This week, a brand new crop of scholars arrived at United World Faculty of the Atlantic, a small boarding college in a Twelfth-century citadel on the coast of Wales. However in contrast to most years, the group of scholars arriving in Glamorgan from all over the world consists of two members of European royalty, Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, and Princess Leonor of Asturias, the inheritor presumptive to the Spanish throne. Each youngsters have been photographed saying goodbye to their households earlier than touring on Monday. Alexia was carrying a plaid cape within the snapshot her mother and father posted to social media, whereas Spain’s whole royal household was seen escorting Leonor to the airport with a small suitcase.
The college has been dubbed a type of “hippie Hogwarts” by the press, referring to its historical environment and considerably eclectic course choices, akin to Tai Chi, sustainability research, and management. The nickname appears thus far again to 2018, when one other princess, Elisabeth of Belgium, enrolled on the college. Louise Callaghan, an alumna who went on to function a overseas correspondent for The Sunday Occasions, seemingly coined it in an essay explaining the college’s enchantment. “It’s a bit like a hippie Hogwarts: stuffed with oddballs who suppose they’re preventing the forces of darkness. There are additionally ghosts. Woman Stradling haunts the historical past tower, and the scent of lavender and a lilac mist precedes her apparition,” she wrote. “The ethos is, broadly, that individuals from all around the world can get alongside if you happen to shove them collectively in a citadel. That a lot we proved, some very passionately.”
So for the subsequent two years, Leonor and Alexia will take a well-rounded and rigorous set of coursework, in the end fulfilling the necessities for an Worldwide Baccalaureate diploma. However in keeping with The Telegraph, courses normally finish at round 1 p.m., giving the scholars a chance to spend their afternoons kayaking, doing archery, caving, tending to vegetation within the greenhouse, and educating sports activities to native schoolchildren with the undulating hills of the Vale of Glamorgan as a backdrop. The scholars sleep 4 to a room in modest dormitories with pitched roofs, some newly constructed and others with uncovered stone partitions from the citadel itself.
On the one hand, it makes excellent sense that the royal households of Europe, themselves relics of the previous, would wish to ship their youngsters to a faculty that appears so fancifully odd. Nonetheless, each Leonor and Elisabeth are on observe to grow to be the monarchs of their nations—wouldn’t they be first in line for essentially the most elite academic establishments on the planet?
But it surely seems that the college, which is a part of a consortium of 18 sixth-form schools in numerous nations, is part of a bigger ideological program to advertise cooperation all over the world and has royal roots. It’s also well-known for its efforts to recruit proficient college students from harmful conditions all over the world—two of Malala Yousafzai’s associates from the time she was attacked by the Taliban later enrolled—and thru fundraising, offers lots of its college students with scholarships. It’s not the one place these princesses may have gone to get a basic English boarding college expertise, but it surely is perhaps the one one that might ask them to consider internationalism and the category divide, whereas additionally having some enjoyable within the woods.
Queen Elizabeth at present serves because the UWC’s president, alongside former Queen Noor of Jordan, however the Windsor clan’s affect on the college goes again to the very starting. The college was based in 1962 by a gaggle of academics and diplomats led by the educator Kurt Hahn who wished to plot an academic program that might put together college students for a college alongside group service initiatives and peace promotion. Hahn, a German Jew, was the headmaster at Salem—younger Prince Philip’s first boarding college—when he was exiled from his residence nation after talking out in opposition to the Nazi regime. Finally, with the assistance of the British authorities and some high-placed associates, he arrived in Scotland and began the Gordonstoun Faculty, the place Philip grew to become one of many first pupils. He liked his time on the college, and later despatched Prince Charles, who didn’t get pleasure from it, as soon as reportedly evaluating it to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Hahn was an advocate of outdoor-based studying, and the environment on the college, which as soon as reportedly didn’t have any central heating, may sometimes be brutal. However Hahn was admired for his emphasis on character-based training, and finally helped to discovered the Outward Sure and the Duke of Edinburgh Award alongside Philip.
In accordance with Alec Peterson, one of many faculty’s earliest administrators, the concept for Atlantic Faculty happened when Hahn attended a NATO educator’s summit in 1957 and mentioned his concepts for utilizing training to attain peace in the course of the Chilly Conflict. In his guide, Colleges Throughout Frontiers: The Story of the Worldwide Baccalaureate and the United World Faculties, Peterson notes that the founders of this system understood that governments throughout Europe have been staffed by individuals who went to the identical elite faculties and tended to type an “outdated boys’ community.” With Atlantic, the objective was to refashion this into one thing extra international and inclusive by fundraising extensively for scholarships, specializing in a values-based curriculum, and by 1970, inviting ladies to attend as college students. The college discovered its residence in St. Donat’s Fortress, an empty mansion on the seaside that was as soon as owned by William Randolph Hearst.
Now, the Worldwide Baccalaureate curriculum is a well-established phenomenon present in private and non-private faculties all over the world, however within the early years of Atlantic, there was no option to set up faculty readiness in a manner that might fulfill a number of nations without delay. Understanding that they’d not be capable to appeal to college students from all over the world with out guaranteeing their entry into their residence college programs, wherever these is perhaps, they determined to begin a company to design and promote a global curriculum, which grew to become the IB. With Hahn’s assist, they enlisted Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, to fundraise and journey the world to debate Atlantic’s curriculum and methods it may grow to be standardized all over the world. As extra faculties started to affix the Atlantic’s community, it grew to become generally known as United World Faculties, and Mountbatten served as its first president.