UWC was founded in 1962, when German educator Kurt Hahn founded Atlantic College was opened in Wales with the vision of bringing together young people whose experience was of the political conflict of the Cold War era. By offering an educational experience based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding it was intended that the students would act as champions of peace. We remain committed to this goal today but have expanded our reach to embrace the tensions and conflicts that exist within as well as between societies.
The UWC network is comprised of 17 colleges around the world, coordinated by the International Board. Each college has its own identity but they all share a commitment to the UWC mission and common characteristics welcoming students from a deliberately diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. At UWC, diversity extends to differences in socio economic background, culture, race and religion as well as nationality. UWC students are united in their commitment to positive social action to build a more equitable and fairer world. UWC has played a major role in helping develop the International Baccalaureate, which provides both the academic program for the colleges and the international university entry examinations taken by graduating students. UWC places strong emphasis on community service activities, in the belief that understanding between peoples cannot be created in the classroom alone.
Today, more than 50,000 students from over 180 countries have studied at UWC schools and colleges and there are over 150 national committees. A UWC education reaches far beyond a student’s time at a UWC school or college or on a UWC short programme. Our students share a lifelong commitment to our values. Many see their time in our classrooms and on our campuses as the beginning of their UWC journey: a transformational time in which they find ways to achieve a more peaceful and sustainable future – a commitment that will continue throughout their adult lives as UWC alumni.