Our Legacy

Learning and Serving in New Delhi since 1952

We’ve come a long way since our students brought their own desks to school or studied in a building known as the ‘Taj’. But when roots are deep, ‘coming a long way’ can still lead you back to where your AES story began.  

The vision for AES was born when a small group of Americans, living and working in New Delhi in the early 1950’s, decided to establish an American-style school for their children. One brave teacher launched the program in a single classroom with 12 children spanning six grades. 

In 1960, the school changed its name to American International School to reflect the growing diversity of nationalities within the community and the exhilaration it brought. Shortly after, in 1963, the school moved to its current campus in Chanakyapuri. The original stone buildings remain today, taking their shape through the inspired work of renowned American architect Joseph Allen Stein.

During that decade, we cheered our teams as Tigers for the first time and opened a boarding section that offered a decade of residential life on campus for American students whose parents were stationed in the sub-continent ‘from Colombo to Kathmandu.’ 

In 1973 the school was re-named as the American Embassy School (AES), due to its primary relationship with the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. Thus began many decades of stability, growth and innovation. As the school gained a global reputation, the high school was accredited. 

In the first half of the ‘80’s AES sealed its commitment to a rigorous dual curricular program in high school by re-introducing the  Advanced Placement (AP) program and adding the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

With foresight, the 1990’s launched a building phase on campus. Construction began on the new middle school and elementary school buildings. During this frenzy of construction the high school and faculty housing also underwent major remodeling. 

AES celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2002, with a Golden Jubilee that brought many decades of alumni back to campus with an enthusiasm and affection that every AES Tiger can still experience today.  

During this time, former Director, Robert Hetzel, Ph.D.  accurately summarized the constant now and future of AES when he said: 

What has never changed is a commitment to excellence in learning and preparing young people to create a better world. The core values provide an unshakable foundation that allows AES to adapt to external challenges and opportunities while never losing its identity and sense of mission.Robert Hetzel, Former Director

AES school history photo

Words from the Past

New Delhi and AES [were] not just a place, but a way of life. Those that went there will always remember it and reference the times. New Delhi was the best. -Paul Aronhime 1977-1984

I loved the early morning in India; the sounds of the country awakening to a new day. On the weekends, we’d pack a bunch of AIS’ers into one [auto-rickshaw], pay the driver extra and go to the movies. -R. Butani 1967-1969


Over the decades, teachers, leaders and families built the school’s values and reputation. This remains true today, as the common thread to AES success has always been ‘the human element’.   


In every decade, honored guests added excitement and intrigue to campus. Among them, AES welcomed U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bill Clinton; Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi; and many more distinguished guests such as Norman Rockwell, Coretta Scott King, Jacqueline Kennedy, Kirk Douglas, Gregory Peck, Muhammad Ali, Buckminster Fuller and HH the Dalai Lama.

AES old campus picture