First United World College in Germany
Old monastery converted into a modern school
Joint project carried out by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the German UWC foundation
Freiburg/Stuttgart, September 23, 2014 – Today, three years after the ground-breaking ceremony, the UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg officially opened its doors. During an opening event with around 400 guests, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and Robert Bosch GmbH symbolically presented the school director, Laurence Nodder, with the keys to the school.
The UWC Robert Bosch College is a unique high school for students from around the world. It is a joint project being carried out by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the German UWC foundation. In addition, the UWC Robert Bosch College is being supported by the German state of Baden-Württemberg, which is covering half of the school’s operating costs. "A strong society is only possible with a lively democracy and an engaged, curious, critical, and – where necessary – loud citizenry. The UWC wants to give its students the skills they need to actively get involved and participate," said Silke Krebs from the Staatsministerium (state ministry) of Baden-Württemberg. "Thanks to this approach, the UWC Robert Bosch College enriches our educational landscape here in Baden-Württemberg."
The UWC Robert Bosch College is the first and only United World College in Germany. Similar to existing UWCs in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, it is based on a one-of-a-kind school concept: young people from around the world and across all walks of life live and learn together for two years in an environment that promotes tolerance, intercultural understanding, peace, and fairness. The students earn an International Baccalaureate, which is recognized worldwide as a university entrance qualification.
The students are selected purely based on aptitude and talent. An extensive fellowship program ensures that all the selected students can afford to attend the school in Freiburg. The UWC Robert Bosch College has space for 200 students and accepts 100 students each year. One quarter of the students are from Germany, and three quarters are from other countries. "We are very proud to be able to celebrate the opening of this exceptional school today," said Dr. Ingrid Hamm, Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. "The UWC Robert Bosch College is the largest individual project carried out in the history of Robert Bosch Stiftung. This unique educational project combines international under-standing, social commitment, and innovative teaching concepts. Having students from numerous, different cultures live together will prepare them for a globalized world and teach them to find solutions to problems by working together."
The students of the inaugural class come from 71 different countries – including Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, the Philippines, Kenya, and the USA. In addition, the 21-member teaching staff and school director Laurence Nodder also represent international experience. Originally from South Africa, Nodder previously served for 14 years as the director of the Waterford Kamhlaba United World College in Swaziland, founded in 1982. "UWC Robert Bosch College not only brings together students of vastly different backgrounds, but it also creates a framework in which the students and their teachers live together, learn together and from one another, and serve together. The UWC movement truly turns education into a force that unites people, nations, and cultures in the quest for peace and a sustainable future," said Nodder.
The German UWC foundation selects around 25 German students each year and sends the scholarship holders to United World Colleges across the globe. "The fact that we can now welcome 200 young people – whether refugees, homeless children, or the sons and daughters of professors – to a UWC here in Freiburg is magnificent. It’s the dream of a lifetime," said Jens Waltermann, chairman of the board of the German UWC foundation. "We are unimaginably grateful to our partners, in particular the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the state of Baden-Württemberg, for making this possible."
The Robert Bosch Stiftung and Robert Bosch GmbH are investing approximately 44 million euros in the UWC Robert Bosch College. Together the partners selected a special place to build the school: the UWC Robert Bosch College was created by remodeling and expanding a former Carthusian monastery. This included the elaborate restoration of the protected baroque buildings and the addition of a glass-paneled auditorium with a cafeteria and kitchen. In order to preserve the historic structure of the charterhouse, the architects from the Freiburg-based company hotz + architekten worked closely with the Freiburg regional commission for the preservation of historic buildings.
A village comprised of eight dormitories for students and four for teachers was built next to the charterhouse, based on the designs by the Cologne-based architectural office of Peter Kulka. Together with the charterhouse and the other historic buildings, they form a beautiful ensemble of old and new. Each dorm room will house four students from different countries – a characteristic typical of UWCs.
The new buildings adhere to the Freiburg standard for energy-efficient construction, and measures were even taken to improve the energy efficiency of the historic buildings. A combined heat and power plant and a solar power system supply the village with heat and power in line with the college’s focus on environmental consciousness and sustainability.