Head of College

Gabriel Abad Fernández


Gabriel was born in Málaga, Spain. Upon graduating from Malaga University, he started his career in 1996 as an assistant lecturer at the Modern Languages Department at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UK) before returning to his alma mater as an assistant lecturer at the English Department. In 2002 he moved to Singapore to work at UWC South East Asia, where he was a Spanish and Theory of Knowledge teacher, Deputy Houseparent, Head of Theory of Knowledge and Boarding Community Senior Houseparent. In 2011 he moved to UWCSEA's East Campus as the founding Director of Boarding. After 16 years at UWC South East Asia, Gabriel has moved to Armenia to join UWC Dilijan as its Head of College.

An omnivorous reader, Gabriel loves reading, cinema, plays chess and - occasionally - football, dabbles in photography and sublimates his desire to be a pilot with flight simulators. A confessed geek, he is passionate about the capacity for technology to improve different aspects of our lives. In 2008 he became the first Apple Distinguished Educator at UWC South East Asia.

Gabriel is a graduate of the Malaga University (a licenciatura is the 5-year equivalent to a BA (Hons)+MA in Philology) and has completed a Graduate Certificate in Pedagogy at Madrid’s Complutense University, a Graduate Certificate in Business (Leadership & Management) at Curtin University (Australia), a Master’s in Education and ICT (UOC) and is currently completing a MBA Educational Leadership (International) at UCL’s Institute of Education. He has been an IBO assistant examiner,  workshop leader as well as a reader and visit member. He volunteers with the Council for International Schools as a team leader and application reader. Currently he is the Chair of the UWC Heads Committee and a member of the UWC International Board.

Gabriel and his wife Natalie, a graduate of UWC Atlantic College, have two children, Eleri Carmen and Harri Gabriel. The family has lived in a UWC campus since 2005 and are delighted to be part of the UWC Dilijan community.

Deputy Head of College

Sophie Duncker



Sophie was born in Hamburg, Germany. Upon graduating from Hamburg University with the 1. and 2. State Examination for teaching English and Religious Studies in secondary schools (Gymnasien) in 1990, she started her career as a German teacher and assistant boarding house mistress in the UK, in Sevenoaks School. She then went back to Germany from 1997 to 2000 to teach English in Salem International College, the first school that Kurt Hahn founded in his long career as an educator. From there she went on to teach in the UWCs in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as Bryanston School in the UK. During these years she was teaching English, German and TOK in the IB, the German System, GCSE, IGCSE and A Levels as a teacher, Head of Department and also took on the role of IB Coordinator, as well as working in various roles in boarding. Sophie is also a principal examiner for the IB in Group 2, as well as an IB workshop leader for Group 1.

Having worked in so many different locations, it is not a surprise that one of Sophie's main interests is traveling, as well as reading widely in geographical and cultural contexts. A favourite activity is to visit an English language bookshop, for example in Canada, Ireland or Japan, and to ask for recommendations - this has led to some amazing discoveries. Most recently, during her time in England, she has become a passionate gardener, having had the opportunity to plant heritage apple varieties in a school orchard, as well as visiting many of the famous gardens in the south-west and reading up on their creators and their ideas. Working in the beautiful grounds of UWCD, growing tomatoes from seed in the greenhouse and discovering an abandoned orchard just outside the school grounds have been unexpected delights. 

Sophie moved to Dilijan in 2019 and can't wait to really start exploring more of the history and culture of this country. Glimpses of Yerevan and Gyumri, as well as visits to Geghard and Garni were only tasters in the first term, while plans for the summer had to be postponed. However, sightseeing trips have not been cancelled, just postponed. 

Leadership Team