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About UWC Philippines

The United World College movement developed from the ideas of Kurt Hahn, a renowned German educationalist. Responding to the horrors of World War II, Hahn reasoned that the chances that world wars would recur could be reduced by bringing together young people from different nations to a place where they could live and work together regardless of race, religion, nationality, or background.

By the early 1970s, Lord Mountbatten, in his capacity as president of the United World Colleges, promoted the UWC movement to heads of state, politicians, and personalities all over the world, encouraging them to lend support to the movement. It was during this time that Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, was invited by Lord Mountbatten to have the Philippines select and nominate deserving young adults to Pearson College and Atlantic College. The Ayala Foundation (formerly known as the Filipinas Foundation) was chosen as the National Committee for the selection of Filipino scholars to the UWCs. In 1974, Teresita Cruz-Daza, was chosen as the first Filipino student to attend Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific.

The beginning of UWC Philippines was spearheaded by Atty. Eduardo F. Tan, Corporate Secretary of Filipinas Foundation. Atty. Tan was a passionate believer in the UWC movement and he was a role model for the scholars. Older graduates recall his varied interests in philosophy, arts, and international affairs—a true renaissance man.

From 1974 to 2005, the Foundation continued to select and send scholars from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to attend UWCs. Through the Foundation, Filipino scholars were sent to Pearson College in Canada, Atlantic College in Wales, UWC-USA in New Mexico, Adriatic College in Italy, Li Po Chun College in Hong Kong, and the Simon Bolivar College of Agriculture in Venezuela.

With a number of graduates pursuing further studies in North America, Europe, and Japan, participation by former students in the selection process remained uneven during the late 1980s and the 1990s. But starting in 2003, Ayala Foundation handed over more of the responsibilities of the National Committee to UWC Philippine alumni. In 2006, with a one-time grant from the Ayala Foundation for the selection process, the alumni with the help of some alumni parents assumed full responsibility for the selection process.

Currently, the National Committee is run by a new, non-incorporated, fully-volunteer group composed of graduates, parents, and current students as of 2023.