SAAS is back! First of all, I want to apologize for my long absence because a year ago I won a scholarship from UWC (UNITED WORLD COLLEGES) to study a two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma curriculum, I don’t know if someone out there is aware of what the IB program is all about or the UWC as a whole. UWC educational system is not just all about the IB program but, far more than that, it is a global education movement that makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. Central to the ethos of UWC is the belief that education can bring together young people from all backgrounds based on their shared humanity, to engage with the possibility of social change through courageous action, personal example and selfless leadership. To achieve this, UWC colleges all over the world deliver a challenging, transformational and educational experience to a deliberately diverse group of young people, inspiring them to become agents of positive change in line with UWC’s core values:
- International and intercultural understanding
- Celebration of difference
- Personal responsibility and integrity
- Mutual responsibility and respect
- Compassion and service
- Respect for the environment
- A sense of idealism
- Personal challenge
- Action and personal example
Today, UWC has 18 schools and colleges on four continents, the majority of which focus exclusively on the 16-19-year-old age group: a time when young people’s energy and idealism can be guided towards empathy, responsibility and lifelong action. These colleges teach the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma as their formal curriculum, a qualification that UWC played a significant part in developing, while also emphasizing the importance of experiential learning, community service, and outdoor activities.
UWC college students are selected domestically, in more than 155 countries, through UWC’s unique national committee system. Selection is based on demonstrated promise and potential.Following the UWC ethos that education should be independent of the student’s socioeconomic means, 70% of students in their IB Diploma years receive either full or partial financial assistance, based on their needs. UWC also runs shorter educational programs – conducted at the campuses of its 18 schools and colleges and beyond – increasing the number of people who can have access to a UWC educational experience. UWC fosters a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and, to date, it has inspired a worldwide network of more than 60,000 alumni, who believe it is possible to take action and make a difference locally, nationally and internationally.
UWC History & Founding Ideas
In the turbulent world of the 21st century, UWC’s aims and objectives are as relevant today as they were in 1962 – perhaps even more so.
UWC was founded in 1962 when Atlantic College in south Wales, UK admitted its first students. At a time when the Cold War was at its height, the aim was to bring together young people from different nations to act as champions of peace through an education based on shared learning, collaboration, and understanding.
UWC’s educational concept was based on the ideas of German educationalist Kurt Hahn, one of the founding fathers of the UWC movement. Hahn believed that school should be a preparation for life, not just for university, and that education should help students to develop resilience and the ability to experience failure as well as success.
The creation in 1962 of Atlantic College was Kurt Hahn’s final achievement in a lifetime of educational pioneering. His earlier initiatives had included Salem School in Germany, Gordonstoun School in Scotland, Outward Bound and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. In 1955 he visited the NATO Defense College in Paris where he was inspired by the cooperation and loyalty to a common cause that he witnessed among military men who had been adversaries in World War Two. This, and his rapidly developing relationship with the Commandant, Lawrance Darvall, led directly to the concept of Atlantic College, the world’s first international, two-year “Sixth Form” College for teenagers aged 16-19. Thus was laid the foundation of the UWC movement. A few years later Lord Mountbatten, UWC’s International President from 1968-1977, pressed for the expansion of the UWC’s role beyond its original West European and North American context, establishing an international office in London and an International Council, and the growing movement was renamed the United World Colleges.
Since then UWC has been firmly committed to providing students with a challenging and transformational educational experience to inspire them to become agents of positive change and to create a more peaceful and sustainable future.
If you want to know more about UWC, please visit their website: