Alexandra Shackleton visits Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong
Granddaughter of Renowned UK Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
The Honourable Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of renowned Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, visited Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong on 12 September 2018. She spoke to five different student groups, as well as Dulwich parents, as part of the school’s Shackleton Lecture series.
“The students were inspired by the leadership qualities described in the lecture and further discussion will take place on how our students can exemplify these through their daily life.” remarked Ms Caroline Taylor, Head of School at Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong.
This was the fourth annual Shackleton Lecture. These talks have so far featured stories from expeditioners and explorers who made exceptional journeys over air, land, and sea, and in doing so demonstrated the extraordinary capacity of human beings.
Ms Shackleton’s talks focused on her grandfather’s series of Antarctic expeditions, emphasizing his strong leadership qualities of endurance, courage and teamwork. “In his 1907 Nimrod Expedition, he made it to 100 miles of the South Pole before circumstances forced him to turn back,” shared Ms Shackleton. “When asked by his wife why he turned back, he said, ‘I thought you’d rather have a live donkey than a dead lion.’”
The apex of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s exploration career was the 1914-1916 Trans-Antarctic Expedition, in which the team’s ship, the Endurance, got caught in an ice floe and was eventually crushed. Although the expedition did not reach the South Pole, after an arduous journey of 800 miles in a lifeboat and an overland trek across South Georgia Island, Shackleton’s outstanding leadership led to the rescue of his entire 28-man crew. “Although the expedition did not reach its goal, the manner of failure made him immortal,” reflected Ms. Shackleton.
Dulwich Pudong students Tomomasa, Sam, Alice, and Bella had the special opportunity to interview Ms Shackleton, asking questions like:
- What were the key steps Sir Ernest had to respect in order to survive in Antarctica?
- Why do you think Shackleton’s story is relevant to young people today?
- Shackleton was an Old Alleynian himself, having attended Dulwich College. How does it feel to be touring Dulwich College International schools and speaking to students, including Heads of “Shackleton House”, across Asia?
The Shackleton Lectures are one of the highest profile events in the school’s calendar, bringing the most fascinating people to share their stories with students. These talks reinforce the values of grit, determination, and courage, and demonstrate how these qualities, along with a sense of adventure, can be applied in everyday life.