February 15, 2018

UWC Students Will Propose New Humanitarian Projects

Aurora Humanitarian Initiative continues to partner with UWC to tackle humanitarian challenges.

Applications for the 2018 Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges are now being accepted. The project, a partnership between the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and UWC (United World Colleges)), encourages UWC students to design projects aimed at creating positive change in communities surrounding UWC schools and colleges. It is open to all 17 UWC schools and colleges worldwide. The winning group will be awarded a US $4000 grant toward their project’s implementation.

“We are committed to motivating students to care about the communities in which they live and try to bring positive change around them,” said Veronika Zonabend, founder of UWC in Dilijan, Armenia. “Our aim is not only to alert UWC students and alumni to the urgency of specific humanitarian issues but to motivate them to go deeper, take responsibility, and propose solutions through innovative and economically, socially and environmentally sustainable approaches.”

This is the second year of the Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges (AHP). Fifteen of the then 16 UWC schools and colleges participated in the first year. The project proposals addressed a broad and diverse range of humanitarian issues identified near their schools and colleges and often proposed close collaborations with local communities.

“The Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges challenges UWC’s diverse student body to think about concrete ways to make positive, meaningful and sustainable change in the world,” said UWC International’s Executive Director Jens Waltermann. “It encourages our students to put the UWC mission for peace and sustainability into concrete action through selfless leadership, initiative and teamwork - and gives them the chance to learn from some of the most well-regarded humanitarians.”

After a highly competitive selection process, three teams were chosen as finalists and UWC Robert Bosch College was announced as the winning team in 2017 with their DoGood project addressing the refugee crisis. Thanks to generous donations from anonymous donors, the two other finalists, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC (BraveGirl project) and UWC Mahindra College (Kriya Iron project), also received $4,000 each towards the further development of their respective projects.

“Being AHP finalists was a truly incredible experience - very few young people can say that they discussed humanitarian issues such as the refugee crisis and education with some of the most successful business owners in the world. The Aurora Prize itself is far more than the normal humanitarian award,” said Ravindra, a team member from UWC Robert Bosch College.

"I think the most important thing I could say is that AHP encouraged us to put more thought into BraveGirl, to create a structure and a timeline, and most importantly to visualize the impact it could have. It’s the vision of what BraveGirl could become that inspired all our efforts, and I think - I hope - that through AHP more people will realize it’s possible to turn their visions into reality,” said Ike, a member of the BraveGirl team from Waterford Kamhlaba UWC SA.

“I would like to encourage students to apply for AHP as the chance for learning through the entire process are incredible. I can honestly say that as an educator with over 20 years of working experience in various fields, the AHP is probably the best project that I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. It made a massive impact on me and it is something that I will always cherish,” said Kate Doyle, faculty advisor to the BraveGirl from Waterford Kamhlaba UWC SA.

Proposed projects must address a concrete humanitarian concern identified by the project team which is relevant to the UWC school or college’s geographic location and propose concrete steps to reduce it in or eliminate it. Projects must be student-initiated and student-led. Each UWC school or college can only nominate one project to the AHP.

The three short-listed finalists will be selected based on their creativity, sustainability, quality of research, impact, commitment, self-reflection and format. The finalist teams will have a chance to present their projects during the Aurora Prize Weekend on 8-10 June  2018 in Armenia. The winning project will be announced after the presentations and will be awarded USD $4000 towards the further development and funding of the project.

All details about the Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges can be found here.

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