Dan Silfwerin

Dan Silfwerin

Teacher of Philosophy, Residential House Parent


  • MA in Comparative Literature
  • BA in Comparative Literature


I am 34 years old and originally from Sweden. My career in education started full time in 2014, but my UWC-life started in 2015 when I joined United World College Red Cross Nordic (RCN). There I have mainly taught Swedish Literature and Philosophy, although I have also taught English Language and Literature and Theory of Knowledge. I am married to Meerim (originally from Kyrgyzstan) and we have a lovely daughter named Älfva. At RCN, I also had the chance to be a house parent (we called it house mentor or house leader) for 7 years and that is why I am now going to work as a toon parent in Dilijan. Our entire family are happy to continue in the UWC movement as we are very committed to intercultural and interreligious understanding.

What is the favourite part of the course you teach?
I am interested in many different things in the philosophy course, but the areas I found most interesting are the philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and consciousness and ethics. That said, wherever there are things one wonders about, there are valuable questions to ask. Philosophy is wonderful because it teaches you how to think one step further, something that can be applied in every subject one studies.

Which teaching method do you prefer and why? 
I find two methods especially valuable. The first one is dialogue. Being a philosophy student (and indeed a teacher) is to be radically willing to engage with all kinds of perspectives, and the most efficient way of doing this directly is to ambitiously engage each other in dialogue. The second method is to experience philosophy directly through reading or watching interviews/debates. I believe that the more you practise doing philosophy and react to other thinkers, the better you will establish your own way of philosophical thinking.

What advice would you give to a student of your subject?
To be very ambitious when you think about difficult topics. All great philosophical questions are complicated and tricky questions. Let it take time when you confront them and trust that your thoughts are valuable, both for your own mind and for others.

Who is your role model or mentor or who inspires you?
My wife and my daughter constantly inspire me as well as my wider family. I am also inspired by my former and current colleagues who dedicate their lives to education as well as by all students I have worked with (and will work with). Being a teacher is challenging but it is worth it getting to work with curious and energetic young thinkers. And last, but not least, the late philosopher and theologian John Hick. He was a fascinating thinker who has, through his work, taught me a lot and transformed the way I think, especially about religion.

What is your life motto?
Think again.

What are the three things you can't imagine your life without?
I take my family as given so my answer will be books, music, and good friends!

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to read and write when I have the energy to do it. I also love discussing philosophical questions with whomever is close by and to follow NBA basketball!