Jeannine Manuel was a French-born Franco-American who joined the French Resistance after the capitulation of France in June 1940 and soon thereafter went to London to join the Free French. At the end of World War II, she returned to France convinced that ignorance breeds fear and that fear is the root cause of human conflict: “The more one knows, the less one fears.” Her vision for a school dedicated to prevent conflict was anchored in this conviction.
And so, after a one-year incubation period as a home schooling experiment, our School was founded in September 1954. The world was beginning to recover from the War, NATO was headquartered in Paris and its presence brought together a hopeful, vibrant international array of families committed to live together and to forever prevent the recurrence of the unequalled horrors of the War. The children of these families were our School’s first students.
Jeannine Manuel’s premise was that “learning a foreign language is, by itself, important; it is also a means to better understand others, to be able to think like them—it provides access to the world.” For her, the aim of education is to help shape “whole” people, by which she meant, “individuals aware of their presence in this world, engaged in its history, and ready to play a part in world affairs.”