UWC Candidate Pack


Executive Director,

UWC International

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 organisation.

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

managing diversity.

Thank you for considering this exciting opportunity,

Dr Musimbi Kanyoro

Chair of the Board, UWC International

Executive Summary

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

international movement.

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.

About UWC

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

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

agreed policies.

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,

and beyond.

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

Executive Director.

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.

Role Description

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

International Board;

• 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

UWC brand;

• 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.

Person Specification

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

relevant organisations;

• 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


Personal Characteristics

• 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

virtual meetings;

• 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

and sustainability.

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.

Diversity Statement

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


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