The first of June was a big day for the entire UWC Dilijan community. We celebrated the graduation of the Class of 2019 – our fourth generation of graduates! This was a day of great excitement that marked the culmination of everything that the students had gained during these two intense years of College life. It also marked the long-awaited reunion with the parents who arrived in Dilijan to cheer them on this special occasion.
Our campus was very busy and eventful during these days. Here are just some of the many highlights.
Tree planting in Alumni Garden
On the eve of graduation, May 31, the graduating class planted their trees in the Alumni Garden. It is a beautiful annual tradition – every class plant their trees with captions representing their countries. As a result, our garden now proudly hosts most of the countries of the world. This unique international map symbolizes the world that comes to Dilijan and our international alumni that grow into the world, with their roots in the Armenian soil.
“People Behind the Name” Documentary
A new and insightful documentary People Behind the Name by our videographer Sonia Wargacka also premiered later that day. Through intimate conversations with members of our community (including students, teachers, staff and founders) the documentary reveals people's stories that portray who they really are at heart. You could see tears in the eyes of the audience.
“United Arts Dilijan” Auction
Our alumni, who arrived from different parts of the world to contribute their treasure, talent and time on this occasion, organized the first ever United Artists Dilijan Auction that features artworks of the graduating class of 2019 as well as previous generations. The online auction has a noble cause – all the money raised from the sales of the paintings will contribute to the scholarship fund for future UWC Dilijan art students.
The Graduation Ceremony, accompanied by student performances and touching speeches, acknowledged the achievements of the class of 2019 – 104 remarkable individuals from 56 different nationalities. It summed up the enriching transforming experience they have undergone during their two years in UWC Dilijan – shifting mindsets, making great friends across continents, tackling the rigorous IB course, unfolding talents, implementing over 25 community projects (involving over 2600 local youth) and much more.
Here are some excerpts from the graduation speeches that best sum up this memorable day.
"In this school, we’ve begun something that world leaders across time have dreamed of and tried and failed to enact – a connection between nations not from chair to chair at a conference table, but from human to human across meals, football fields and classrooms...
Here is the place where the country that’s been demonized to you your whole life suddenly has a face and a voice and a story, and you begin to understand that disagreement can coexist with friendship...
Here we develop and refine the skills we’ll need if we want to make any meaningful change in this world. We take the essence of these two years and bring it with us to places that need the kinds of critical thinkers and ethical leaders we are on the way to becoming."
Anabel (USA) UWCD'20
Your experiences throughout your two years at UWC Dilijan have shaped you, for your eyes, minds and hearts have been opened to others… It has been a privilege for all of us to live and learn with you. You have touched our lives and you have had an impact on the College community, Dilijan and Armenia – the country that welcomed you and that you now love. Thank you for becoming new ABCs - “Armenians by Choice”.
Gabriel Abad Fernandez (Head of UWC Dilijan)
This place is magic, once you come here, you never leave it – it is always in your heart. I want to express gratitude to all of you for making this magic… It is a tradition here to be grateful and to be human. Human leaders of the future think not only about their own success but about community and people around them.
Veronika Zonabend (Co-founder of UWC Dilijan)
We had many special guests who came from different parts of the world to be with us on this important day. Among them were the representatives of the Tavush regional government and of the Armenian Apostolic Church, board members, donors, partners, alumni, parents and friends. This day brought together those with whom we have walked all the way from a vision of the founders to the big international family that we have today.
The Class of 2019 chose “I Am Grateful” as their graduation theme. On this occasion the College also extends its gratitude to all its supporters and community members.