The Connecting – UWC Congress 2016

“I am a proud passionate alumna  of UWC because 11 years ago I was given a super power…a super power that maybe I had before, but I was given the potential to unleash it in a community of people who came with their own powers and were also given the ability to unleash it.

I take this power with me everywhere I go and every interaction I have with individuals in my daily life. I share this power with YOU and with 70,000 people across the world who had this opportunity.”

Yes, I stood in front of 600 people on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in Trieste, Italy and told them I had a super power. Many strangers, some friends, but a community sat in front of me gathered under a mission to help the UWC movement enter a new phase of its evolution. Never mind that I had just spoken after the most epic speech by a rep from UWC Syria who spoke of the amazing work they were doing for Syrian students and was extremely terrified.

(Full 3 mins of fame can be found at 30:30 –

From the planning of this Congress, I was very impressed by the work of the UWC International Office as to the amazing communication, sophistication and organization that was done. Having attended the previous Congress held in Wales 2012 as a naive youngling to the concept, I have been able to witness a rapid and steady growth of the movement firsthand (and I’m still a duckling). The Italy Congress saw a whopping registered 640 persons (and a waitlist!), this is up from the maybe 250 participants in Wales 2012.

There was a constant buzz in the Molo IV Congress Center as old connections were rekindled and new connections were forged. This Congress brought together what I would term the largest cross-section of stakeholders the UWC Movement has ever seen – alumni from the inception years, current students, friends of UWC, the Board, new and old partners, the IO staff and the Schools & Colleges .

Normally the Congress is held every 6 (?) years, so this gathering was specially convened. Why? UWC has undergone the development of a new Strategic Plan and spearheaded by the new Executive Director Jens Waltermann, it was necessary to get real tangible input into the development of the plan.

With a community as large (and opinionated) as the UWC movement, soliciting feedback is crucial. The actors in this movement are not only intrinsically connected to each other, but with such a strong ethos as a foundation, are inextricably connected to the world.

Photo cred: @uwcelsalvador & Bea Uhart 

For more photos : UWC Congress 2016 Photos


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