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UK: Member of Maharishi Free School committee honoured by the Queen
by Global Good News staff writer
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13 January 2012
One of the members of the committee working to establish two new Maharishi Free Schools in the UK was recently honoured by the Queen.
Every year on New Year's Day, Queen Elizabeth II recognizes a group of citizens for their outstanding work. This list, called the New Year's Honours List, includes people receiving the honour of knighthood, OBE, and CBE.
This year, the Queen recognized Dr Ian Birnbaum with an OBE, or Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Dr Birnbaum is a former Council officer who worked for many years with local government in the London Borough of Sutton. In addition, he also worked closely with the Department for Education in developing new policies for schools throughout England.
According to an article in the Ormskirk & Skelmersdale Advertiser, 'During his time in Sutton, Dr Birnbaum led on several initiatives, including devising and implementing the first computerised schools' coordinated admissions system.'
The article also described Dr Birnbaum's involvement with the Transcendental Meditation Programme in the area, reporting that he moved to Skelmersdale, West Lancashire, after his retirement so that his daughter could attend the original Maharishi School in the UK, which was established there 25 years ago.
About his new life in Skelmersdale and the quality of education that Maharishi School provides, Dr Birnbaum said, 'I feel very settled here. We came because my daughter was moving to secondary school and we wanted her to go the Maharishi School.* We believe it offers an excellent education and she's very happy there.'
He was so impressed with the quality of education that he is now working closely with the leaders of the Maharishi Free School to establish two new schools in the UK. In this undertaking, Dr Birnbaum lends his knowledge and experience from his years of work with the education system, and this high honour he has received also lends dignity to his participation in the project.
* Maharishi School in Lancashire was one of the first 24 schools in the UK to receive government approval to open as a Free School last September.
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