United We Can | 2020 UWC DayIssue date：2020-09-27
UWC Day is the annual global celebration of the UWC mission and values, which takes place on 21st September every year, to coincide with the UN International Day of Peace. Each year, UWC Day is celebrated by thousands of people worldwide, including students and staff at UWC schools and colleges, national committees, UWC alumni and friends.
UWC Day is a moment to celebrate the strength and diversity of the UWC movement and our mission for a more peaceful and sustainable future through connecting and mobilising UWCers globally. It serves as a chance to spread the word about UWC, our work and values. But it is also an opportunity to reflect on what we do as a movement, to determine how to be more effective changemakers, and to continue to challenge ourselves.
On 21st September 2020, UWC Changshu China celebrated its fifth UWC Day.
Each year, UWC Day has a different theme that highlights the focus of the day’s action and initiatives. Ranging from “The Power of Diversity” in 2017，“Inspire Change” in 2018 to “Climate Change” in 2019, this year, for UWC Day 2020, the theme is “United We Can”.
2020 has been an extremely difficult year with a global pandemic which has ravaged the world. Divisiveness, tension have escalated around the world. UWC’s goal of uniting people, nations and cultures through education is faced with more and more challenges. Yet the global crises we face - whether the current public health crisis or the longer-term climate crisis - make UWC mission more relevant and important than ever.
“UWC movement doesn't exist to shape you into a particular kind of person. You exist as a particular kind of person to shape the movement. It is through your passions, your actions, your power that this movement really succeeds and thrives. And there's never been a more vital time in the history of our movement that you recognize your power, that you recognize your own worth, and together find a united voice in order to cope COVID-19 and combat global injustices and challenges. It’s essential to understand that no matter the problem, united, we can. So on this day, UWC Day!” Zachary Meager, Head of the Arts Department and a UWC alum, called UWCers to take actions and be change makers.
Indeed, the UWC community believes that only when UWCers, the bridge-builders, and people all over the world, are standing together, can we surmount global challenges, because united we can overcome the isolation many currently feel.
This year, echoing the spirit of “United We Can”, UWC Changshu China organised the Kuncheng Hu Challenge. Students and faculties from both on and off campus completed a 20km run or walk around the beautiful Kuncheng Lake or any place where the community member is currently at.
11 houses before departure
Zhao Chen, a student with impaired vision also joined the Kuncheng Hu Challenge. Initially he thought it was mission impossible for him, but with the encouragement of his peers, he couldn't believe that he made it in the end as he enjoyed walking and chatting along the way. Once again, it shows "There is more in you than you think."
Some students brought garbage bags with them while walking and picked up a lot of garbage to clean up the lake area. They realized more could be done to raise people's awareness of the importance of environmental protection for a sustainable future.
Cleaning the garbage during the walk
20km Challenge, we made it.
The Kuncheng Lake Challenge on UWC Day is designed to not only further advocate UWC’s mission on promoting sustainability through such eco-friendly activity, but also unite the community members regardless their different locations to work together and achieve this onerous expedition through collaboration and mutual support.
Off campus teachers Ben, Australia (Left) Peter and family, in Kenya (Right) joined the 20km Challenge
Brandon, a student from Nicaragua, ran and walked 60 laps in the banana plantation at home and completed 20km
"In our life journey, there will still be many 20km to conquer. No matter how challenging it will be, you will see the view along your way. This is a very special UWC Day which extends our learning path from classroom to outside the classroon. When we embrace the lake, the field, the nature, when we walk together, the world becomes smaller and bigger at the same time. To make education a powerful force, we need to have the landscape in our mind while stepping solidly on the ground."
What Peng Zhen, Head of Chinese Department wrote after the walk very well summarized the meaning of UWC Day and the essence of education.
UWC Day Big Family Photo