Dubai English Speaking College
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Issue 18 – The Year of Tolerance

The highest ever attendance at a concert was set when Rod Stewart performed live to 3. 5 million people at Copacabana Beach, Brazil in 1994.  A staggering number of people.  However, in 2015, over 6 million people attended the largest Papal Mass in history when Pope Francis visited Manila.  Whilst small in comparison to the Manila figure, an estimated 150,000 people attended the Papal Mass in Abu Dhabi as Pope Francis became the first pontiff ever to visit the Arabian Peninsula.  A phenomenal number of people taking part in what has been a historic week for the UAE.

The Human Fraternity Conference, attended by the Pope and Grand Imam, brought together ‘cultures, faiths and civilizations’ with an aim to foster tolerance and inter-faith dialogue.  The conference addressed three main themes: Principles of Human Fraternity, Common Responsibility to achieving Human Fraternity and Human Fraternity: Challenges and Opportunities.  These themes are not necessarily anything new, but they are widely acknowledged as being a matter of urgency on a global level.   

We all have our part to play and it is a role we take seriously at DESC.  The Mass in Abu Dhabi was a true reflection of the UAE itself; Ten languages were used during the service, including English, Urdu and Arabic.  People of all backgrounds, with a number of different faiths, attended together in harmony.  Of course, albeit on a smaller scale and in a different arena, this also reflects DESC, where we have students from all over the globe and a number of different religions, working together to make DESC the special place it is.  

Responsibility is high on the agenda at DESC.  We continually remind our students that we expect them to behave in a responsible manner around the College, that they take responsibility for their own learning and development, but also that they have an element of social responsibility too.  Staff, students and parents all have a shared duty to create the correct environment and instill solid values to enable our young people to thrive, to make the most of all of the amazing opportunities and enjoy the experiences that they have at DESC.  If they do so, in addition to academic achievement, they will develop the personal and social skills to be successful on the next step of their journey, whatever and wherever that may be.

There was no better example of the DESC community in action than last week’s Festival of Sport and the first ever DESCFest.  Whilst the standard of competition at the Festival of Sport was exceptional, so too was the sheer number of students and the wide range of abilities who competed and gave their all for their House.  The fierce competitiveness was matched only be the level of support that our students gave to one another throughout the day and this was not confined to those in their own House.  Without a doubt, the unsung heroes were our ‘Gamemakers’.  When we talk about contributing to the community and showing high levels of responsibility, this was personified by our Sixth Form students who helped to organise and run the events with such competence and professionalism.  DESCFest was a fantastic event which not only showcased the musical talent that we have at DESC, but also opened the doors to parents and other schools in the local area, to join us in an excellent afternoon of entertainment.  Huge thanks to the Performing Arts Department for organising such an enjoyable occasion.  The intention is for it to become an annual event and, after last week’s success (click HERE), we’re already looking forward to DESCFest 2020!

On the subject of journeys, one of the most dramatic is that of Dorothy and her quest to find the Wizard of Oz!  Our wonderfully talented, hard-working Performing Arts Department, and the incredibly dedicated cast and crew, have been working tirelessly since September on this year’s College production.  You will be able to see the ‘Wizard of Oz’ on Monday 11th, Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th March and tickets are on sale now.  If you thought it was difficult to get a ticket to the Papal Mass, this is on a different level so get in quick.  Tickets are priced at 40Dhs each and are available every morning outside Reception or from the Performing Arts office.

Another major journey taking place this weekend, involving a number of students with Mr McGrogan and Miss Bellis, is the annual ski trip to Switzerland.  We wish them a safe journey and a hugely enjoyable experience – I’m sure there’ll be lots of Tweets from the Alps next week.  There will be, of course, the usual vast array of sporting fixtures next week and we wish all of our sportspeople the best of luck, starting with our numerous rugby fixtures against JESS this afternoon.  Good luck also to our Dancers who are competing at Dubai College this evening in the Desert Dance Competition.  This week has been a RED WEEK, so don’t forget the top tips that Mrs Ford shares on the completion of a RED WEEK and also a reminder that next week is GREY – so lots of fun and exciting activities taking place as we head towards the break.

It has certainly been intriguing following the coverage of the Pope’s visit over the last week or so and observing how it fits seamlessly with the UAE’s Year of Tolerance, which we support and demonstrate on a daily basis here at DESC.  We will always endeavor to guide our students in their development so that they leave DESC as well-rounded, responsible citizens ready to take their place in today’s global society.

Enjoy your weekend!

Michael Fallon

Assistant Headteacher

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