It was a pleasure and privilege to welcome Amy and Phil Geier this week to UWC Red Cross Nordic. Fresh from the inauguration ceremony at UWC Robert Bosch College, Amy and Phil arrived on campus on Tuesday evening and proceeded to take a full part in College life – from meetings with staff and students to participation in lessons. At the invitation of the Admissions Team at Middlebury, Amy kindly agreed to meet with students on an individual basis to give an introduction to studying at the College in her capacity as a Middlebury Fellow. Phil, as co-founder and executive director of the United World College Scholars Programme, gave a presentation on the history of the partnership between Shelby Davis and the UWC movement alongside an introduction to new projects focused on bridge / gap years including the Semester at Sea Programme and the Global Citizen Year. In the late 1990s, Shelby and Phil started with a simple idea: provide scholarships to talented international students at American colleges and universities, which they hoped would transform those students’ lives and enhance the global diversity of American higher education. This founding aim has blossomed into a strategic objective that now advances international understanding through education built on the following twin principles: 1) that promising future leaders from a broad range of cultures should be afforded greater educational opportunities and serve to accelerate global networking; 2) that these educational opportunities take place at leading US colleges and universities, in the belief that these American schools will become more effective learning communities for all their students by becoming more internationally diverse and globally engaged. In the academic year 2013-4, 5,508 graduates from UWCs (and representing 148 countries) studied at 91 US universities as part of the Davis UWC Scholars Programme. Phil presented to a packed auditorium and responded to a series of stimulating and thought-provoking question from students on the history and future of the programme – and certainly fired the imaginations of those considering studying at US universities.
This was the third time Phil and Amy had visited the College. They were first here in 1995 for the opening ceremony when Phil was the President (equivalent of Rektor) of UWC-USA and then again ten years ago – and we so look forward to welcoming them back to UWC Red Cross Nordic in the future. We wish them safe travels in their European tour which will now take them to the International Office in London, to UWC Atlantic College, to UWC Maastricht, to a short expedition on a Semester at Sea voyage, and finally to the inauguration ceremony at UWC Dilijan. We appreciate and applaud both Amy and Phil for their extraordinary commitment to the UWC movement.