Earlier this summer I saw an “article” on The Telegraph website which consisted of little more than a string of Lily Allen tweets, linked by some poor prose, masquerading as an attempt at celebrity gossip. It was the kind of sub-journalism that one hopes resulted in someone being relieved of their writing duties!
I don't blame Twitter for this. The micro-blogging site delivers the weird and wonderful with surprising ease. Try searching its feeds for mentions of 'Bosnia'. You'll quickly discover there are plenty of Bosnian Beliebers desperate for Justin to visit the country. Today, however, I saw something genuinely interesting: a link to a UWC Facebook page. While we were in Mostar we knew several United World College students in the college there. We heard a lot about the UWC philosophy and we saw the opportunities it opened up for them. I was intrigued to read that a student from one of the world's more closed countries is about to enter that world. At the risk of appearing lazy, I pasted the following straight in from the UWC Atlantic College Facebook post.
UWC in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina has announced the acceptance of North Korean student Kim Han Sol. The 16-year old will be the first student from North Korea to attend a UWC and benefit from the transformational educational experience that UWC offers.
The UWC movement identifies diversity as one of its core values. In bringing students together from a range of cultural, social and economic backgrounds, we can further our mission to make education a force for peace and a sustainable future. We aim to develop students who are multi-cultural, socially confident and morally responsible. During their time at UWC, alongside their academic studies, students participate in a variety of community service activities and develop skills to resolve the tensions within and across society. We expect that all students who participate in our programme, from whatever background, will ultimately be of service and influence in their home and the wider global community.
Li Po Chun UWC, based in Hong Kong, has been operating an outreach programme with North Korea for a number of years, sending student ambassadors to the country to engage with young North Koreans and learn more about life in their country. The enrollment of the first North Korean student to a UWC is a natural consequence of this relationship.
Keith Clark, Executive Director, UWC International commented “UWC is proud of the transformational nature of its education. Diversity is key to the educational experience and each year UWC welcomes a diverse cross section of students to its schools, colleges and programmes.”