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The Arab world's best and brightest young people will soon have a new option for top-notch Western schooling, and they won't have to trek all the way to London or New England to get it.
At the behest of Jordan's King Abdullah II, the King's Academy private boarding school was founded in recent weeks just outside Amman and expects to open its doors to students for the first time in the fall of 2007.
The school has a completely non-discriminatory admission policy, school chairman Dr. Safwan Masri told The Jerusalem Post. Asked if this meant that the school would accept not just Arab children but also Israeli Jews, Masri affirmed that no application would be rejected based on geography, ethnicity or religion.
"The King's Academy is committed to diversity" and to a "merit-based acceptance policy," emphasized school spokeswoman Vera Azar, but she wondered, "Would Israeli students even think of applying to a Jordanian boarding school?"
The school is modeled on Deerfield Academy, the prestigious American boarding school in Massachusetts at which Abdullah II spent his high school years.
According to King's Academy officials, the king sees the school as "the realization of a long-held dream of combining the academic rigor, ethics and values" he experienced at Deerfield Academy in a Jordanian boarding school.
Part of the concept behind the school, according to Azar, is to offer families - who otherwise might send their gifted students to the West in order to give them the finest education possible - the option to send them to a top-notch boarding school in an "Arab framework."
"The King's Academy offers the best an American prep school education [has to offer] in a Middle Eastern context, with Arab culture, language, tradition and history," she said.
The school will be expensive. Several payment tracks are available depending on the level of board a student requires, including full boarding, weekday boarding and attending it as a day school. Students attending on the full boarding track will have to pay some $28,000 per year.