Living Out The UWC Values


by Ilijia Lichkovski, UWCM
February 7th, 2018


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Ever since its inception, the values promoted within the colleges were and still are, instrumental to the UWC movement. Built on the premise of educating our way to international cooperation, peace and sustainability – a certain set of commonly accepted values slowly evolved. Yet, how does a UWC school make sure that it integrates those values into the environment, amidst all the academic, extra-curricular and social pressure? How does UWCM, specifically, manage to bring students closer to those highly esteemed ‘UWC Values’?
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17 colleges across the planet. Hundreds of DP students eagerly indulging into the unique experiences that their respective colleges offer. In that grand scheme of the UWC movement, it appears to be quite obvious that even across the movement itself, the understanding of ‘UWC values’ is not fixed. Maybe students in Pearson will find their values kayakking with their Bio teacher; or any other UWC schools have their own value-reaffirming tradition.
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The point here is, that each individual UWC, is ideally, responsible for not only building its unique identity, but also: utilizing it to further promote progress and self-discovery within the community. This right here, is an exciting new idea – that in fact the UWC values do not come from an A4 document; but they are something much more profound. They are the result of our ongoing introspective process which continuously fosters self-discovery and understanding. And during that process in a typical UWC environment, those values written on the A4 document WILL emerge naturally. The values are a byproduct of our shared experience at a UWC.
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Now, what can we, as UWCM, learn from this?
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Our dynamic community has a great deal of things that set us apart. A serious amount of interaction with the outside community, student-led conferences, a heterogenous student pool that includes day and residential students, you name it. All of those are a key signature of our individuality as a UWC, and we should indeed use them as a means to promote the values here. 
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We are somewhat, already on the right track. Take conferences – during these spectacular events, the participants are left in awe, whether through some of the performances, workshops, parties, candle-lit nights or whatnot. It doesn’t require a specific focus on actually seeking the ‘UWC values’; but instead, those values grow from the most meaningful moments we spend during that time. The values arise when an IPC workshop makes us realize oue prejudices and inspires us to think more internationally; or when a YES conference speaker sparks that idealistic longing in us; or when a Knoppunt event shows how much is shared responsibility a key factor within our community.
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Yet, we have to take a step further. Not letting those UWC values be imposed, but instead, letting them emerge naturally. Tutors getting to know tutees closer, building a strong bond, which in turn, strengthens the bond with themovement for both parties. DP students staying proactive within the community, contributing to the social dynamic, whether through a random dance in the courtyard or a spectacular community time afternoon. The beauty of this place, is that it becomes whatever we mold it to be.
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A strong community here at UWCM, can only be creates if we all undergo a meaningful process of self-discovery, aided by every single one involved into this institution, to ultimately create a deep connection with the whole premise of our movement. Values are grown, not enforced.
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