, he attained two doctorates, one in Education and another in
English Literature. He taught around the world in places such as India, France, the
Netherlands, and Switzerland, where he moved from being an English teacher, to IB
Diploma Coordinator, to Director of Education, and most recently LGB’s Principal.

His Goals for Ecolint

When asked about his goals for the first six months as Director General, he responded that it
was too early to know since he is on a “listening and learning journey,” meeting staff, students,
parents, everyone involved in the foundation, in an effort to identify and understand the key
needs of Ecolint and its community. Two key factors emerged almost immediately that he
feels need to be improved: kindness and clarity. Kindness is about every individual aiming to
be kinder each day to one another, because international schools are regarded as a place of
joy and global citizenship. The clarity involves more effective and consistent communication
between the three campuses, across the community in general, for the staff, and in order to
clarify the meaning of what it is to be an Ecolint student. He believes that people must
understand the workflow and the project planning of Ecolint in general. “People need to
know where they are going.” Ultimately, he would like to connect the three campuses in a
more cohesive manner. For example, sports day across the campuses, and more cultural
celebrations across the organization on a regular basis. Additionally, he would like to offer
staff members more opportunities for professional development.

Long Term Goals:
The 100 year anniversary of Ecolint’s inception is approaching. Dr. Hughes would like to use the occasion as an opportunity to reinforce Ecolint’s relationships with local and international
partners, including the ville de Genève, the UN, the International Labor Office, and schools
around the world. Additionally, he would like Ecolint to make an impact on how education is
approached globally. “In the long term, I want us to be part of a local and global movement
to transform education, to take it into the second half of the twenty-first century as a
completely different paradigm.” This would include looking at more creative ways of
assessing students, and looking at each student’s gifts as a human being. Dr. Hughes
believes that the world must transition from the classic 19th-century style of assessing
students, which are out of sync with the twenty-first century, to a new modern style.

Inclusion and the Ecolint Learner Passport

On the other hand, Dr. Hughes realizes that Ecolint must be more sustainable. And
inclusive. And reinforce education for peace. These are planetary mandates. Inclusion is
vital because we are the oldest international school, and we have 130 nationalities
represented in the school, including staff and the student body. He asks, “What can I do to
make education more inclusive within our parameters?” Strengthening education for peace
would amplify Ecolint’s history for peace, such as the student`s League of Nations, which is

how Ecolint evolved, and more. Being a Senior Fellow with UNESCO’s International
Bureaux of Education, Dr. Hughes is heavily inspired by UNESCO’s approach to the world,
as well as other surrounding SDGs, and most importantly, its goal for quality education for all
by 2030. He is passionate about influencing these educational measures, and making
education more accessible to people. For example, more than 250 million children are out of
school throughout the world.

His passion for quality education is demonstrated by his development of the Ecolint Learner
Passport, a UNESCO-affiliated program which sits alongside the IB diploma. It is based on
the seven global competencies: lifelong learning, self-agency, interacting with the world,
interacting with others, “multiliteratness,” transdisciplinarity, and interactivity, by using
diverse tools and resources. It is a student passport exploring everything the child has done
by the time they graduate secondary school, including academics, arts, and skills
competicies, with the goal of making it accessible to more students around the world via the
coalition with UNESCO, which would honor all learning networks. Moreover, it is also
designed for students who might not have been able to follow a formal academic path, or
who didn’t have access to formal assessments and accreditations which prove their talent
and competencies.

Dr Hughes’ Advice for Youth
When asked about his advice for the youth and everyone involved with youth, he replied with
two main points: “be brave and read.” He said that everyone should stand up for themselves
and stand up for others and, I quote, “If more people were brave and stuck up for what’s
right, the world would be a much better place, so don’t be afraid, be brave!” Additionally, he
says that everyone should read. Because reading informs your thinking and enriches your
vocabulary, and the more expansive your vocabulary is, the more power you have in
communicating. In addition, he believes reading is a good way of slowing down your thought
process, compared to social media, which gives you a more simple, contemplative approach
to life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s