|IPO Students & some teachers in 2012 at Oslo Handelsgymnasium.|
The International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO) is an annual essay writing competition for high school students from around the world. Students and philosophy teachers from as many as 40 countries gather in a different host country each year and have done so since 1993. The main event is the four-hour student essay writing completion, on one of four philosophical topics written in one of four languages; English, French, German or Spanish. Any one of these languages may be chosen except the student’s national language. So, for example, a Frenchman may not write in French. In Vienna in 2011, the two students from the USA wrote in Spanish.
|This is the front of the IPO presentation area at Oslo Handelsgymnasium.|
As I have written recently for the IPO Website about the IPO national selection process in the USA, prior to 2010 I was unaware of the IPO. At the 2009 December conference meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA), Eastern Division (of which I have been a member since about 2007) I met with APA executive director, David Schrader. I told David about the curriculum for a course I was creating; A History of Western Philosophy taught in Spanish for American high school students in their last two years before university. Over the next year, the course was approved by the Curriculum Committee at Dwight-Englewood School (D-E). I began to teach this course in 2010. At the APA December conference that year, I updated David who then told me about the IPO. As I discovered, William L. McBride, president of the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie (FISP) and David Schrader had been discussing ways to reanimate the US philosophy community to re-enter the IPO competitions. Adding Spanish as an official IPO language was seen to be a possible key to doing this. Spanish was added to English, French and German on a trial basis before IPO Vienna 2011. At the IPO Oslo 2012 business meeting, Prof. Mc Bride formally proposed that Spanish be added to the only three previously official languages. It was approved overwhelmingly and is now the fourth official IPO language.
|Some IPO Philosophy teachers after reporting essay marks in Oslo.|
I will continue to work now to development the necessary infrastructure and organization to establish an ongoing USPO. I am also working toward developing sponsorship to pay for the travel expenses for a maximum two US students, one teacher and one delegation leader in future IPO annual competitions. In-country expenses at the host country site of the annual IPO event is paid for by the hosts. I anticipate the continuing non-financial support of the APA and the cooperation and partnership of the APA committee on Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy. The development of a national philosophy essay contest for American high school students is under way through the partnership of various organizations. I will discuss this further as well as local and regional essay contests in a near future blog post. In the months leading up to IPO Vienna 2011, I created a blog (http://www.precollegephilosophy.blogspot.com/) to be a hub of information and communication about pre-university education in philosophy in the USA, but also to be the source of information, thinking and communication about the US participation in the IPO.
Please consider becoming a follower of this blog by joining this site. By the way, I would love to read your comments.
Now, to end, take a look at the assessment criteria we use at the IPO.
|IPO Essay Assessment Criteria.|