Candidate Pack – June 2021
Message from the
Chair of the Board
Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, Chair of the Board.
After leading UWC International for six years, our Executive
Director Jens Waltermann leaves us at the end of June 2021.
The UWC International Board has embraced the opportunity to
embark on a graceful transition that honours Jens’ legacy whilst
simultaneously preparing the way for new leadership.
We are keenly aware that this transition presents a powerful
moment for celebration, reflection and renewal. The search for a
new Executive Director represents an important opportunity and
inflection point to think anew about what is working and what needs
to continue to change in order for UWC to keep pace with the
times. We seize this moment to innovate, refocus and strengthen
Our vision of making education a pathway to peace and sustainability
continues to grow as we exchange ideas, learn from one another
and strategise together. Over the last two years, we have taken time
to reflect on who we are, what we believe, and our commitments to
each other. As a result, we have embarked on a journey to reshape
some of our ways of working, governing, managing and decision
making in order to better leverage the value that each part of us,
as individuals and as collectives, brings to our vision and mission.
We know that our national committees’ proximity to populations from
which our students originate helps the UWC to increase diversity and
acquire better understanding of how to nurture inclusion. The world
demands for institutions like UWC to embrace diversity and inclusion
principles in programming, operating and behaviour. This is the route
we have embarked on, but we are still learning to walk the talk.
Change must become visible in our learning curriculum, governance
and management structures, our partnerships and programmes, or
in the way we fundraise and communicate our work.
With 60 years of history behind us, we are excited about continuing
to work in partnership as a next generation education institution,
empowered to have outsized impact and agile enough to adapt to
our changing world.
We have made important progress to contribute to building an
education movement whose alumni continue to shape agendas
of national and global institutions. However, we remain a structure
which is neither highly centralised nor taking full advantage of its
nimble, highly networked organisational model. As we move from
a Global North-dominated top-down decision-making body to a
lighter network of peers with shared leadership from the North
and South, the new Executive Director will develop a lean and
agile centre to focus on stewarding an alliance of powerful and
innovative member-schools, partners, national committees, and staff
to co-create a different organisational model that is adaptable and
relevant in today’s world. The centre will be tasked with creating
an environment which helps UWC to grow stronger by:
• weaving together a collective impact story and aligning us to
opportunities for global advocacy for the kind of education we stand
• coordinating a collective programme strategy;
• upping our fundraising performance through technical assistance,
peer learning and external benchmarking;
• facilitating peer transparency and accountability.
In light of our vision for UWC International, we seek a leader who
is a strong internal influencer and negotiator who can support
UWC members in structuring a next generation network of schools.
Important character traits will include:
• facilitative leadership with strong collaboration instincts and internal
influencing and negotiating skills;
• authenticity as an inspiring champion of education;
• creativity and openness to new approaches;
• familiarity with working in federated organisations;
• able to embody UWC values externally;
• a deep appreciation for, commitment to, and experience of with
Thank you for considering this exciting opportunity,
Dr Musimbi Kanyoro
Chair of the Board, UWC International
United World Colleges (UWC) is a global family of schools and
colleges that makes a powerful difference. With a shared goal of
working towards global peace and sustainability, the UWC movement
brings together young people from around the world, irrespective of
their background, beliefs and economic means, to study in one of
its 18 schools on four continents. There, they don’t just learn how to
be great at passing exams; they learn how to communicate across
diverse boundaries and develop the skills to be changemakers.
The new Executive Director of UWC International will build on the
progress of recent years, during which UWC has experienced
significant expansion. Whilst it took 45 years to reach 11 member
schools, UWC has grown to 18 schools in just the last ten years.
Together with this growth has come the need for revisiting its
governance structure to ensure more cohesion. The Executive
Director will facilitate the transition of UWC to its next stage, which
will require the development and maintenance of relationships
across UWC and with external stakeholders and partners, as
well as creative and constructive problem-solving within a diverse
As the Executive Director, you will be leading a truly international
team of 30 highly dedicated professionals in London and Berlin as
well as eight consultants based in various parts of the globe.
While reporting to the Chair of the International Board, you will
support and work in close cooperation with the UWC International
Council and UWC International Board, as well as with the 18 schools,
more than 155 national committees, and 60,000+ alumni, so as to
extend UWC’s reach and impact. The UWC movement is steadily
gaining momentum. This is an exciting opportunity to fulfil an inspiring
If this sounds like a role that will make you leap out of bed every day,
then read on for further details.
The deadline for receipt of applications is midday GMT on
Monday, 21 June 2021.
