United World Colleges
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|Type||Schools, colleges and short educational programmes|
United Kingdom, Llantwit Major, Wales
UWC Atlantic College
Pearson College UWC
UWC South East Asia
(founded 1971, joined UWC 1975)
Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa
(founded 1963, joined UWC 1981)
United States, Montezuma, New Mexico
Hong Kong, Wu Kai Sha
Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong
UWC Red Cross Nordic
UWC Mahindra College
Costa Rica, Santa Ana
UWC Costa Rica
(founded 2000, joined UWC 2006)
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar
The Netherlands, Maastricht
(founded 1984, joined UWC 2009)
UWC Robert Bosch College
UWC Changshu China
(founded 2008, joined UWC 2016)
Japan, Karuizawa, Nagano
UWC ISAK Japan
(founded 2014, joined UWC 2017)
UWC (or United World Colleges) is a global educational movement with the mission to "make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future." Originally founded in 1962 to bridge social, national and cultural divides caused by the Cold War, today UWC consists of 17 schools and colleges on four continents, several short educational programmes, and national committees in 159 countries and territories worldwide. The UWC movement's international arm is UWC International, a UK registered charity. UWC International is governed by the UWC International Board and the UWC International Council. The executive arm of the UWC International Board is the UWC International Office, located in London, United Kingdom.
Founded and inspired by the pioneering German educationalist Kurt Hahn, the UWC movement brings deliberately diverse students from around the world to study together. Most of UWC's 17 schools and colleges exclusively offer two-year residential programmes, for young people aged 16–19 years, during which they complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.
Four UWC schools (UWC Thailand, UWC South East Asia in Singapore, UWC Maastricht in the Netherlands and Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa in Swaziland) also offer non-residential educational programmes for younger students.
Most UWC students are selected through UWC's system of national committees, which operate in 159 countries and territories as of early 2018. Selection is based on merit, independent of the students' socio-economic background. A majority of national committee-selected students pursuing the IB Diploma at a UWC school or college receive financial assistance from UWC, based on their socio-economic needs.
Two-year residential UWC colleges typically have between 200 and 300 students, from approximately 80-100 different countries.
The first UWC college, UWC Atlantic College in Wales, United Kingdom, was founded in 1962 by Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist who had previously founded Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, Gordonstoun in Scotland, and the Outward Bound movement.
Hahn envisaged a college educating boys and girls aged 16 to 20. The selection would be based on personal motivation and potential, regardless of any social, economic or cultural factors. A scholarship programme would facilitate the recruitment of young people from different socio-economic backgrounds.
There are currently 17 UWC schools and colleges in operation. UWC Simón Bolivar was a member of the movement until its closing in 2012 by the Venezuelan government. The location and opening date for each UWC school and college is given below:
- UWC Atlantic College (Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom), 1962
- Pearson College UWC (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), 1974 
- UWC South East Asia (Singapore), founded 1971, joined UWC 1975
- Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa (Mbabane, Swaziland), founded 1963, joined UWC 1981
- UWC-USA (Montezuma, New Mexico, United States), 1982
- UWC Adriatic (Duino, Italy), 1982
- Simón Bolívar United World College of Agriculture (Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela), founded 1986, joined UWC 1987, closed 2012
- Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong (Wu Kai Sha, Hong Kong), 1992
- UWC Red Cross Nordic (Flekke, Norway), 1995
- UWC Mahindra College (Village Khubavali, India), 1997
- UWC Costa Rica (Santa Ana, Costa Rica), founded 2000, joined UWC 2006
- UWC Mostar (Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina), 2006
- UWC Maastricht (Maastricht, Netherlands), founded 1984, joined UWC 2009
- UWC Robert Bosch College (Freiburg, Germany), 2014
- UWC Dilijan (Dilijan, Armenia), 2014
- UWC Changshu China (Changshu, China), 2015
- UWC Thailand (Phuket, Thailand), founded 2008, joined UWC 2016
- UWC ISAK Japan (Karuizawa, Japan), founded 2014, joined UWC 2017
The current President of UWC is Queen Noor of Jordan (1995–present). Former South African President Nelson Mandela was joint President (1995-1999) alongside Queen Noor, and subsequently Honorary President of UWC (1999-2013). Former UWC presidents are Lord Mountbatten (1967–1978) and Prince Charles (1978–1995).
UWC values experiential learning alongside providing its 16-19-year-old students with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, an internationally recognised educational programme developed in close collaboration with UWC in the late 1960s. The IB Diploma Programme aims "to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically." The mission statement of the International Baccalaureate, the organisation behind the IB Diploma Programme, is similar to the mission of UWC, testament to the close link between the two organisations: "to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect."
A core component of the IB Diploma Programme is its focus on Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) programming: while undertaking the IB Diploma Programme at UWC schools and colleges, students participate in various activities that encourage these traits, with a concentration on community service and social justice.
Distinct from UWC colleges, there are four UWC schools that in addition to offering the IB Diploma Programme in a residential setting for students aged 16–19 also admit students into lower years. Younger students are taught using a number of different curricula based on the UWC educational model, and some offer the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). UWC Maastricht, UWC South East Asia, UWC Thailand and Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa are all full UWC schools.
UWC also runs shorter educational programmes, called "short courses." These shorter programmes are often hosted on UWC school and college campuses during breaks in the regular academic year, although some are conducted in countries where there is no existing UWC school or college, such as the UWC short course in Turkey. UWC short courses increase the number of (mostly) young people who have access to a UWC educational experience.
Each UWC school and college offers activities in line with the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) programme integral to the IB Diploma Programme and a UWC education. Examples of CAS activities across UWC school and college campuses include:
- Cultural visits
- Scuba diving
- Assisting refugees
- Farming and gardening
- Assisting people with disabilities
Admission to the two-year residential IB Diploma Programme at UWC schools and colleges (ages 16–19)
Most applicants who wish to study the IB Diploma Programme at a UWC school or college must apply to the UWC movement through its national committee system. There are UWC national committees in 159 countries and territories worldwide, and most are run by teams of volunteers, many of whom are UWC alumni themselves. UWC national committees are mandated to promote the UWC movement in their respective countries, seek out eligible applicants to the UWC movement, select students to attend UWC schools and colleges and prepare their selected students for the UWC experience. Some UWC national committees also run short courses or programmes to engage with students in their respective countries.
In most cases, applicants to the IB Diploma Programme at UWC must apply via the national committee in their country of residence or citizenship. Applications to UWC national committees are addressed to the UWC movement, rather than an individual UWC school or college, meaning that although applicants can usually list their preferred UWC schools or colleges, the individual UWC national committees reserve the right to nominate a candidate for any UWC college or school at their discretion, depending on availability and a variety of other factors.
Over 60% of students pursuing the IB Diploma Programme at UWC schools or colleges selected through the UWC national committee system receive need-based financial aid, allowing admission to the UWC movement to be independent of socio-economic means and available to all students regardless of their background.
In some cases when it is not possible for an applicant to apply to UWC via their country's national committee, for example, when there is no UWC national committee in either an applicant's country of residence or in their country of citizenship, applicants may be able to apply directly to one of the seventeen UWC schools and colleges to study the IB Diploma Programme. Not all UWC schools and colleges accept direct applications, and usually scholarship funding is not available to direct applicants.
Admission to full UWC schools for younger students
Admission to full UWC schools for younger students is handled by the schools themselves, and independently of the UWC national committee system.
- Politics and government
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- UWC Official website
- UWC student magazine
- A collection of nearly 400 blogs by current and former students
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