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14 Global Alumni Events this Term

Monday 12th December 2016

Since Aiglon's autumn 2016 term began this August, we have been pleased to hold over fourteen alumni events this term. This has shown us the amazing global diversity of Aiglon's community. No matter where you go, you can find an Aiglonian, and very often alumni themselves were surprised to learn that they were not the "only Aiglon person in town." We will keep you updated with our travel schedule, and it would be great for you to join us for an event in the future.

We think it is important to keep the global community connected, but you don't have to wait for us to host an event. Plan an alumni gathering yourself with support from your own local community. Our alumni are some of the School's best ambassadors, and we are always ready to help you get connected with the people nearby. Email us at [email protected]

Where did we go this term?

  • Mumbai
  • New Delhi
  • Geneva
  • Moscow
  • Vancouver
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Monica
  • Montreal
  • Miami
  • New York City
  • Tokyo
  • Bangkok
  • Zurich
  • London

View photos from our events in North America.

From the Magazine: Private Passions, Tom Krueger on woodworking

Thursday 8th December 2016

Mr Tom Krueger's current project is hard to miss – due to the fact that it stretches across four parking spaces beside Alpina. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” he says.

“I’m working with a couple of chainsaws and I’m equal parts excited and absolutely terrified.” Follow the smell of freshly cut wood and you’ll see it: an ayous tree from Cameroon, which he and the Alpina boys are turning into a dugout canoe.

Mr Krueger fell in love with woodwork as a child. “A family friend did lots of work in our house,” he remembers. “I helped with projects like framing pictures, making furniture and partitioning walls. I loved the precision and the smell of cut wood. Although tempted by a career in carpentry, he pursued an academic route – and later rediscovered the joys of woodwork at an arts festival in Winchester, England.

“I spotted a stall with a foot-powered pole lathe and a bicycle made entirely from wood,” remembers Mr Krueger, who was teaching in the UK at the time. He then discovered the Cherry Wood Project, near Bath. “I started taking pupils there to learn bodging: using traditional techniques to make furniture parts such as chair legs,” he remembers. “I realised you didn’t have to be a trained carpenter with expensive tools to make things out of wood.”

Mr Krueger has also built an earth oven on the Alpina terrace, a medieval ropemaking machine and a memorial bench to commemorate Aiglon nurse Louise Lewis – and hopes to build a wooden house one day. “I like making things that have a purpose,” he says. “It’s also important to use your hands. I hope this is one of many challenges I can introduce at Aiglon to keep those skills alive. We know how to climb mountains, ski and use Google Docs, but now we also know how to make chairs.”

He hopes the boat will be fully usable come spring, but has yet to decide how powerful an engine it will have (when there is not a full paddling team). “The scariest moment will be when it touches water for the first time. Will it sink or float?”

“If we succeed, it’s going to be a great story to tell,” says Mr Krueger, who hopes to use the completed boat for weekend excursions and summer expeditions.

The conversion of the boat from tree to usable craft has been a talking point for months. “People used to walk by and ask: ‘what are you doing with that massive tree?’ Now they say: ‘hey, look at the boat!’”

READ MORE FROM ISSUE 7


Writer: Anne Wollenberg
Photography: Seth Barker

Unveiling of The SEBA CZ Scholarship Fund Plaque

Friday 25th November 2016

On Monday, 21st November Aiglon dedicated the majority of its morning assembly to the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to The Seba CZ Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship was created in memory of Seba Calleri-Zavanelli (Belvedere, 1992) who lost his life on 17th September 2004 after reaching the summit of Mount Kenya. 

To honour Seba, his love for Kenya and his passion for helping those less fortunate than himself, Seba’s employer, friends and family came together to create a scholarship at Aiglon for boys from the Starehe Boys School. Seba had spent time at Starehe during his Aiglon years and we are sure that he would have wanted his name associated with helping these academically gifted boys that come from an economically challenged environment.

Two “SebaScholars” have already gone through the School and this presentation comes before the upcoming selection of a third. The plaque serves as a way to honour Seba’s memory, recognise the achievements of previous scholars (the first SebaScholar will be graduating in Stanford this year) and to promote the fund. 

The design intentionally echoes the logo of Round Square, as it was through a Round Square service trip to Kenya that Seba first discovered the importance of an inspiring education. The plaque hangs now in the entrance to Exeter Hall.

Dr John L. Garcia, Seba’s supervisor at AEA Investors, now Chairman and CEO, helped pioneer the fund. He travelled from New York especially for this occasion and was invited to address the students.

What follows is a transcription of his remarks. Consider supporting The SEBA CZ Scholarship Fund online here.

Assembly Address by Dr John L. Garcia, Chairman & CEO of AEA Investors

Thank you Headmaster and good morning to all of you here at Aiglon. I want to thank Fiorina and Carlotta, Seba’s Mother and Sister, without whom this scholarship would not have been possible. It was their effort and dedication that made this happen in Seba’s memory. Their commitment does not stop there as they also welcome the scholars into their family. You at Aiglon welcome them into your family but they also literally welcome them to their own family by taking them in during the holidays, which I think shows a special level of commitment to this Scholarship. Family was what Seba was all about. I also want to thank the School, the Governors and the Head Master whose efforts, work, and dedication to bring these boys here to Aiglon and the hard work it entails to get them on to their new life at university is also a great commitment. I thank them for that.

But who am I, why am I here? I’m the chairman and CEO of a private equity firm, maybe some of you know what that is, maybe some of you don’t but we basically invest people’s money. We are a financially-oriented business and there seems to be very little relationship between what we do and what you do here. However, we have certain core values that we believe in, certain things that drive how we behave as individuals, and how we execute our business of essentially shuffling paper around, and those core values are around excellence in all its forms.

