At the beginning of June, Year 12 pupil Carl S travelled to Lisbon to represent the United Kingdom at the 30th International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO). Organized under the auspices of the International Federation of Philosophical Societies and UNESCO, the IPO is a competition for secondary school pupils.

The main objectives of the IPO are to promote philosophy at secondary school level; to contribute to the development of critical, inquisitive and creative thinking; and to encourage personal contacts between young people from different countries in order to foster greater peace and understanding.

This year more than 40 different countries were represented – from the US to the UK, Israel to Japan, with most bringing two pupils and two teachers.

On the first full day of the IPO, pupils were given four hours to write an essay in one of the event’s official languages (English, French, German, or Spanish), other than their own, in response to a philosophical extract given to them. These were then graded and ranked by the accompanying teachers.

Carl did the UK proud, coming 28/88 and receiving an ‘honourable mention’ for his essay, written in German, in response to the following citation from Heraclitus: “Although the logos is common, most people live as though they had their own thought.”