UNIS Hanoi, a school of diversity and multiculturalism

The United Nations International School of Hanoi (UNIS Hanoi) was founded by the United Nations and the Vietnamese government to promote multinational cooperation. UNIS Hanoi is the most diverse international school in Hanoi, with more than 1,100 students from over 60 nations speaking some 40 different languages. This year marks the school’s 30th year in operation with significant achievements.

Founded in 1988, UNIS Hanoi began with 13 students in a borrowed classroom and five teachers. The school now has Elementary, Middle, and High School divisions, as well as an Early Childhood Centre to provide preschool and kindergarten for young learners. It has a 9.2 hectare campus, a 400-seat theatre, competition-grade swimming pools, specialised classrooms for science and design, and lots of green and open space for students, parents, and teachers to focus and relax.

UNIS Hanoi has over 300 faculty and staff members. Nearly 40% of faculty members are US citizens, with the rest coming from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. Over 60% of faculty and administration have a Master’s or PhD degree.

Founded in 1988, UNIS Hanoi offers the most outstanding school facilities
in Hanoi and some of the best in Southeast Asia. Photo: Files

Team work at a math class. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Personal discussion with a student at an Elementary Schoolclass. Photo: Files

Instructing a student in the design and technology workshop. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Learning in a comfortable environment . Photo: Files

An Elementary School art class. Photo: Files

In the design and technology classroom. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

The fully-equipped design and technology classroom allows students to conceptualise,
design and produce new products, services and systems. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Service is central to education at UNIS Hanoi: Students take a hands-on approach to service learning. Photo: Files

Students learn Vietnamese calligraphy. Photo: Files

Music classes are always exciting at UNIS Hanoi. Photo: Files

A physical education class in the Early Childhood Centre gymnasium. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

UNIS Hanoi was the first international school established in Vietnam and the original International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in Asia. It is also one of only two United Nations (UN) schools in the world. With a unique connection to the UN, UNIS Hanoi delivers in developing inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who are motivated to make a difference in their communities and in the world.

“UNIS Hanoi began in borrowed classrooms with just 13 students and a handful of teachers; three decades later we’ve grown to a school with more than 1,100 students and over 300 faculty and staff members from as many as 64 different nations, all learning together on one sprawling, purpose-built campus. As part of our mission to encourage students to be independent, lifelong learners, we are also passionate about service to our host nation and her people.”
Dr. Chip Barder
UNIS Hanoi Head of School

In 2010 which marked Hanoi’s 1,000th birthday, Ban Ki Moon, then Secretary General to the United Nations, visited UNIS Hanoi. He was pleased to see that UN Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) were integrated into the school’s curriculum, providing a tangible connection to the real world in terms of educating global citizens. UNIS Hanoi has continued to build and expand on this integration with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which replaced the MDGs in 2015.

Education at UNIS Hanoi truly takes place in a multicultural environment where students learn and embrace UN principles of equality and promoting peace. The school provides a real-world framework for students to apply global citizenship. At UNIS Hanoi, students have the opportunity to learn the most pertinent issues of our time such as climate change, ending poverty, and strengthening international cooperation.

Since 2012, UNIS Hanoi has launched the Scholarship Programme which gives the opportunity for talented local Hanoi students from low-income families to attend UNIS Hanoi with a full (100%) fees waiver until graduation. Under this programme, thirteen local students have received the scholarships with four having graduated, and the rest now studying at middle and high schools.

The school’s very first Scholar was Nam Nguyen. When Nam first came to UNIS Hanoi in 2012, he was shy, struggled with English and could barely make eye contact with anyone. But over the next three years, Nam become a leading member of the High School, debating at Model United Nations, elected to Student Senate two years running and always ready to help anyone who needed some extra support with their Maths. When he graduated in 2015, he scored a perfect 45 for his International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma, something that less than 1% of diploma graduates in the world achieve. He received a full scholarship to Williams College, one of the United States’ top colleges.

“My life has changed since the moment I first stepped through the gate of UNIS Hanoi….From a shy and somewhat distant boy, I developed myself to become an amicable friend, a dynamic learner, a courageous risk-taker and an influential leader. At UNIS Hanoi, I found a fervent inspiration to learn, to grow up and to strive for what I used to find unachievable. This inspiration comes from nowhere else but my talented friends, my enthusiastic teachers and from the people whom I don’t know but are contributing day by day toward UNIS Hanoi community,” Nam said.

The school’s 9.2 hectare campus in Ciputra residential area in Tay Ho. Photo: Files

During the Lunar New Year Festival, UNIS Hanoi organizes Vietnamese cultural activities
such as dragon dance and folk games. Photo: Files

Fan dance at United Nations Day 2017. Photo: Files

A music performance rehearsal at the school’s 400-seat theatre. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Mid-Autumn Festival. Photo: Files

Vietnamese cultural traits are often integrated into the school’s events. Photo: Files

UNIS Hanoi Sports Centre. Photo: Khanh Long / VNP

Story: Bich Van – Photos: Khanh Long & Files