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UWC Mahindra Project Based Diploma: First Cohort

29th Jan 2016 by admin - , (0) Comment

 “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”- Jackie Robinson


Photo Courtesy: Antoine Gugu| Left to Right: Cary Reid (PBD Coordinator) with the pilot PBD batch: Oscar (UK), Kate (Canada), and Anna (Australia).

We often hear people say they wish to “change the world,” or “fight for a better cause.” Nowadays such phrases are being thrown around carelessly, without the speaker having grasped the full weight of these words or what it means to be a change-maker in a world that seems to be so resistant to change. However, that is not to say that there is any lack of young, ambitious individuals looking for ways to make change. Increasingly, the world is becoming more dependent on young adults from diverse backgrounds, to take the first step towards making meaningful impact. It requires committed, motivated young men and women to sow the seeds for a more prosperous future. 


What is UWC Mahindra Project Based Diploma ?

UWC Mahindra Project Based Diploma offers students the chance to do just that. It was a programme designed by a group of alumni, who wished to change and modify the way in which our education system is modeled. Cary Reid, a key proponent of the Diploma programme and an alumnus of UWC Atlantic College, said that the programme was designed keeping in mind all the bold ideas that UWC students “would like to implement, but could not due to time constraints or lack of support.” This programme gives students the opportunity to at least start thinking about the thought processes that go behind making impact and take the first few steps to becoming a changemaker. 

UWC Mahindra Project Based Diploma will allow students to plan, pilot and finally initiate a project that will help address a particular need that they have identified in their immediate communities. Students will be appointed multiple mentors who specialize in the various fields essential to their projects, and this, coupled with the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma, will form the bulk of their academic experience. 

UWC Mahindra College is the first to launch this programme, in the hope that in the coming years, more UWCs will take up the initiative and allow more students to uphold its mission statement of making “education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.” Although it is a relatively new programme, it has received acclaim from most of the major universities around the world who are extremely enthusiastic and optimistic about this new initiative.  

Current Status

Currently, there are three out of the original 30 students who had applied from UWC Mahindra College, who have been selected to enroll in this programme. They have already discussed their project proposals with faculty members, and have begun the groundwork on their project since January. The project proposals range from helping young women in conflict zones around the world to developing new strategies to enhance child education in the local valley. Ann Jyothis, a faculty member here at UWC Mahindra College, knows that this experience won’t be perfect the first time round, but hopes that down the line, the risks can be mitigated thus encouraging more and more students to participate. “You will have ups and downs, but you will have to learn to get unstuck,” she said. The students will be forced to think even more critically than they normally would, considering that their actions will resonate in the lives of many in the community.   

Student Projects

Anna will be working on a community theatre project that will collect, document and share stories of rural women with a focus on equality & social justice. Her project will also require her to solve problems of language & translation, history, logistics, anthropology, responding to different audiences, and finance. For her Cambridge Pre-U process, she will be doing Economics, Theatre, and Literature. Anna is a very creative student and this will be a benefit for her work. Her history with and enthusiasm for the performing arts is going to help with her work with partners.  

Kate will be working on a documentary of communities in conflict with a view to understanding how the conflict affects all the stakeholders. Her project will also require her to solve problems of language, anthropology, logistics, finance, and presentation skills. She will also work on her proficiency in film-making. For her Cambridge Pre-U process, she will be doing Economics, Global Politics, and History. Kate is very driven and resourceful. She has started to work with some partners on the context of the conflicts with which she will engage.  

Oscar will be working on writing stories of the changes to the fishing communities along the Indian coastline with a focus on anthropology, economics, education, and environmental sustainability. His project will also require him to solve problems of language, marketing, logistics, publishing, responding to different audiences, and transportation. For his Cambridge Pre-U process, he will be doing Economics, Philosophy, and Literature. Oscar is very passionate about the subject of his project and the opportunity to work with a fishing community did a lot to help him continue to frame the scope of his project. He is very good at building relationships with partners and this will be invaluable given the location of his project. 

Funding & Partnerships

 As of now, most of the funding for this programme comes from UWC alumni and other stakeholders of the UWC movement. Nevertheless we are constantly looking for more funding, and just general interest in this new UWC Mahindra Project Based Diploma which promises to deepen the way we think of and perceive the idea of impact. If you or anyone you know would like to get in touch with us to partner or donate, please drop us an email at [email protected] or fill out this form here.


– Joita Das (Class of ’16)


Contributing writer:

-Cary Reid (UWC Atlantic, Class of ’99)

UWC Mahindra Project Based Diploma Coordinator

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