These principles draw their inspiration from Kurt Hahn’s pioneering work in founding the UWC movement.
Though set within the context of Hahn’s original thought, these principles reflect the intervening 50 years’ experience and more recent advances in educational thinking. Underpinning these principles is the pursuit of peace and justice as the founding aim of UWC.
UWC schools and colleges offer life defining experiences for young people, enabling them to discover the possibility of change through courageous action, personal example and selfless leadership. This education enshrines a commitment to the balanced development of the whole person; that is, its task is to encourage an integrated development of human potential across a range of different dimensions, including the intellectual, moral, aesthetic, emotional, social, spiritual and physical. Each school and college responds to the UWC mission statement within the context of its location; this creates distinctive identities based upon local resources and opportunities. However, all schools and colleges share the same basic values as outlined in the UWC mission statement - international and intercultural understanding; celebration of difference; personal responsibility and integrity; mutual responsibility and respect; compassion and service; respect for the environment; a sense of idealism; personal challenge; action and personal example.
The following, then, are the basic principles from which is derived the practice of education at UWC schools and colleges:
1. That this education should take place within a diverse college community. The selection of students should ensure representation from regions and social groups that reflect the wide range of tensions among and between peoples.
2. That this education requires active promotion of intercultural understanding and the development of genuine concern for others founded on shared life experiences, and cooperative and collaborative living. This includes reflective dialogue on global issues and critical and courageous engagement in the pursuit of peace.
3. That physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle are integral to the balanced development of the whole person. Unhealthy lifestyles limit human potential and hinder progress in all dimensions of development.
4. That community interaction is placed at the heart of college life. This requires the full and active participation of all members of the school or college.
5. That students are able to engage in continuing, positive action towards issues of sustainability, on both an institutional and individual level.
6. That opportunities for students to practice personal initiative, self discipline and responsibility, to manage risk and embrace challenge must be provided. Where appropriate, these opportunities are supported by a reassuring adult presence.
7. That recognition is given to the fact that each individual possesses unique talents and abilities. Programmes should exist in each college which enable all selected students to fulfill their potential.