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Church to groom world leaders

AN ambitious plan for a new international college to groom tomorrow's world leaders in a community of friendship, has just been unveiled at the 18th world conference of the international Methodist Church.

At a breakfast meeting at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, Baroness Richardson of Calow, a former president of the Methodist Conference, revealed that, over the past two years, a church working party has developed the idea of establishing an international residential college in the Midlands within easy reach of an international airport.

The institution for 16 to 19-year-olds, which is hoped to open by 2005, would educate students from countries throughout the world.

Brian Greenwood, chairman of the International Methodist Church working party, said that about pound;50 million had to be raised to build the college and create a programme of scholarships and bursaries. Appeals will be made to the world's richest people as well as to leading international corporations.

The college would draw students from a wide range of social, ethnic and faith backgrounds with 300 students initially, but this could rise to 500. Some students would pay fees, while others would enjoy bursaries. Academic standards would be high.

It would offer the two-year International Baccalaureate but also draw on the extra-curricular tradition of English independent schools and offer drama, music and sport. A third year would be taken by students who need to improve their English language skills before embarking on the IB.

The curriculum, to include politics, business, languages, information and communications technology and ethics, would help to prepare students become leaders in the international business community as well as in politics, finance and the church.

Mr Greenwood said the future president of Argentina could be educated alongside the future president of Ghana. The college would be a cross between a British public school and a modern university, he added.

The curriculum would be underpinned by the Methodist church's moral and ethical views that are found in the country's 14 Methodist secondary schools and 57 primaries. The college chapel would be at the heart of college life but all major world faiths would be studied.

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