The new academic year promises to be a special one at UWC Dilijan for several reasons.
Welcoming 111 new students, who will be studying in the unique setting in the picturesque town of Dilijan, is an extraordinary day in the life of the closely-knit UWC Dilijan community. Students from 56 countries, including 9 from Armenia and three from Nagorno-Karabakh, are waiting in anticipation to experience and learn from the many opportunities UWC Dilijan offers.
Diversity, including nationality, religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background, is the cornerstone of the UWC education. UWC Dilijan currently has a total of 220 students from 72 countries in its two-year IB Diploma Program. Many students have been given a chance to study at UWC Dilijan thanks to the generous support of private donors, corporate entities, and organizations. Over 75 percent of students are on scholarships: 35 percent on full scholarships and 40 percent on partial scholarships.
As the school welcomes the new and old students and staff to campus, two UWC Dilijan alumni join its teaching staff—a first for the young school. Nour Mussa came to study at UWC Dilijan as a refugee from Sudan via Lebanon. Having graduated with a BA in Mathematics from the University of Rochester, New York, Nour is now a mathematics teacher assistant. From Uruguay, Paula Leguisamo graduated from UWC Dilijan in 2018 and has been an active member of the school’s community. With a BA in Philosophy from her home country, Paula is returning to UWCD as a philosophy teacher assistant.
“I strongly believe in the power of education for fostering intercultural understanding and creating a sustainable future,” said Paula. “However, I also believe that this can only be achieved if education is accessible to everyone. This belief has become the driving force behind shaping my career.”
Among UWC Dilijan’s new staff is Adam Armanski, Head of UWC Dilijan. Adam, who is Polish, previously taught at schools in China, Kazakhstan, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey and Norway, where he worked for eight years and was the founding head of school at Gjøvikregionen International School. Adam’s educational career has been in IB World Schools all along with UWCD being his seventh. Apart from Polish, Adam speaks English, German, and Russian, and is the first person at the helm of the school with a good understanding of the region and post-Soviet space.
Another reason to celebrate is the academic performance of the 103 students that graduated in 2023. The pass rate of IB exams was 96 percent (compared with 79 percent worldwide), with 15 percent (compared with 8.6 percent worldwide) achieving 40+ points on their exam scores and 48 percent receiving bilingual diplomas (compared with 27 percent worldwide).
University acceptances remain strong, as well. Out of 103 students of the Class of 2023, 21 are taking a gap year while the rest will begin their journey in receiving a university education. Geographic destinations are as follows: 56 percent – U.S., nine percent – Netherlands, four percent – Canada; two percent – Austria; two percent – Germany; two percent – France; one percent – Hong Kong. Examples of university placements include: U.S.: Brown University, Cornell University, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Middlebury College; Canada: McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto; U.K.: Imperial College London, University College London, King’s College London, University of Edinburgh, University of St. Andrews; Netherlands: University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, Erasmus University College, TU Delft; France: Sciences Po, Université Paris Nanterre; Germany: Bard College Berlin.
This year has another important angle. It is UCWD’s 10th year and the school is starting the program of events in the run up to the 10th Anniversary, which will be marked in October 2024.
“I have every confidence that this academic year we will do our utmost to build on the strong foundations of UWCD and consolidate what has been achieved in preparation for the celebration of the UWC Dilijan’s first decade in 2024. On a personal level, aware of the tremendous hospitality and warmth of the Armenian people, I look forward to learning more about this wonderful country and contributing to its development through education,” said Adam Armanski, commenting on the start of his tenure as Head of UWC Dilijan.
UWC Dilijan is the first international boarding school of the UWC education model in the region. The school opened in 2014 in the Armenian town of Dilijan and currently has 220 students from 72 countries and 84 staff members from 16 countries. UWC Dilijan is part of the UWC movement, which comprises of 18 international schools and colleges as well as national committees in almost 160 countries.
UWC Dilijan was initiated and masterminded by impact investors and entrepreneurs Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend with the support of other Founding Patrons. Its admissions policy is in accordance with the UWC movement. Students are accepted through a selection process and enrolled regardless of socio-economic background, on the basis of demonstrated need. Over 70 percent of students receive full or partial scholarships. The school’s academic program– The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) – is an assessed program for students aged 16 to 19. UWC Dilijan has over 800 alumni around the world.