The UWC Pledge is a global engagement initiative encouraging UWC alumni to pass on their UWC experience to future generations by giving back - to their national committee, their school or the wider movement - according to their circumstances, in terms of time, treasure and talent.
It was launched in 2018 to reach the UWC movement’s strategic goal to further develop a long-term culture of giving back at UWC.
Starting with the graduating class of 2019, nearly all UWC schools are now encouraging their graduating students to pass on their UWC experience to the next generation through the UWC Pledge in terms of:
- Time - volunteering for the UWC movement, for example by joining a UWC national committee
- Treasure - regularly donating money to the UWC movement, however little or much it might be
- Talent - by mentoring younger alumni, facilitating a UWC short course or sharing skills, for example
How are we meeting this goal?
The UWC Pledge is introduced to students when they first begin their UWC journeys as an exploration of what it takes to keep the UWC movement going. How much money does UWC have to raise each year in order to be able fund scholarships for all those who need them? How many volunteers does it take to select the next generation of UWC students?
At graduation, students can then explore this commitment in more concrete terms by filling out a UWC Pledge card where they can select how they would like to pass on the UWC experience to future generations in terms of giving back their future time, treasure and talent.
In the graduating Class of 2019, a UWC Pledge Card was filled out by 76% of students who committed to pass on their UWC experience in any (or all) of these three ways.
In 2020, the disruption caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 meant that most students had to leave their UWC campuses with short notice and with little time to reflect on how they can contribute to the continuation of the UWC experience once they graduate. It is therefore all the more remarkable that more than half of the Class of 2020 from participating schools still opted to pass on their time, treasure and talent to future generations through the 2020 UWC Pledge.
Xamantha Laos (UWC Costa Rica, 2018-2020) sums up the sense of gratitude that compelled many members of the class of 2020 to sign the UWC Pledge in the midst of a pandemic:
"A few days ago, a friend sent me the UWC Pledge. When I signed the document, I had a big smile on my face. I was thinking that, even if there was no such thing as the UWC Pledge, I would not forgive myself if I don't give something back to the movement at some point in my life. I mean, UWC has given me everything. It started as an educational opportunity but ended up giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. This is not only a community that takes care of you for two years. This is a community whose commitment to their students does not have a finish line. It gave me an amazing experience, a better future, friends, family...UWC gave me a home.
I have no doubts that I will give back to the movement because, now, I do not think it is a choice, I think it is a responsibility. And yet, I know that it will never be enough considering all that UWC has given me"
How are our supporters helping to amplify the impact of the UWC Pledge even further?
The Generational Circle was introduced in the UWC Pledge’s first year by stakeholders across the UWC movement. It refers to the generous circle of donors who agreed to match the percentage of students who participated in the UWC Pledge with donations towards a full UWC Refugee Initiative scholarship.
The 76% participation rate in the 2019 UWC Pledge has meant that the class of 2019 succeeded in unlocking a full UWC scholarship for a future student from a refugee, displaced or persecuted background. This student has now started their UWC journey at UWC Thailand.
UWC International thanks the members of the Generational Circle for their generous support of the UWC Pledge and the UWC Refugee Initiative. By empowering the UWC movement’s newest members of the alumni community to pledge their valuable time, treasure and talent towards a shared goal, the UWC movement can continue to move closer to our ultimate mission of making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.