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January 20, 2017

Mostak Rahman (’99 – ’01)

January 20th, 2017|

Losing my father whilst still a baby, living in poverty with a mentally ill teenage mother, life threw a curve at me at an early age. My grandmother could not afford two daily proper nutritious meals for us, and my uncle – at the age of 10 – had to quit school to earn money so that he could support four lives. This situation became a heavy burden for my extremely poor family – and I ended up in SOS Children’s Villages.

I grew up with 10 SOS siblings in a safe and secure environment with a lot of parental care. As a youth I started integrating with the outside society and realized that being brought up in an orphanage you were discriminated against by individuals in society and at school. I also realized that orphans were labeled as lower class and an object of pity.

1999 was the start of the next great turn in my life, when I won a scholarship to study at the UWC Red Cross Nordic. Through the ambitious academic education and not the least all informal learning that I was exposed to on campus, the RCN gave me an opportunity to discover my potential and thrive. I now see how important it was that the College so much emphasized mutual respect in addition to all the exiting knowledge that it opened up. Terms like peace, solidarity and sustainability was something I got clear ideas about both in their abstract and concrete forms – something to aspire towards.

Life is never without hardship, but after UWC I managed to study in Switzerland, USA and Norway, where I again managed to experience a verity of cultures in a climate of mutual respect. I attained a dual major Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Hospitality management (BBA) from the Swiss Hotel Management School & Northwood University of Michigan. In 2011, I graduated with an MSc in Hospitality Leadership from the University of Stavanger. During my studentship at different institutes I got involved with students welfare activities and quality education. At the university of Stavanger, I served the institute and its students as the President of the International Students’ Union. Prior to joining UWC RCN I worked for SOS Children’s Village Norway as a coordinator in the Relation Marketing dept. and within the hospitality industry in Norway, USA & Switzerland.

Using the knowledge and skills learned at UWC, I have later managed to support many of my least fortunate SOS siblings and other youths. I have just started as an Oslo-based Development & Alumni Relations Officer at RCN, and am happy to join the team to advance the kind of education I myself have benefited from. Supporting education and personal nurture is a long term investment that makes individuals become resources for society and enable us to live with dignity. I am excited about the next stage of life with my wife Sagorika Chowdhury in Oslo and look forward to engage with all supporters of our task – to make education a uniting force.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

Mostafizur (Mostak) Rahman

Jubilee Fund – Support Us

January 11th, 2017|

September 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of UWC Red Cross Nordic and provided us with the opportunity to celebrate the history of the College and its commitment to peace and a sustainable future. As part of the celebrations we established an RCN Jubilee Fund with a view to providing financial support for some key projects.

Larry, our Rektor, and Tøve Veierod, the Chair of the Board, have written to all our friends and supporters. Please find below the text of their letter and also a short video introduction by Arne Osland (Director of Development) to the purpose of the Foundation Year Programme:

Re: UWC Red Cross Nordic Jubilee Fund and the Davis-UWC Impact programme

Dear UWC RCN supporter,

This year is UWC Red Cross Nordic’s 20th anniversary year and it provides us with opportunity to celebrate the history of the College and our commitment to peace and a sustainable future. Following on from the annual Council Meeting in April 2015, we have decided to create an RCN Jubilee Fund.

We have been encouraged and inspired by the genuine enthusiasm for RCN and its future that is shared by alumni (circa 1900 worldwide), parents, former staff and supporters. Members of the RCN family are our ambassadors across the world, our network, our voice beyond the fjords. Indeed we meet so many engaging and engaged supporters – often asking how they can give back in a tangible and helpful way.

At the heart of the new design for RCN’s Strategic Plan is financial sustainability. As the College moves into its third decade, we need to lay important foundations for the future development of this College. Each UWC has its own distinctive identity, character and atmosphere – and it is important that we work together to ensure the future of the unique educational opportunities RCN offers to students from across the world. All this, however, comes at a cost and the reality is that, as a College, we receive in income from the Nordic region less than needed to offer a first rate educational experience to the next generation of students.

At an event in Hong Kong last November, a parent of a former student kindly gave the Rektor an envelope with a cheque inside and asked him to direct the donation to something special. After consulting student representatives, we decided to spend the money on buying Christmas presents for all students unable to go home for December and who were on our Winter Programme. The Christmas before, the College received a card from a Malaysian alumna with some Norwegian bank notes tucked inside with a note saying: ‘note for alumni: don’t forget what RCN gives you and try to give back when you grow up’. Both examples illustrate the willingness of our network to support the College and its projects – but it is imperative that we enable financial support of the College by providing a coherent and coordinated fundraising programme.

With this in mind, we are establishing an RCN Jubilee Fund with a view to providing financial support for some key projects. Marianne Andresen, a dedicated supporter of the College since it was founded, has generously offered to launch the Jubilee Fund by donating a building to partner the Silent House as part of the ‘Nordic Tun’ on the south side of the campus; this building will contain a baking oven and will be an educational resource – and a source of enjoyment – for our students, Red Cross summer camps, and other visitors.

