A presentation on the topic of ‘refugees’ evidently touched a nerve – St Gilgen private school donated 2,000 Euros to the aid organisation

Reflections on StGIS Inspiring People Volume 5 - Jordan Hattar

Interesting workshops, presentations and background knowledge on the topic of refugees impressed the students at St Gilgen International School. The private school welcomed two special guests, American Jordan Hattar (25), founder of the aid organisation and Saria Samaki (21) a refugee from Syria, for a four-day visit. Both guests spoke about their experiences in the past few years.

The content of each workshop, tailored to the age of the students, was organised by Leaza May, Head of World Studies and teacher of Economics at St Gilgen International School. “Our students were deeply moved by the life stories and experiences of our guests, who were both visiting Austria for the very first time”, Leaza May explained, delighted with the positive response from the students. “The aim of our private school is to teach our students to be open-minded and to raise tolerant individuals. Presentations like this help us enormously to achieve that.”

Jordan Hatter, who has been giving presentations since 1981, has visited over 15 countries and with his aid organisation ( helps refugee camps on the border with Syria, as well as the world’s biggest refugee camp Zaatari in Jordan, supplying medical aid and special living containers. The enormous “container village” Zaatari, is located in the Jordanian desert and is, at present with almost 80,000 inhabitants, the fourth largest town in Jordan.

Saria Samika was kidnapped and tortured by Assad soldiers in 2012 at the age of 15 for no reason. He tells powerfully of his release and subsequent kidnapping by Rebels, who suspected he was a spy. After a close call with death, he managed to flee to Jordan. Today, Saria lives with his family in Amman and attends one of the best schools in Jordan, to which he won a scholarship. Students, parents, teachers and sponsors of St Gilgen International School decided to contribute to the cause. They raised a total of 2,000 Euros to support, which will enable the aid organisation to provide children in refugee camps with medical supplies. “We shall remain in contact with Jordan Hattar and Saria Samika and in 2018 we would like to continue to host more workshops” Leaza May explained.


Wings for Life CEO Anita Gerhardter visits St. Gilgen.

St. Gilgen International School is organising a virtual Wings for Life World Run on the Wolfgangsee.

Anita Gerhardter, director of the Wings for Life foundation, was the most recent visitor to St. Gilgen as part of the St. Gilgen International School “Inspiring People” lecture series. She gave a presentation to the students on her work with spinal cord research.  

Wings for Life is a long-standing passion for Anita Gerhardter, who coordinates activities, initiates various projects and manages many partnerships. Always at the forefront of her mind is the organisation surrounding the next Wings for Life World Run.  

Miss Gerhardter, who is delighted by the overwhelming interest in this unusual running event, explained “On the 6th May at 13:00 (CET) the start gun will be fired to signify the synchronised start for thousands of runners worldwide, taking part in this year’s Wings for Life World Run. The number of participants is so large for some running events, in Vienna for example, that there are no longer any competitor start numbers available. As an alternative, there is the option to take part in the world run using a smartphone app.” St. Gilgen International School is one of 150 worldwide organisations hosting a so-called “App-Run.”   Anita Gerhardter was delighted to receive a donation in the sum of 1000 Euros from the students of the private school; revenue created from last year’s charity run.


Louis Lewitan, author of the book “Stressless”, gives tips to overcome stressful situations

With the new year in full swing, the “Inspiring People” lecture series is back at St. Gilgen International School

Reflections on StGIS Inspiring People Volume 9 - Louis Lewitan

Stress is important and signifies vitality, Louis Lewitan, the French-German Stress Expert, psychologist and Management Advisor explained during his visit to St. Gilgen International School.  During special workshops, the psychologist inspired students with ways in which they can convert stressful situations into positive energy.

“There is no such thing as a life without stress. Whether you are a student, teacher, professional athlete or top manager – no one can escape stress.” Mr. Lewitan, who was born in Lyon but resides in Munich, has a long-standing career as a consultant and counsellor, working with influential managers from various sectors. “It is important to recognise how stressful situations influence us, and what we can do to positively channel negative energy. A person who is unaffected by stress, is by definition dead.”

Stress is not an illness and also not a sign of weakness.
Mr. Lewitan, who regularly interviews prominent politicians, entrepreneurs and artists for the renowned “Zeit Magazin”, views stress as a normal reaction to the many challenges of daily life. In fact, positive stress can be useful and inspiring. “Stress itself is not the problem. Stress is not an illness and also not a sign of weakness. It comes down to interpretation, but above all, the possible ways in which we can cope and whether the stress is perceived as positive or negative”, the trained psychologist revealed. 

The Author of “Stressless” gave the following advice when it comes to managing stress in a positive way: “it is important to differentiate between what is essential and non-essential, and to prioritise things; to challenge oneself, but not to constantly push oneself beyond his or her own limit. The following can help accomplish positive stress management; self-composure, respecting oneself and environment, as well as the people around us.”  Louis Lewitan’s final advice to the students was to “occasionally switch their mobile phones to silent or place them on the side for an hour.”

What is your StGIS story? Episode 2

Our stories are an authentic expression of our culture, our values and our mission.

Our stories are our living memories. They are an authentic expression of our culture, our values and our mission. Whilst an organisational mission statement can summarize an approach or an ideal, a story is the embodiment of this. The passing on of stories is one of the oldest and earliest forms of education. Narrated by those who experienced them, we will be publishing a series of videos to capture these stories and provide a unique insight into life at StGIS.