In memoriam David B. Sutcliffe

I met David  for the first time in 1984 in Duino. Though we were from a relatively unknown school from Slovenia (Yugoslavia in those days), he kindly hosted me and our students. The three days that I spent talking to him and attending classes changed my educational paradigm. After that visit, our friendship started  and lasted until his death. Later, he came to our school several times with the students, driving a van! In 1987, he introduced me to the idea of starting the IB programme at our school. As a young and inexperienced headteacher I agreed without knowing what a demanding project it would be. After that decision, David gave us all the support we needed and a fruitful collaboration between the two schools started: our teachers visited UWC Duino,  Duino teachers visited us and helped our teachers. David instructed on me how to cope with the introduction of the IB program. He was an outstanding mentor and I learnt the secrets of effective leadership from him. His visionary view on education and understanding of young people stayed with me all my career. I will never forget our discussions in Duino. David was also an exceptional host. From him, I learnt that there are no known and unknown schools: there are only schools regardless of their location. All of them deserve the same treatment and help.    

In 1990  we enrolled our first IB students.  We were the first school (together with the school in Ljubljana) with the IB program in so-called Eastern Europe. It was a tremendous success for us and the IB. It was David’s success as well. We would never have managed to  introduce the IB program without him.

There came a time when we didn’t have much contact with each other for a few years. Then,  in 2005 he came to Slovenia to introduce the idea of UWCiM and my involvement in the project as a person who knows the region. I admired his enthusiasm and energy. By then, he had already established two UWC colleges and still had the energy for a third one! I was honoured by the offer and stayed involved in David’s  project for ten years. Also, David was one of the few people outside the Balkan region who understood the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He stated very clearly that investing in education is the only way to solve problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His idea of the national program based on the IB is visionary and, as yet, unrealised. He wrote a visionary text about the UWC movement and international education  which deserves to be discussed at a conference in the near future. We owe that to David.

David was my friend and mentor. My career would never be the same without knowing and working with him.  Thank you and farewell David.

Ivan Lorenčič
II. gimnazija Maribor


David B. Sutcliffe's family has sent the following message to the UWC community: "We have been greatly moved and are immensely grateful for all the wonderful messages, memories and thanks to David, which have comforted and supported us at this sad time. David’s funeral will take place at All Saints’ Church, 122-122A High Street, Lindfield, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 2HS on Friday, 29th November at 11.30 am. Family and friends are welcome. There will be a reception afterwards at The Tiger (church hall) next door. Family flowers only. According to David’s wishes, any donations should please go to the UWC Mostar Endowment Fund for student scholarships. It is thought that there will also be a memorial event for David held in the New Year. With love from Elisabeth, Michael, Veronica and families.’