Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anticipating IPO Oslo 2012

This is IPO XX!

Pre-College Philosophy students and their teachers from 39 countries will be gathering in Oslo, Norway between May 16th and 20th for the twentieth meeting of the International Philosophy Olympiad. Here's the link: http://ipo2012.no/ For ten of these countries, this is their first participation. They include China, Guatemala Nigeria and Spain, to name a few. The United States participated last year sending two students and one teacher to Vienna, Austria. You may see a report on this event in one of my previous posts in this blog. This year the delegation of the USA is constituted by only one teacher, last year's delegation leader, yours truly.

I will be participating in the IPO 2012 as a member of the International Committee and the International Jury. There are no students going this year. The US student who was chosen to go had a conflict. It was too late to make another decision. This points to the lack of a US national IPO infrastructure and organization. Writing this blog is one of the ways in which I am working to build the infrastructure and organization we need to create and sustain a US national philosophy Olympiad. My presence at Oslo this year is important to continue the momentum begun last year with our participation in the IPO 2011.

We need a national essay writing contest. I am in communication with Barbara Israeloff, Director of the Squire Family Foundation (http://squirefoundation.org/), to create such an essay contest.

We need a national infrastructure and organization. I am a member of the American Philosophical Association and have been in communication with the Committee on Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy, to which I have submitted my membership nomination. There is a lot to do, but the work has begun.

Since all IPO essays must be written in a language other than the student's national language (for the US that would be either French, German or Spanish, three of the four IPO official languages), I will be in contact with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), an organization in which I have been a member in the past as a language teacher and a language department chair.

Sponsorship: We also need one or more sponsors to finance all the American IPO efforts including travel to host countries for the IPO, annually. Host countries always pay all expenses for a national delegation's participation, but the visiting national delegation must pay for its own travel. For IPO Vienna 2011, the two American students paid their travel expenses and Dwight-Englewood School (http://www.d-e.org/) paid the travel expenses of the Delegation Leader. (Full disclosure: I am the Ethics [& Philosophy] Department Chair at D-E) Dwight-Englewood is also paying for my travel expenses this year! But we need an organized and sustaining sponsorship for the students and the teacher going forward.

I will be leaving for Oslo on May 15 and returning on May 21st. I'll be blogging from there to keep you informed. I'll include pictures, too. That's all for now, but I'd love to read your comments.


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