ML Tri's background
Mom Luang Tridhosyuth Devakul (Mom Tri), the founder of this campus and the Chairman of the Board of Governors which oversees the operation of Traidhos Three-Generation Community for Learning, received his formal education in the USA. He attended St Albans Cathedral School, Washington DC, did his undergraduate studies at Dartmouth (Magna Cum Laude) and received a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University. Over many years he was associated with summer camps at the Chewonki Institute, Maine, as a student, counsellor and leader.
In the early 1970s, he returned to Thailand as a practising architect and in the late 1970s was a Senator. He saw the tourist potential of Phuket, and was instrumental in the development of an international airport. He also built and owned a number of major hotels. He presently owns the boutique hotel, the Villa Royale, and is a partner in a villa/hotel complex, Trisara, both in Phuket.
The Tridhos Three-Generation School Village (the beginnings of the Campus)
In 1992 Mom Tri lost a young son and was determined to develop a world-class school for Thais, in his son's memory.
In 1994 Mom Tri bought the rice paddy fields on which the present campus has been established. His plan was to build a three-generation school village. The campus would comprise a world-class independent school teaching the Thai curriculum in English. It would be surrounded by apartments which parents could lease.
It was anticipated that most of the parents would be living in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand beyond Chiang Mai - and in many cases it would be the grandparents or other relatives (the extended family) who would be living on campus looking after the children - thus the three-generation concept: child, parent or relative, and grandparent. The older generation was to be seen as an educational source of wisdom, and the setting was to be used to promote healthy living and environmental awareness.
The Tridhos Three-Generation School Village opened in May 1997. Just two months later, an economic crisis overwhelmed Thailand in particular, and Asia in general. The Tridhos School was particularly hard hit. For the next three years it struggled to survive. In the meantime Mom Tri was looking for educational partners to develop a fresh momentum.
The Origin of Traidhos Three-Generation Community for Learning
At this time Geelong Grammar School, Australia, was involved in a joint-venture with the King's mother's foundation, the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, to develop an international boarding school at Doi Tung in the far north of Thailand. Because of the economic crisis, Geelong Grammar was forced to suspend its project. In late 1997 ML Tri started discussions with the Headmaster, Lister Hannah, and in September 1998 the Headmaster and the Chairman of the Geelong Grammar School Council visited and were impressed with the Tridhos campus. In late 1998 the Chairman of the United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) also visited and was similarly impressed.
In early 1999 the UWCSEA agreed to enter an understanding to advise on the development of the Tridhos School along United World College lines. In May 1999, Lister Hannah accepted the position of President of the Traidhos Foundation with the agreement not only to develop a school along UWC lines but also to develop a broader concept: a Centre for International Education.
His Excellency General Prem Tinsulanonda, Commander-in-Chief of the Army in the late 1970s, Prime Minister 1980-88, and since then Privy Counsellor to the King and now President of the Privy Council, the only Thai accorded the title of Statesman, was approached to give his name to the Center. He agreed and the Center became known as Prem Centre.
It was decided that the Tridhos School would close in March 2000. In its place the Prem Tinsulanonda Centre for International Education would come into existence in January 2000.
In 2010 Prem Centre was re-named as the Traidhos Three-Generation Community for Learning. It now includes Prem Tinsulanonda International School (Prem), specialist sporting academies for tennis, golf, cricket and football, a chemical-free farm and a cooking school, a visiting school programmes, camps, an environmental education barge programme, arts programmes, adult wellness programmes, community events, a small hotel and spa and Premburi - a residential estate on the western side of the campus.
Visiting Schools Program
The Visiting Schools Program (VSP) was launched early January 2000 with 300 Grade nine students from the Anglo-Chinese School, Singapore, and seventy Grade 11 UWCSEA students who did their IB Geography fieldwork from Prem Center in March, starting a tradition that continues at Traidhos today.
Today, VSP has over sixty schools involving over 3000 students a year.
It has grown from its foundation of four focuses (cross-cultural activities, environmental sustainability, community service and adventure) to add a fifth focus on leadership and team building. Whilst most schools visit for five days or a week, Kardinia International College, Australia, sent its Grade 9 students for eight weeks, from October 2003 to June 2011 and Think Global School visited for a whole term.
Traidhos Barge Program
The barge program was established by Mom Tri in 1995. The barge - a one-hundred-year old converted teak rice barge with covered decks, an air-conditioned cabin for sleeping, a kitchen and other amenities - was donated several years later to the Magic Eye Foundation who in turn gave it back to the Prem Center in 2005.
Today as part of Traidhos, it provides a floating classroom which travels the Chao Phraya River between Bangkok and Ayutthaya studying its ecosystems, culture and history. The program has now expanded to land-based programs and the study of the river's watershed: mountains to the sea!
The Barge Program welcomes over 4000 students and adults from international or Thai schools each year.
Between 2005 and 2007 specialist sporting academies for tennis, cricket and golf were created. They, with the farm and the cooking school established by Su Mei Yu in 2008, have created a unique educational experience.
International Baccalaureate Workshops
The first IB Asia Pacific workshops were run at the campus in March 2001, before the school had opened. A number of PYP and MYP workshops drew nearly 300 teachers over ten days.
In January 2002 PYP, MYP and Diploma workshops were held on successive weekends. This has become an annual occasion and draws roughly 250 teachers from seventy schools in twenty countries each year. Since January 2003 the IB has franchised Prem to organise and administer these workshops.