Dr. Victoria Mora - UWC-USA President
Greetings from UWC-USA!
I am truly fortunate to lead a school whose mission speaks boldly to the present while envisioning a brighter future. The UWC movement was founded in response to the dark days of the Cold War. It confronted isolationism and a brand of nationalism that threatened the planet and challenged our shared sense of responsibility for its future. Our mission remains as relevant today as it ever was.
A two-year experience at UWC-USA immerses students in an environment and community that tests their values and the power of their citizenship and leadership. We are a microcosm of the world, situated in an environment impacted by climate change, and part of a diverse, global population collaborating across national, cultural, religious, and socio-economic differences. At UWC-USA, we’re not only preparing our students for their future when we engage them in academics, experiential learning, and a residential community. We’re inviting them to fully contribute to the kind of classroom and community they can be proud of. We’re inviting them to begin their journey as global citizens.
Our students come to us with a sense of idealism and a desire to change the world. They leave with tools to do so. They come to us with a narrow view of the world and leave with friends from every populated continent. They come to us unsure how to build a great community.
UWC-USA is a human community bound by a belief that education is a force for good. Won’t you engage our mission and join us in making education a force for peace and a sustainable future?
With hope and optimism,
Victoria J. Mora, Ph.D.
Bibi MacDougall ’20 spoke at virtual graduation this spring. She shared her reflections on UWC-USA and the importance of passion.
Defiantly staring up at a burly TSA officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, I had a revelation about the delicate balance between security and liberty.
“I speak on behalf of international education at the secondary level. This executive order cuts at the heart of our tremendous capacity to shape young people for the rest of their lives, especially in the direction of mutual understanding that honors difference even as it lays claim to our shared humanity.”
“We are called to stand up for George Floyd and for so many others whose lives have been taken by injustice here in the United States and all over the world. Wherever we are — in our homes, in our workplaces, in the UWC movement — we are being called to stand up for peace. And for the justice that makes it possible. We are also being called to listen, especially to the Other. It is, as ever, the only way forward.”
As the pandemic set in, Victoria wrote a series of communications to the UWC-USA community to update them on the changes the coronavirus necessitated at UWC-USA.
Big challenges can lead to significant learning and the coronavirus pandemic is no exception. To learn more about our plans, what the immediate future holds, and more details about our response, please visit the website for further information.
It’s difficult to express the gratitude that all of us feel for the ways our community has risen to the challenge facing us.
I’m pleased to report that our first day of distance learning began yesterday. Not surprisingly, our students are demonstrating the resilience we would expect.
It is wonderful to be part of such a dedicated group of professionals who know that our mission won’t be deterred in the face of global crisis. In fact, this is when our mission is more important than ever!
At UWC, we talk a lot about resilience. And we hold out for ourselves the possibility that we just might be not only dreamers, not only doers, but “dreamers who do.”
As part of our effort to contribute to communal sustainability at this difficult time, we have been working for the past few weeks with a local shelter and food pantry, the Samaritan House, to provide over 400 meals per week to support a spike in local need. You can read about this important initiative here.
We’re all pulling in the same direction with the same goals in mind. We’re all seeking the facts that will inform our decisions in a time when facts are evolving. I can think of no other community I would want to be working with right now than the UWC community of parents, faculty, staff, friends, volunteers and alumni.
To paraphrase Kurt Hahn, this is the time for us to show up as “crew, not passengers.” This is the time for all members of our school community to build the future that is only possible by our combined efforts.
Our task is clear: make sure that we offer a high quality, culturally rich, humanly transformative UWC-USA educational experience–academic, experiential, residential–while also keeping our campus and local community safe and managing our resources responsibly. A clear task, but not simple.
You can also write letters or call your congressional delegations. Join a conversation that makes you uncomfortable. Offer the resources you have, be they time, talent, or treasure. Take note and respond. It really only matters that we show up. And act.
We’re living in an age when our great power, our attention, is under threat.
What better way to do this than to speak one another’s names? And by so doing, begin to acknowledge publicly the different languages and cultures each of us carries with us, begin to acknowledge publicly that we have work to do to understand one another, starting with learning how to pronounce one another’s names?
Victoria often writes an introductory note to alumni as part of the Alumni E-News. Her notes to alumni typically speak to the UWC-USA experience, the importance of staying connected to the school, and the power of the UWC mission.
The vision we all share for a more sustainable and peaceful world gives us energy and purpose in our daily work here in Montezuma. I hope you carry memories from your time here that give you energy and purpose to make a positive difference wherever you are. Thank you for all you do for UWC-USA and the UWC movement.
As usual, the spring ushered in Project Week at UWC-USA. As I hope our alumni remember fondly, it is a time for students and faculty to get out on the road and work on something that is challenging, interesting, and always meaningful. I’m impressed with the projects they undertake.
Our new Wednesday morning campus service model has me inspired! There is something incredibly powerful about taking time out to labor side by side in service of improving our campus for everyone’s enjoyment and safety. There is also something incredibly powerful about expressing our gratitude to all who labor long hours to support our classroom, experiential, and residential experience by joining them and serving under their leadership.
The first-year students have arrived! They deserve the exclamation point. They have filled the place with enthusiasm and excitement, jumping in with both feet to all of the activities planned for them. I know because I joined them for Dance Fun in the auditorium last night, where we were treated to Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and Bollywood dance lessons led by students who were themselves first-years just last year.
During the last several days I have been constantly reminded of a quote from our founder, Kurt Hahn, and so I share it with you here.“There is more in you than you think.” Let’s each of us remember this about ourselves in the days ahead, and let’s expect it of one another, too.