In the turbulent world of the 21st century, UWC’s aims and objectives are as relevant today as they were in the past – perhaps even more so.
The UWC movement was conceived in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War.
Dr. Kurt Hahn was a respected German educationalist and the driving force behind the UWC movement. He believed in the power of education as a solution to the conflicts in our world. While speaking at the NATO Defense College in Paris, he was inspired by the way former enemies came together to achieve common goals.
Together with other likeminded idealists, Hahn developed the UWC educational model, the culmination of his thinking about education. His hope was to bring young people together from different nationalities, races, cultures, religions, political systems and socio-economic backgrounds, to live and learn in an environment of mutual respect and understanding. Their hope was for these students to become catalysts of change upon graduation.
Hailed by The Times newspaper as “the most exciting experiment in education since the Second World War,” the first UWC, Atlantic College, opened in 1962 in Wales. The aim was to bring together young people from areas of post-war conflict to act as champions of peace through an education based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding.
Following the opening of UWC Atlantic College, UWC continued to develop and expand.
As of today, 17 UWCs around the world stand with the common aim of promoting a greater understanding between the peoples of the world, providing an education to overcome the conflicts and uncertainties of today and those to come.