Just a thought

Is UWC stil serving it’s purpose: being a force to enhance peace and sustainability? How to educate and socialise world citizens during their last years of high school college, but perhaps just as important, how to engage alumni, family and friends in this life long endeavour at a local, regional, national, continental or world wide level?

This website now starts in the Netherlands where the alumni union seized to exist. I won’t go into the reasons why this happened last year. I only notice that UWC engagement is being missed among groups of alumni, but also among groups of parents and friends.

Like many other countries in Europe, the Netherlands is losing connectedness. The wish to remain a close-knit society seems to disappear. Groups seem to loose interest in each other, and hence seem to understand less and less of each other. In the Netherlands we have a saying ‘unknown makes unloved’, fault-lines between high and low income groups, between high en practical educated groups, between ethnic groups etc are becoming more and more visible.

In the mean while, world powers are shifting. China and don’t forget India are lining up to be the new world powers. Climate should be every bodies concern. But who really cares? Not the USA or Europe as it seems by the measures they are taking. In Europe we have Boris & Brexit and 27 other countries guarding their own identity; the USA has Trump.

Today I had the pleasure to listen to a former Dutch parliamentarian from Surinam descent Kathleen Ferrier, who had just worked and lived in HongKong for the past 5 years. She gave me some extra words to describe the changes in the world. She also introduced yet another college focussing an good, inclusive leadership. A university in Bangladesh only for girls from disadvantaged regions with selection not on school results but on personal merit regarding survival strategies. Asia has a longer tradition with great female leadership.

Two weeks ago I attended a parent meeting at SciencePo, the French university for political sciences. SciencePo was established right after the Prussian war in the mid 19th century to educate future French leaders to become critical and inclusive thinking world citizens. Another college aiming for world peace by equipping future leaders with knowledge and sensitivity across fault lines, wether they are borders between nations or between groups within nations.

And that brings me back to UWC – how can we keep contributing to peace and sustainability in engagement with our diverse community of alumni, family and friends?

It all starts with staying and feeling engaged.

Lets meet, lets talk, lets dialogue – if there was ever a time for UWC the time is now!

Soon more info regarding time & place

Mariken UWCSEA’87, 7 September 2019