We believe that academic excellence is the cornerstone of what makes our employees able to succeed and that excellence is what starts here in a place like this and it continues academically through university; if you become academics you continue in that. If you don’t, you take everything you learn here and apply it to problems in the real world and those are the problems that we try to solve; solving problems that help companies, employees and industries. Whether you are doing geography, history, physics or biology, they all matter because it is how you think that is important in analysing problems.

The second is sport excellence. Sport is also important because it encourages team work; it encourages people to succeed personally but also as part of a house or a school or a team and those things are very important to what we do. We are a team-based organisation. We work in teams. Whatever you learn on the ski slopes or the rugby pitch is also important. So be magnanimous when you win but when you lose be generous. And that is also what we believe our employees should do. Those two things I believe are core principles of ours and core principles of yours.

Third is integrity, I think that means not taking shortcuts, doing the right thing.  I hope your families, your school and later your work environment will encourage integrity because that is always about doing the right thing. 

That links the fourth and most important thing which is taking all those things and having a moral compass that you live by. A moral compass that allows you to live outside of yourself, for your community and for society in general and that’s where ultimately what we do at AEA links to what you do and to this, The Seba CZ Scholarship Fund.

Seb joined our organisation with great academic excellence, with sporting excellence; we actually have a cup named after him. We have a slalom race that he won every year he was with us and so we named the cup after him. Whoever wins that cup takes it very proudly to their desk and displays it on their desk for everyone to see. That’s the Seba CZ slalom champion for the year.

He also came with integrity. He came to us and worked diligently twenty-four hours a day on one transaction. It took him three years to do that transaction; it ended up closing, we bought the company in June ‘04 and sadly Seb did not live to see the benefit of that transaction. It ended up being one of the most successful transactions in our European Fund. Seb was instrumental in finding it, nurturing it, working hard every day to make it happen and then we took that; the easy part was to improve it and sell it on. Seb was very successful in our organisation because he was someone who everyone loved, someone who had great personal charisma and character and that I think was because of his family values; from the values he learned here at Aiglon, from the trips he made to Kenya, from the experiences he had at the Starehe Boys School, with mottos like: “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

He lived those values. He cared about education. He cared about helping children who had less than he did. When he passed away, it was a great tragedy. We all felt it. I’ll never forget the day when I got that phone call. At AEA we thought that from this tragedy some good should come, not just from the memories from his family and the school but something greater than that. And so we wanted to be a small part of helping this scholarship come to fruition and to allow scholars, people that need a little bit of help, come to a school like this and then go do great things and help their community.

We thought that would be something to sponsor, to be proud of and we are immensely proud of what is happening here at Aiglon with these scholars. We hope to continue supporting this for a long time in the future and we hope the family and the school will also. Thank you all for the opportunity for me to come here and to be a part of this event and for allowing AEA to participate in a small way in this wonderful experience of helping create the Seba CZ Fund. Thank you.

(Transcribed from the original and edited for clarity.)

Kalouti Observatory Receives Upgrades

Wednesday 23rd November 2016

This term Aiglon's intrepid Space Science Department enjoyed the newly upgraded school observatory. Thanks to alumnus Dominique Meyer (Alpina, 2013), the Kalouti Observatory is now  fully automatic and can therefore be operated from anywhere in the world. Taking full opportunity of these enhancements, student Jared Hamilton (3rd Form) imaged objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy. Inigo Valenzuela (U6th), currently in charge of the observatory, also took some amazing images. His favourite photo so far is the Veil Nebula.

The photos were taken with an RGB colour wheel with either 350 or 400 seconds exposure; the CCD (camera) used was a FLI Microline M8300 and the telescope is a 16" ASA autograph specifically designed for deep field. The photos were taken from students' rooms while the observatory rotated by itself.

Text by Inigo Valenzuela Lombera

13th Annual Hélène De Beir Lecture

Friday 18th November 2016

On Wednesday, Aiglon was joined again by Mr Francis De Beir and this year’s guest lecturer, Mr Waduge Methsiri. Mr De Beir and an invited guest make a journey up the mountain each year to continue an important legacy of honouring and remembering his daughter, Hélène (Clairmont, 1992), who was killed by militants in Afghanistan while doing humanitarian work with Médecins Sans Frontières.

For thirteen years Mr De Beir has sponsored a lecture series that takes place each autumn at Aiglon. The topic always focuses on humanitarian awareness and service with the goal to help each generation of Aiglon students consider the world beyond their own. Hélène took her Aiglon education and used it to help others in need, and Mr De Beir hopes this lecture will continue to inspire today’s students to do the same.

This year, Aiglon students heard from Mr Waduge Methsiri. He is a Geneva-based journalist and human rights defender from Sri Lanka. He advocates for Sri Lanka and regularly writes and issues reports to United Nations agencies, such as the UNHCR. With the students he discussed his own story and journey from Sri Lanka to Europe. He spoke on how one can overcome a life of fear and anxiety to embrace hope and stand up against injustices.

The lecture is delivered both to the Junior and Senior School. The Junior lecture is framed in a way that even Aiglon’s youngest can identify the key themes and understand the implications of such a journey. They were hardly shy, and asked thoughtful questions about what integration into Swiss life is like, did you have to learn French? Where did you learn English? Then, following a formal dinner hosted by Clairmont (Hélène’s house) to thank the visitors, Mr Methsiri then addressed the Senior School on the same topic, adjusted for his audience.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Mr De Beir, Aiglon continues in its strong tradition of humanitarian awareness and pursuit of service.