Dr. Drury, formerly rector of the St. Stephens Church of Boston, is at present headmaster of St. Paul's School, Concord N. H. He has been particularly interested in a plan for an international exchange of schoolboys, a proposal which has of late attracted national and international interest.
A month ago the CRIMSON made editorial mention of a plan to exchange school boys between our country and foreign lands. It has been suggested that I should further explain this matter, and I am glad to do anything which will convince college men of the important part that schools and colleges can play in the improvement of international relations. The plan which I proposed in my last Annual Report has no doubt been carefully propounded frequently before. I merely wished to make an acutely localized application of a well known theory, viz., that if scholars from varied lands fraternize, later on their voices can be raised toward better understanding between nations. The coming and going of students between universities is centuries old. My little proposal was simply to apply the friendly exchange to school boys. I hoped, and still hope, that five hundred boys of high school age can be brought each year from Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, and the Orient to our shores, here to be welcomed and given a year of education in fifty or more of our best American schools. Further in vision I see one hundred American boys spending a year in the five foreign environments from which our guests have come. I believe that a boy of seventeen or eighteen, who has pretty well finished his preparation for the university, who is mature, alert and reliable, could to very great advantage spend a year in Europe or the Orient. And I also believe that the same type of boy from foreign countries could derive great socializing advantages from a year spent under the best American conditions.
Plan Is not Complicated
This is the whole plan. It is difficult, no doubt, but it is not complicated. European parents will say: Can you give our boys culture? American parents will ask: Can you give our boys protection? Surely these two requirements can be provided. We here can offer a year of great eye-opening advantages to boys from Europe and the Orient in the settled life of our boarding schools. And we ought to be able to find, granted the boys are reliable, sufficient protection in European schools. The greatest benefit accruing to both sides would be, in my judgment, not a distinctly scholastic advancement, but a socialized understanding of the country visited. Years hence the convictions of trust engendered in an impressionable period, plus the friendships made, might enable the visitor as an influential patriot in his own land to rise up and speak with authority on behalf of a patient handling of international affairs.
Schoolmasters are not equipped to conduct the delicate task of effecting the exchange of pupils. They and the schools which they represent, and the trustees which back them, should signify a willingness to welcome foreign boys. An international agency, such as the Junior Red Cross, might then very well undertake the business of selecting the boy representatives on both sides. What American students in school and college should do is to develop the welcoming habit of mind. Then if our schools are permitted to make the generous venture, we students here at home will be ready to do our share in welcoming these youths who a decade or two hence may prove to be throughout their own lands un-official ambassadors of peace.