As a global organization of schools, the UWC movement has been taking measures to safeguard the health and well being of our community against the COVID-19 outbreak since late January and we continue to do so each day. UWC Mostar and all UWC schools have been taking action depending on their location, context and advice from local authorities, while acknowledging that the situation is in constant evolution.
Entering the Mostar Gimnazija in 2006, our school building was still partly in ruin from a war that had ended only a decade before. Now, after more than twenty years of peace, UWC Mostar stands as a bright model for post-conflict education and reconciliation. Though national divisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina persist — we are still the only school in the country where Bosniak, Croat, and Serb youth live and go to school together — the college has affirmatively grounded itself in our community. And with nearly 200 students from 60 countries, staff from 10 countries, and with 608 alumni all around the world, the global family of UWC Mostar grows year by year.
We learn in Mostar through late night talks in rooms, on walks from residence to school, sharing coffee with refugees in service activities, collecting oral histories for Balkan Studies projects, in buses traveling around the region for project weeks and, of course, through inspiring classes that aim to reimagine our relationships with facts and ideas that shape these worlds outside the classroom. While the International Baccalaureate forms the foundation for academics, any UWC Mostar student will tell you that the intellectual and emotional growth you undergo here cannot be contained by the IB. We are committed to the fact that learning takes place in the everyday.
At UWC Mostar, the city is our campus, and our campus is the city. Unique amongst UWCs, our students and staff live all around the city of Mostar. We share our main school building with the Mostar Gimnazija, one of the best secondary schools in the country. Our cultural performances are held in a city youth center. Teachers and students meet in local coffee shops to discuss academics and plan the community festivals we host for the community. Weekends at the Croatian seaside or music at the Sarajevo Jazz Festival are a short bus ride away. Integration and engagement are essential practices, core to our daily existence.