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 founding of the UWC movement in 1962 was the culmination of Hahn’s thinking about education. Hahn was a pioneer in education, some of his earlier initiatives having included Salem School in Germany and Outward Bound. Then, in 1958, while attending a conference at the NATO Staff College, he was inspired by the cooperation he witnessed between former adversaries from World War II. He thought that if we could educate young people from around the world together, we could prevent future conflicts. From this belief in the power of education to change the world, the UWC movement was born, with a mission to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
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.