On the power of education to change the world

And it begins! #UWCCongress

We say it’s about people people people, which of course it is – there are a couple of friends here whom I haven’t tracked down for a hug yet; and how can Rimma and Anne display such contempt for the normal process of aging, looking younger and more vibrant than they did twenty-two years ago?! – but oh, how places matter too.

Being at Atlantic College in Wales for the last Congress sharply underlines how thrilling – thrilling – it is for me, to be part of the UWCAD contingent, hosting this incredible, and incredibly important, meeting of minds and hearts and arms and voices – in other words, Power plus Care; the multiple resonances between last month’s Mind-Life Dialogue and this gathering are dovetailing into such blindingly straight lines it is not funny; as I type this for example the keynote speaker, the inspirational Sven Mollekleiv, President of the Norwegian Red Cross and part of the team responsible for the founding of UWC Red Cross Nordic College in Norway, is talking about supporting the work of women as absolutely pivotal in addressing some of the most urgent problems we face in our world today – in ‘our’ city, ‘our’ college, ‘our’ place.

If you, dear friend, reading this with me, with absolutely no involvement or interest in UWC so far, are wondering what there might be in this for you…I’ll paraphrase the words of the German founder of the UWC movement post-WWII, who also founded OBS and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, visionary educationalist Kurt Hahn, which I read yesterday in a welcome banner:

“There is more in you than you know if you can be made to see it; perhaps, for the rest of your life you will be unwilling to settle for less.”

I’ve been reminded that one’s body, temple to one’s soul and whatnot, is a physical place too. We can each ‘be the boards’ for our own dreams and conversations with other individuals…of course we can, because we are doing that now already anyway, whether we realise it or want to or not.

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