Celebrating Diversity, Independence and Peace: UWC Day 2017

Every year 21 September is a big day for the UWC Dilijan community – this is a day of triple importance. UWC Day, Armenian Independence Day and Peace Day, all three, so in line with the mission of the movement, call for a big celebration. This is the day when everyone with a heart from UWC Dilijan heads into the city and, together with the people of Dilijan, add some flavour to the city mixing languages, dances and songs. The day was filled with a variety of events organised together with the Dilijan Community Centre and brought together youngsters of Dilijan and international students in a joyful celebration of this significant for both the city and the College day.

Watch the video here.

This year, the day started with a refreshing run, or a jog for some, around the town. Afterwards, it was time for some music. What was originally planned to be a showcase of dance from different nations, in the end turned out to be one big group dance, where everyone did their best to improvise and catch the moves. The Dilijan Community Centre "Nazani" dance ensemble and theatre troupe brought everyone together in a The students in turn showed the city how they give a warm welcome at UWC Dilijan – the already traditional flash mob dance was performed in the main square. All the activities were interspersed with flag waving, hugs, smiles and chanting.

Rhi-Zone, a project by UWC Dilijan students, with an environmental and social focus, organised a workshop for the local kids. The workshop was aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of replacing plastic bags with reusable cloth bags; local children also got the chance to design their own tote bags and t-shirts.

Another group of students launched a video campaign to support and raise awareness of the growing Rohingya crisis, where over 400,000 displaced people have been forced to flee their homes. Students and staff joined the call of those raising awareness of this pressing topic under the hashtag #IamwithRohingya.

During the UWC Ceremony that took place back in the College, students shared their experience as UWCers, and through their music and poems, told stories of why they appreciate being a part of the UWC movement, why it is important to bring these values to the entire world. For the celebration of UWC Day and Peace Day, a group of students had got together with the One Day One Choir choral initiative to join their voices to the thousands out there, singing for peace. The One Day One Choir initiative was established in 2014 as a response to growing unrest and conflict in the world: the idea was simple - to create the largest ‘choir’ in the world, singing for unity and peace. Since then, more than a million people from over 50 countries have joined the initiative. This year, 213 students from UWC Dilijan made their contribution to the initiative.

Of course, every family gathering ends with a group photo to capture the joy of the day and the smiling faces. This year’s group photo was unusual in that it didn’t include many faces: the drone photo shot from a bird’s eye view captured the 213 students gathered to form “UWCD 2017”. A task, which seemed almost impossible at first, was completed through one coordinated team effort. From the high mountains and thick forests of Dilijan we say happy UWC Day to everyone in our big family in every corner of the Earth.