Every gift makes a difference and is vital to our success. Your support will have an immediate impact on the lives of our students. All donations will be attributed to the RCN Jubilee Fund with the option for donors to be acknowledged on the Jubilee website and in the next edition of the RCN Annual Report. Our current fundraising priority is:

Provision of Jubilee Scholarships: financial support for a Foundation Year for those from conflict / refugee backgrounds who are unable to complete the IB programme in 21 months due to disrupted learning and / or language difficulties;

Your donation whether it is a regular or a one-off gift, combined with those of others, makes a significant impact upon the quality of the RCN experience of current students and is much valued and gratefully received.

UWC International announced at the beginning of August a USD $15,000,000 funding boost through a gift by American philanthropist, Shelby M C Davis. Mr Davis’ gift acknowledges the continuing appeal of UWCs’ internationally recognised education model, which has deliberate diversity of the student body and education for community leadership at its heart. In practice for RCN, under the Davis-UWC Impact programme, new and increased charitable donations from alumni, parents and friends up to the value of one million dollars will be matched dollar for dollar, thereby doubling contributions. The programme is designed to stimulate a significant increase in giving from supporters to UWC boosting our capacity to meet the demonstrated financial needs of gifted students from financially less advantaged families and further increase the socio-economic diversity of our UWC campuses.

We value the engagement with our supporters and we have lifted our level of connection through the development of our Facebook page, website, a monthly newsletter and regular alumni events. Over the past three years, we have held events in London, Helsinki, Malmø, Reykjavik and Hong Kong, and we are planning further events in London, Stockholm and Oslo before the end of this Jubilee year.

Please find attached our Annual Report – a printed encapsulation of our work which serves both as a reflection on the year gone by and the direction in which we are going – and please follow us on the newly launched Jubilee website. There are clear instructions on the Jubilee and College websites as to how to donate.

We sincerely hope that, for the years to come, you will continue to contribute to the architecture and future of RCN and, in the spirit of both the founders of the UWC movement and RCN, you help to enable the next generation of students to benefit, in turn, from the stimulating and challenging education we hope you received at this College.

Thank you.

With best wishes

Richard D A Lamont                                Tove Veierød
Rektor                                                      Chair of the Board

Our current fundraising priority is:

Provision of Jubilee Scholarships: financial support for a Foundation Year for those from conflict / refugee backgrounds who are unable to complete the IB programme in 21 months due to disrupted learning and / or language difficulties.

Here, Director of Development Arne Osland explains the purpose of the Foundation Year Programme.

Book Book Tuk Tuk – Cambodia

January 11th, 2017|

The employees at Red Cross Haugland Rehabilitation Centre decided that this year their Christmas presents from their workplace – with a total sum of 30,000 kroner – would go to the project ‘Book Book Tuk Tuk‘ in Cambodia:

Playing a central role in the project are our current Cambodian students Pring Mean and Sreythai Seng. Being part of the Survivors Of Conflict Programme they are also having much co-operation with the Rehabilitation Centre. On behalf of RCHR staff Kirsti Hellesøy handed over the gift to these two and fellow RCN student Helen Pörtner (Germany). Director Inger Johanne Osland said that they had been impressed by the presentation our student group had made for the project submitted to the Aurora competiton saying, “It is a well-organised project that is realistic to carry out for the benefit of many.”

Jacob Yath Deng (’15 – ’17)

January 10th, 2017|

“The greatest thing any person could do is to help another person. So if you can aid the people around you – that’s enough; there is nothing greater than that.” Jacob lives by these values and they guide him in his academic pursuits. Aspirations to study pharmaceutical chemistry lie at the forefront of his mind. The reason for this specific area of interest is his ambition to later improve the public health system back home in South Sudan.

Jacob’s faith has prepared him and inspired his goodwill. His favorite book is the Bible and particularly important words for him come from Ecclesiastes 1: 9: “There is nothing under the sun that hasn’t been done so you should live your life to the fullest”. The book speaks to him about work and life in general. Living at RCN, Jacob‘s Christian values haven’t changed despite the secular environment. In his family back home he would attend church every Sunday and participate in other activities during the week as well. The church is a uniting factor in his community and when he reached a certain age, he himself became a Bible studies leader.

The academic drive that he possesses cannot however, be credited to anyone but Jacob himself. He was always eager to learn as a young child. Growing up with his grandmother, he didn’t attend school until he was seven. He would see his friends go to school and he wanted to take part as well. When his brother graduated and started working he put Jacob in school. There was never any need for external discipline due to Jacob’s self-sufficiency. Experiencing poverty in his early life made Jacob appreciate the privilege that education is and a wish to help others motivated him in his academics. Jakob has just returned to start the term in which he is going to graduate. He is aiming for further studies at University, most likely in the US, and later he wants to return home to apply the knowledge he has acquired.

Rose Esfandyari (RCN ’16 – ’18)