Head’s Blog

Gabriel Abad Fernández

As we get to the end of January, I look back at the beginning of this term, the final term for our Class of 2023 and my own final term at this wonderful community. During the break we worried whether the expansion of COVID cases in China was going to affect us and discussed contingency plans (fearing going back to the darkest days of the pandemic).

You are probably aware that UWC has a special sensitivity to refugees, from our UWC Refugee Initiative (in partnership with UNHCR) to Amala, the first international high school curriculum for displaced youth set up by two UWC alumnae. More alumni and current staff are involved in this  initiative for which I have the utmost respect and which deserves any support we can give them.

Last week I had the privilege of attending UWC Atlantic’s 60th Anniversary Celebration. Some of you may know that UWC is a name that replaced the original “Atlantic Colleges” that Lord Mountbatten had envisioned, a group of similar schools but the name did not quite work when the next two schools opened in Singapore and Canada.

Greetings from lovely Dilijan, where our Class of 2023, after the emotional re-encounters upon arrival on campus, has had two weeks of lessons, catching up with Extended Essays, planning for our CAS programme and, of course, preparing for the arrival of our new students, our Class of 2024.

This term I have had three occasions to practise “Panda Diplomacy”, though not the one China engaged in for decades. As you can see in the photo below, I have been carrying bags of a very particular type of candy around the world as I travelled to three different UWC schools and colleges (UWC Atlantic in March, then UWC South East Asia and UWC Thailand in April). Pre-COVID I also took some to UWC Pearson College in Canada.