Thor Heyerdahl Week

2018-10-16T09:33:31+01:00September 29th, 2014|

The 29th September marked the beginning of UWC Red Cross Nordic’s Thor Heyerdahl Week – our College’s contribution to celebrations planned across Norway for the centenary of Thor Heyerdahl’s birth on Monday October 6th.

Thor Heyerdahl – archaeologist, author and explorer –  played a hugely significant part both as International Patron of the United World College movement and, at a later stage, in developing the concept of a United World College in Norway. We continue to be grateful for the support and energy he committed to the establishing of our College in the fjords. Please click here for the speech given by Thor Heyerdahl at the official opening of the College on 30th September 1995.

Thor Heyerdahl Week at RCN included: a presentation on the life and legacy of Thor Heyerdahl, a screening of the film ‘Kon-Tiki’, and a student-led raft-building project. Students this weekend have braved apocalyptic rains to build their own version of Kon-Tiki; the challenge is for the students to attempt to sail the raft across Haugland Bay. Here are some images of the work done so far on the raft.

Indeed on the day of the centenary itself, our Board Chair Tove Veierød, has invited the current Oslo-based Nordic ambassadors to a reception at the Nordic Association  where Rektor Richard Lamont will speak about the vision of Thor Heyerdahl and the other members of the founding team of this College. The text of his speech is here. A delegation from UWC RCN will be meeting with Maja Bauge, the Director of the Kon-Tiki Museum, on Tuesday 7th October.

Heyerdahl taught us of the possibilities of living on a raft or papyrus ship within speaking and touching distance – day and night – with ‘room only for people who could shake each other by the hand’. Following in the footsteps of Thor Heyerdahl and those responsible for the founding of the College, we continue to encourage our students and staff to contribute to society, both now and in the future, by reaching an open hand to fellow humans everywhere.

Click here to see an excellent documentary about Thor Heyerdahl.


Lord Attenborough

2018-10-16T09:33:36+01:00August 25th, 2014|

Oscar-winning actor and film director Richard Attenborough died at lunchtime on Sunday at the age of 90. Lord Attenborough was a member of the UWC International Board, an active member of the Governing Council of UWC Waterford Kamhlaba and patron of the UWC Movement for many years. Alongside his extraordinary career as a film-maker, Richard Attenborough took every opportunity to work for peace and justice  and to support disadvantaged people in every walk of life. His films ‘Gandhi’ (1982) and ‘Cry Freedom’ (1987) gave compelling insights into Indian and South African political and social history. He made an enormous contribution to the UWC movement, including financially supporting many students at UWC Waterford Kamhlaba, and we are hugely proud to have had him as our patron.

UWC Waterford Kamhlaba principal Stepehen Lowry has said the following:

Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa joins the world in mourning Lord Attenborough, who died on Sunday 24 August 2014, aged 90.

Waterford students will remember Lord Attenborough as a distinguished actor, producer and Oscar-winning director, but above all they will remember him as a loyal and generous friend of the United World College movement in general and Waterford in particular.

He and his wife, Lady Attenborough, visited the school on several occasions. He enjoyed discussing football with staff members and took a real interest in the students and their activities.

Lord Attenborough strongly opposed apartheid and supported Waterford, where young people of all races studied and lived together. In April 1988 he invited the IB (International Baccalaureate) to the premiere of Cry Freedom. The following day he hosted a private viewing of the film for the rest of the school at the Cinelux in Mbabane and took questions from the students.

He funded scholarships for many students but, being the humble, unassuming man that he was, he never sought publicity for his generosity and insisted that the students should not make a fuss about his financial support.

Lord Attenborough was a patron of the arts at Waterford. He generously funded the construction of the Sheila and Richard Attenborough Fine Arts Centre. Together with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, he built a Drama and Music facility, the Jane Holland Centre for Creative Learning, in memory of his daughter, his granddaughter Lucy and Jane’s mother-in-law Audrey-Jane, who died in the Asian tsunami on 26 December 2004.

We are grateful for Lord Attenborough’s friendship, his inspiring example of compassion and concern for others, and the artistic legacy he has left us in his remarkable films.

May he rest in peace.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Lady Attenborough and her family. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

We invite you to leave messages of support for the family and the WK community on the school’s Facebook page at

For another overview of his life and work – from the BBC website.