The International Baccalaureate hosted its regional gathering with Central American and Caribbean countries in Costa Rica. The IB Day, along with the Festival of Hope, drew hundreds of educators and students to showcase their projects and best practices. During the events, the IB welcomed government officials, public and private universities, and local communities.
Held at the Palmares Bilingual School, the first public school to implement the IB in Costa Rica, the celebration brought together diverse figures from across Central America and the Caribbean. The IB Day, organized on 28 November by the Iberoamerican team at the IB, fostered connections with schools, universities, the Ministry of Public Education, and local leaders. Despite being the first time, the event was held in Costa Rica, over 300 educational leaders gathered to learn and share best practices for quality, global-minded education.
Among those attending the IB Day included Anna Katharina Müller, Minister of Education; Melvin Chaves, Vice Minister of Education; Steve Aronson, President and Founder of IB Compass—a foundation in charge of supporting the public and private education sector in Costa Rica for the implementation of the IB, and Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General of the IB, marking his inaugural official visit to Latin America and Costa Rica. Other special guests included coordinators of allied schools, municipal authorities, student representatives and members of the community.
Anna Katharina Müller, Minister of Public Education in Costa Rica said, “We are in Palmares celebrating International Baccalaureate Day, which for the Ministry of Public Education represents a unique opportunity for all young people in Costa Rica. The IB is a program that has very high-quality standards, students come out very well prepared, not only in languages and fundamental subjects of secondary education but also in problem-solving and in their commitment to the country and the rest of the world. We are now starting a review process of the twenty schools that are offering the program to see that they meet all the international standards and that we can expand it to other schools. We are working on this and today we are celebrating the fact that the IB Director General and his entire international and Iberoamerican team have come to share experiences and knowledge, and to bring more opportunities with this program which is very useful for the country’s development.”
IB Days—small-scale, one-day face-to-face gatherings—serve as a unique platform for IB World Schools and non-IB schools to delve into the world of IB education, recognize local and regional IB programmes, exchange innovative ideas, build connections, and contribute to an impactful and advancing globally minded learning community. Topics discussed during this event focused on programme implementation, the importance of educational leaders, early childhood education, and innovation in learning and teaching pedagogy.
The Festival of Hope was also hosted by the IB and held on Wednesday, 29 November, aimed at creating spaces for young people to explore, inspire and transform humanity. The venues chosen for this event was the United World College (UWC) Costa Rica in Heredia and Santa Ana, where hundreds of students engaged in discourse on the power of young people to create an impact for a better tomorrow.
The IB continues to work closely with organizations and governments worldwide to increase access to high-quality education for all young people, including Costa Ricans, and to ensure equal opportunities regardless of learner background so every student can achieve their full potential. On Monday, 27 November, the IB Director General, along with representatives of the organization and members of the Costa Rican government met to discuss the future of education in the region and how the collaboration between the two entities can benefit students to be more prepared to make a difference around the world.
We acknowledge and thank IB Compass—a foundation in charge of supporting the public and private education sector in Costa Rica for the implementation of the IB—for the support provided towards IB's regional gathering in Costa Rica.