Dr Pilvi Torsti
In September 2006, the Initiative of United World Colleges (UWC) and International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) in Bosnia and Herzegovina founded the United World College in Mostar (UWC Mostar), with the aim of demonstrating a quality educational model which will serve as a reference for the process of educational reform in the country.
The Initiative of the United World Colleges and the International Baccalaureate Organization proceeded with a pioneering initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina – to develop a template for a convincing classroom model which could open new avenues for the country's education system. The Initiative relied on the 40 years of experience of the United World College movement in working with pupils of different national, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The Initiative also leaned on the 40 years of experience of the IBO in molding an international secondary school syllabus which is valid for countries and peoples around the world.
From the beginning, the UWC-IBO Initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina was planned to proceed in incremental stages. The start-up period of 18 months (March 2005-August 2006) was designed to run preparatory activities and develop the political and financial support for the Initiative. The start-up period was designed in two parts: first, to determine the feasibility of the Initiative, and second, to carry out the full implementation of it in September 2006.
The United World College in Mostar (UWC Mostar) officially opened its doors to students from Bosnia and Herzegovina and abroad on 25 September 2006 as the 12th of all the UWCs. The College was officially inaugurated by Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, the President of the United World Colleges, on 22 May 2007. The first generation of 88 students came from more than 30 countries of the world.
UWC Mostar was and is the first UWC with the explicit aim to contribute to the reconstruction of a post-conflict society, and also the first to be housed within an existing national school. The college is based within the striking Austro-Hungarian building of Gimnazija Mostar. Our students are secondary school students belonging to all ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as by students from the nearby region and further abroad, all of whom live, study and serve the community together.
UWC Mostar enriches the UWC movement by adding its unique aim: “To equip the next generations of young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the knowledge, skills, leadership qualities and international values, necessary to bridge the still existing ethnic divisions and move their country into the 21st century.”
We aim to reach and to influence those young people in Bosnia who are seeking to shape their future in a society that has yet to come to terms with its past. They are the future of the country and its hope for reconciliation. Furthermore, the UWC Mostar broadens this special mission by offering the same opportunities to the young people from all over the world, especially those coming from other post-conflict countries, particularly from the Balkans.
UWC Mostar educates students to learn and appreciate their differences, at the same time promoting equality, tolerance and critical thinking. All students live, study and serve in the community together creating a unique example of integrated education in post war Bosnia and Herzegovina. We aim to offer a convincing classroom model of integrated curriculum thus offering a model for broader educational reform in the country and the region.
For further information, download the political statement from our Board, "A School in the Peace Process”
Dr Pilvi Torsti
Dr Lamija Tanovic