UWC (United World Colleges) is a global education movement with
a mission to make education a force to unite people, nations and
cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
Central to the ethos of UWC is the belief that education can bring
together young people from all backgrounds on the basis of their
shared humanity to engage with the possibility of social change
through courageous action, personal example and selfless
leadership. To achieve this, UWC schools and colleges all over
the world deliver a challenging and transformational educational
experience to a deliberately diverse group of young people, inspiring
them to become agents of positive change, in line with UWC’s core
• international and intercultural understanding;
• celebration of difference;
• personal responsibility and integrity;
• mutual responsibility and respect;
• compassion and service;
• respect for the environment;
• a sense of idealism;
• personal challenge;
• action and personal example.
As an international educational NGO with schools and colleges and
UWC national committees (for student selection and fundraising)
all around the world, and UWC International as its coordinating
and governing body, UWC is a federal organisation. The UWC
International Office is the executive arm of UWC International and
is based in London, UK, and Berlin, Germany.
Today, UWC has 18 schools located in the United Kingdom,
Singapore, Canada, Eswatini, the USA, Italy, Hong Kong, Norway,
the Netherlands, India, Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Germany, Armenia, China, Thailand, Japan and Tanzania.
Each school and college has its own distinct character and identity,
influenced by its host country, the specific setting, cultural context
and its community.
While the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
(IBDP), a qualification that UWC played a major part in developing,
is at the core of academic life at each UWC school and college, a
UWC education goes above and beyond the requirements it sets.
With a deliberately diverse student and staff body at each UWC
school and college - with members from many different national,
socio-economic, cultural, linguistic, political and educational
backgrounds - UWC recognises that the curriculum has to allow
for as many interpretations and perceptions as there are
students in the programme, so that the students feel able to
represent their own history and perspective authentically. At
UWC, students don’t just learn how to be great at passing
exams; they learn how to communicate across cultural
boundaries; they develop the skills to be a changemaker; they design
and engage in initiatives that transform their lives and the lives of those
around them for the better.
UWC students are selected domestically in more than 155 countries
through UWC’s unique, volunteer-based national committee system.
Selection is based on demonstrated promise and potential to fulfil
the UWC mission. In accordance with the UWC ethos that education
should be independent of students’ socioeconomic means, and to
ensure real diversity, UWC runs the world’s largest scholarship
programme in international secondary education, with over
80% of students selected by UWC national committees receiving
a scholarship. This creates a major financial challenge: an annual
funding need of about $100 million USD per year across the UWC
movement. A significant portion of this is met through fundraising,
with most of the responsibility resting with UWC schools and colleges
and some UWC national committees, with UWC International
also increasingly active in this area. Funding partners include
governments, foundations, corporations, individual benefactors and,
more and more, UWC alumni.
UWC also runs shorter educational programmes - conducted at the
campuses of its 18 schools and colleges and beyond - increasing
the number of people who can have access to a UWC educational
UWC fosters a lifelong commitment to social responsibility and, to
date, it has inspired a worldwide network of almost 60,000 alumni,
who go on to become leaders in politics, NGOs, social enterprises,
community movements, charities, business, and more.
UWC International (formally “The United World Colleges
(International)”) is a registered company and charity in the United
Kingdom, and registered as a gGmbH in Germany.
It is the organisation at the centre of the UWC movement and its
many different stakeholders, and its functions embrace leadership,
oversight, accountability and support. Its role is to coordinate
between the different UWC stakeholders, to set the global direction
and strategy for the UWC movement, to approve new UWC schools,
colleges, national committees and educational programmes, to be in
charge of UWC’s global fundraising, engagement and communication
projects, and to ensure the adherence of all stakeholders to jointly
UWC International’s structure deliberately reflects the broader
UWC movement. All the UWC schools and colleges form part of
its governance, with national committees also being represented.
This builds structure around the concept that in a federal organisation
the legitimacy of the ‘centre’ comes from acting on behalf of the
‘whole’. UWC International has three components:
• The UWC International Board has executive responsibility for the
governance of the organisation and meets three times a year. It
comprises up to 16 members, who are the Directors and Trustees
and are elected by the UWC International Council. Members
on the UWC International Board include UWC college/school
Heads and Chairs, the Chair and vice-chairs of the Committee of
the National Committees as representatives of UWC’s national
committee system and members at large. While numerous Board
members are UWC alumni or current/former staff members, other
Board members are not and add specific skills, know-how and
perspectives. All Board members act on a volunteer basis.
• The UWC International Council elects the members of the
UWC International Board and discusses issues of strategic,
developmental and philosophical significance. It has up to 80
members meet at least once a year and act on a volunteer basis.
These include the Heads and Chairs of UWC schools and colleges,
and national committee representatives, as well as alumni and
other members of the wider UWC community.
