Impressed the Queen
Her Majesty The Queen has followed UWC Red Cross Nordic in Sogn og Fjordane county since the college was established. Yesterday she took part in its 20th anniversary celebration.
Over 200 students from more than 90 countries attend the college, which is located in the village of Flekke in Fjaler municipality. Each year 10 Norwegian youth are given the opportunity to complete their upper secondary education here, as representatives of Norway and the Nordic region.
Opened a new visitor's centre
Queen Sonja and Queen Noor of Jordan undertook the official opening of UWC Red Cross Nordic in 1995. Queen Sonja is the patron of the college.
Today the school was expanded with a new visitor's centre, composed of two buildings named in honour of Henry Dunant and Thor Heyerdahl, respectively. Queen Sonja has followed UWC Red Cross Nordic for over 20 years, visiting numerous times, and has stated that the college “is dear to her heart”. The Queen has enjoyed watching the school grow, with more buildings, more activities and more students wishing to experience two unique years in Flekke with people from all over the world. The addition of the two new buildings formally opened by the Queen will enable even more young people to take part in the wide range of activities.
- It is so wonderful to be here today. It is incredible to see – after 20 years – how this school has grown and the results it has achieved. One can only salute all the energetic people who have made this possible, the Queen said to journalists after the opening.
A special meeting
Queen Sonja had a special meeting with student Melvin Ricardo Cornejo Gomez from El Salvador, who came to UWC Red Cross Nordic via the Survivors of Conflict programme. The young man became paralysed after being shot while swimming with friends. The college has opened up new opportunities for him, and he impressed everyone earlier this year by poling 20 km on cross-country skis during the Ridderenn skiing competition for visually impaired and disabled persons. The Queen also had the opportunity to view his artwork, which was on display in the lobby of the Høegh Centre at the college. Together with Rektor Richard Lamont, Mr Gomez gave the Queen a guided tour of the Haugland Rehabilitation Centre, which lies in close proximity to the college.
The evening was concluded in the auditorium with a first-rate cultural programme put together by the pupils. Members of the audience included pupils, teachers, former rectors and the college’s supporters from the very start. The programme featured an impressive 24 performances, ranging from classical piano and song to Indian dance and Lebanese bellydance.
Champions of peace
The first UWC college was founded in 1962 with the vision of bringing together young people who had experienced the political conflict of the Cold War era. UWC schools and colleges offer an education based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding, with the intention that the students will act as champions of peace. Today there are 14 UWC schools and colleges teaching children and young people between the ages of 2 and 19.
Many of the students are refugees and come from countries wracked by war and conflict. Each year pupils who have grown up in SOS Children’s Villages are admitted to the colleges. After two years of study in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, most go on to complete their higher education at prestigious universities worldwide.