Brummana School, Lebanon
Brummana High School (BHS) lies 735 metres above Beirut, It was started when the Swiss missionary, Theopholus Waldermier moved there in 1873. He opened Training schools for both boys and girls.
Local Lebanese became Quakers and formed Brummana Monthly Meeting whose connection to Quakers worldwide, and particularly UK were a major resource for staff and curriculum. A beautiful Meeting House is one of the School’s buildings. Today there is a small Quaker community supporting the school, particularly through membership of the Governing Board and as trustees and staff.
Brummana High School pioneered a unique multi-faith co-educational approach in Lebanon adapting the English Quaker boarding school model. The curriculum was international and the extra-curricula and weekend activities created the bond between pupils and with staff.
The seventeen years of war from 1982 affected the school greatly. Responsibility for it was handed to a local Cultural Society, mostly Old Scholars, with representation of Quakers among them, until Quakers in Britain became directly involved again in the late 1990s, through the Quaker International Education Trust (QuIET). QuIET is an independent UK-registered charity, formed preponderantly of British and Lebanese Quakers appointed by the Europe & Middle East Section of the world Quaker body, FWCC. The Trustees appoint the Lebanese Board of Governors.
Although nowadays there are few Quakers on the staff, the administration and teachers actively try to promote a Quaker ethos within the school. They create a caring, tolerant mutually respectful atmosphere which parents find quite tangible. BHS’ emphasis on the four key Quaker testimonies to Peace, Equality, Truth and Simplicity supports and encourages each to find ‘that of God’ in others.
Long ago the School was given a 55 hectare plot of land in the Chouf mountains, and this is now available to be developed as a resource and facility, both agricultural and ecological.
Most importantly, this Quaker educational establishment has made for very positive attitudes among its hundreds of alumni worldwide. To quote briefly statements by three of them:
Last but not least “I Serve” was and still is the motto that is being exercised by all the men and women who passed through BHS.”
“….(We) were taught the Founders' beliefs to live simply with each other, to love each other, to obtain simplicity as a way of life, to be disciplined in our daily behaviour, and to serve our friends and society…… these beliefs … have taught us to base our behaviour on action, not words, and to face problems and solve them, not hide them and fail.”