• The executive arm of the International Board is the UWC
International Office, based in London and, since October 2019,
also in Berlin. It executes the strategic decisions set by the UWC
International Board and is the administrative heart of the UWC
movement. The team at the UWC International Office coordinates
UWC’s different stakeholders, supports UWC schools, colleges
and national committees alike in their activities and is the driver
behind different initiatives across the UWC movement. The UWC
International Office is headed by the Executive Director, who
reports to the Chair of the UWC International Board.
UWC International is funded primarily through annual fees paid
by UWC schools and colleges, calculated through a formula that
takes account of relative financial strengths.
In the course of 2021, the UWC governance model will be adjusted to
accommodate some growth within UWC International and to develop
more cohesion across the UWC movement by increasing the level
of transparency, ensuring timely communication, and building trust
among different constituents.
The new Executive Director will have an opportunity to look at
this complex international educational organization with a pair
of fresh eyes, question the status quo and come up with creative
ways to address the “pain points” that have been identified within
the UWC movement - and will be able to count on the support and
consultancy of different constituents, including the very talented
and motivated group of professionals at the UWC International Office.
The Nature of the UWC Movement
UWC is a federal organisation. However, it is also a membership
organisation, an alumni organisation, and a volunteer organisation
- something which creates unique governance and management
challenges, and that makes UWC a truly unusual organisation.
The implications of the federal structure are particularly important.
While UWC International’s three areas of responsibility – oversight,
leadership and support – are fully agreed, its actions and initiatives can
only have legitimacy if they are grounded in a genuine understanding
of the collective will of the UWC movement. This impacts on the role of
Executive Director, who carries responsibility without having the direct
authority that they would have in a unitary organisation, authority can
only come from UWC International’s legitimacy and its intent always
to act in the best interests of the wider movement. This applies to all
areas of work: from the development of policies to addressing issues
in a UWC constituency that may present a risk to other constituencies,
There are also implications for governance. Both the UWC
International Council and Board are responsible not only for
making responsible governance decisions, but also for ensuring
that decisions, strategies and policies have ownership in the wider
organisation. Board agendas are lengthier and more varied than
might be expected in a non-federal organisation and the three UWC
International Board meetings tend to determine the rhythm of the year.
It is critical that the Executive Director is able to understand the
nuances of this structure, the nature of subsidiarity within a federal
organisation, and the potential complexity that arises from it.
A structure such as UWC’s is most effective when levels of trust
are high. Trust relies on UWC International being seen to add
value to the work of the UWC movement. Therefore, building and
maintaining excellent relationships forms a large part of the role of the
Strategy, Development and Growth
In 2018 the UWC International Board approved the “UWC Strategy –
2018 and Beyond”, which entails a focus on three key areas:
• Seek - To seek a deliberately diverse group of students for
our schools and colleges from across the globe through the
UWC national committees and strive to enable access to a
UWC education for these students independent of socio-economic
• Educate - To educate our students based on trust, responsibility
and autonomy in order for them to develop agency, experience
values and gain the attitudes and competencies to be forces for
peace, sustainability and social justice.
• Inspire - To inspire members of the UWC community to live and
act in accordance with the UWC mission and we will inspire our
partners and other actors in education to embrace values-based
education celebrating diversity and promoting peace, sustainability
and social justice.
The key responsibilities of the Executive Director will cover the following areas:
UWC International Office
• recruiting, developing, mentoring and inspiring UWC International
staff, including providing clear guidelines for their work, evaluation
and feedback, and providing them with a voice and space for growth;
• developing and implementing pragmatic solutions and robust
operational plans to address complex organisational challenges;
• together with the Management Team, creating an annual plan and
budget that is able to support the routine coordination and support
of the UWC movement and the strategic and developmental
priorities identified by the UWC International Board;
• ensuring compliance with all financial, statutory and regulatory
• fostering a multi-cultural office culture that builds effective
relationships across the UWC movement and that recognises the
importance of trust, relevance and good delivery;
• liaising between UWC entities and dealing with complaints with
global reputational implications, or about UWC International, and/or
with conflicts between UWC entities should they arise.
Governance and Strategy
• supporting the UWC movement to meet its mission of making
education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace
and a sustainable future;
• being responsible for the development and implementation
of the strategic and financial plans established by the UWC
• facilitating the Board to develop policies, protocols and guidelines
that strengthen the effectiveness and cohesion of the UWC
movement, whilst ensuring the protection and development of the
• working closely with the Heads and Chairs of the 18 UWC schools
and colleges, and with the national committees, as they develop
policies, protocols, initiatives and activities across all the UWC
• ensuring the governance structure is adjusted and implemented
effectively according to the recent recommendations of the
Governance Review, inspiring a consultative and participatory
culture across the movement;
• understanding the risks and opportunities facing the UWC movement
and formulating approaches to dealing with and benefiting from
External Relations and Fundraising
• enhancing UWC’s global profile and reputation, communicating its
mission and purpose to international stakeholders and partners;
• allocating a significant amount of time to fundraising for UWC
International and UWC constituencies, including sustaining
meaningful relationships with donors, supporters, alumni and
other philanthropic or strategic supporters or partners;
• identifying opportunities for institutional partnerships;
• representing UWC and acting as a spokesperson in both
internal and external forums, always reflecting the diversity
of the movement.
