DILIJAN — UWC Dilijan marked its 7th birthday on the day of the 30th Anniversary of Armenian Independence. It coincided with the UN International Day of Peace and UWC Day — an annual global celebration of the UWC mission and values, which takes place on 21 September every year.

UWC Dilijan held a number of events for its community to mark the day. The event started with planting a special tree Crataegus gregorianii in the school garden in the memory of a friend and supporter of UWC Dilijan Vartan Gregorian, who was President of Carnegie Corporation of New York until his passing in April. Crataegus gregorianii, a new peculiar species, was discovered by E. Gabrielian and M. Sargsyan in the Aparan floristic district of Armenia and was named after Vartan Gregorian. UWC Dilijan is proud to have the Vartan Gregorian Learning Centre at the school’s library.

The school’s Community Celebration “Reimagine Tomorrow” went with the participation of the UWC Dilijan Founders Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend — you can have a look at the recording of the gathering via this link.

“After the school was built, one of the most emotional moments for me was when I first saw here, at UWC Dilijan, the first cohort of students from all over the world – 94 kids who had the courage to dream. When we walk around Dilijan today we can see the impact done over the last years. I believe that our students will become ambassadors of our vision and ambassadors of Armenia: they have passion, patience and resilience to fulfill it, they have big hearts and sympathy for other people,” said Veronika Zonabend, Co-Founder of UWC Dilijan and Chair of the Board.

In the academic year 2021/22 UWC Dilijan has welcomed 220 students from more than 80 countries; the college’s teaching staff consists of 36 teachers from 15 countries. The total number of staff members this year is 78 with 44 from Armenia. Many students continue availing of the opportunity to study at UWC Dilijan thanks to the generous support of private donors, corporate entities and organisations: 20% of students are on a full scholarship, 60% of students – on a partial scholarship.

The academic performance of the Class of 2021, whose education was most disrupted by both the global pandemic and the war in Armenia, was the strongest in the college’s history. The pass rate is 99.1%, almost a quarter of students have 40+ points, and the number of bilingual diplomas has grown considerably.

Despite the pandemic our students found a way to give back to the community. During the summer Edik Nazaryan, from Stepanavan, and Andranik Galoyan, from the USA, with the support of Stepanavan entertainment and culture centre, organised a two-week English and Math programme in Stepanavan in the Lori Province of Armenia. They said, “We were delighted with the response we got and the interest in the programme. It was a rewarding experience for us to share our knowledge with the kids who, like ourselves, are thirsty for knowledge.”

UWC Dilijan now has six generations of alumni — 620 graduates from 105 countries. They continue to give back to the UWCD community with time, talent and treasure; 20% of alumni volunteer, for example, at the summer camp Just Dilijan It, with projects of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and as part of the school activities.

“There is a common thread that unites the vastly different experiences that I had at UWC Dilijan: growth,” says this year’s graduate Emilio Rosas Gutierrez from Mexico. “I came to Armenia with a firm conviction that, regardless of the challenges I knew I would face, I would take in all that our host country had to offer. I pursued this mission starting with my first term, I encountered the hospitality of the Armenian people and made lasting friendships. In the end, we all saw our efforts come to fruition. A year after the pandemic hit, I received the news of where I would be going after graduation. I was generously awarded the Woodruff Scholarship from Emory University in Atlanta, USA. It was the challenges I faced at UWCD, and the growth that resulted from them, which positioned me as an example of the type of person my scholarship is awarded to.”

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