Candidates will be expected to demonstrate that they meet the following criteria:
The role of Executive Director requires an adaptable and creative
leader with highly developed communication skills and a global
perspective. Whilst the environment within which a candidate has
gained their experience is important, greater significance will be
attached to the individual’s ability to transfer experience, knowledge
and skills into a collegiate, collaborative and global organisation, and
a candidate’s commitment to and passion for UWC’s mission and
values. The role of Executive Director is far from a typical nine-to-five
job, and will require significant stamina to influence and have impact
across an increasingly complex global organisation.
Experience, Skills and Abilities
• proven leadership/management experience and strategic/
operational skills developed in an international context gained in
organisations of appropriate scale and complexity in education,
business, public service, international development or other
• the ability to inspire, lead, develop and manage a highly motivated
group of geographically- dispersed staff;
• significant experience of working within complex governance
structures, ideally having reported to a Board made up of
internationally dispersed members, combined with a sound
understanding of governance, compliance and regulatory issues;
• success in turning around a complex and preferably international
• evidence of forming a cohesive, innovative and culturally diverse
team and proven commitment to systemic response on Anti-Racism,
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ARDEI) within an organisation;
• proven financial management competence and understanding;
• a strong track record of securing funding and developing successful
relationships with donors, funders, governmental organisations and
• high levels of emotional intelligence, diplomacy, honesty, open
mindedness and empathy along with assertiveness;
• the ability to build trust and unite people, accepting differing points
of view with a commitment to fostering engagement in which all
parts feel valued and motivated to participate;
• impressive intellectual capacity and the stamina require to build
and sustain a wide array of relationships and networks across the
UWC movement through traveling to different locations or through
• the ability to absorb information and build institutional knowledge
quickly and accurately;
• a consensual yet decisive approach;
• the ability to energise debate, facilitate group thinking and move
positively to decision making;
• confidence to encourage dialogue on key issues and willingly to
seek input and advice from all quarters of the UWC movement;
• adaptability, yet also the ability to remain clear and creative minded,
never taking anything for granted, always questioning the status
quo, and constantly finding ways to improve how the movement
operates to better live up to its mission;
• a firm belief in UWC’s commitment to education, service,
community, and compassionate behaviour as the key drivers
of future generations along with a proven commitment to peace
Appointment Details and How to Apply
UWC International is being assisted in this appointment process by
the executive search firm Society.
Applications should be made in English and must consist of:
1. a concise covering letter (ideally no longer than two pages),
addressing the criteria in the Person Specification;
2. an up-to-date curriculum vitae;
3. names and contact details of three referees (although referees will
only be approached at the final stage of the process, and only with
your express permission).
General advice on how to write a strong CV and a strong covering
letter can be found on our website. Please note that applications
without a cover letter may not be considered.
To upload your documents via Society’s website, click here.
The deadline for receipt of applications is midday GMT on Monday,
21 June 2021.
A longlist of candidates will be invited to initial interview with Society
during the first week of July. A final shortlist will then be taken forward
to meetings with UWC International itself.
An appointment will be made subject to receipt of satisfactory
references. The appointed candidate will be offered a salary that is
commensurate with their experience and the seniority of the role.
It is expected that the job holder will travel to UWC schools and
colleges. For that reason, a basic DBS check (Disclosure and
Barring Service) or international equivalent will be required before
any job offer is made.
UWC places deliberate diversity at the heart of its educational model
because of its critical importance in UWC’s mission “to unite people,
nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”.
The UWC International Office believes this commitment to deliberate
diversity must be reflected within its team, organisational practices,
policies and culture. It recognises that people with different
backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences bring fresh ideas and
perceptions, and it encourages and leverages these differences to
make its work more relevant and approachable.
UWC will not discriminate or tolerate discriminatory behaviour on any
grounds such as, but not limited to, race, gender, disability, nationality,
national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, marital/partnership or
family status, sexual orientation, age or socioeconomic background.
UWC International Office strives to be an inclusive workplace where
everyone feels a sense of belonging, has a voice, can raise concerns,
and feels comfortable and confident. It expects everyone who works
with it to share this commitment and to act accordingly, as it aspires
to best serve the UWC mission and its global community. This is
an ongoing journey and UWC welcomes all those who are ready to
travel with it.
Makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures
for peace and a sustainable future