2020 Young Aurora

2020 Young Aurora

The program aims to encourage, support, and showcase student-driven projects offering innovative and sustainable solutions to humanitarian issues

We are very pleased to announce that, amidst all the difficulties caused by the current situation, 13 project teams from UWC schools and the African Leadership Academy will be taking part in the 2020 Young Aurora. The project is a partnership between the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative, United World Colleges, Scholae Mundi and Teach For All. Student teams at each of the participating schools will enter one project per school for the chance to present their initiative, this year virtually, to an accomplished panel of humanitarians, entrepreneurs and world leaders in October. Project teams are assessed for the level of creativity, sustainability, quality of research and potential for impact that their project proposals demonstrate, alongside the degree of commitment and self-reflection shown by the team. The winning team will receive a $4,000 grant towards the further development of their project. 

“As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a demand for inspiring individuals who can provide solutions to the most pressing issues and offer people hope. Now more than ever, we need young leaders driven by universal human values: this is exactly what our project is about. Young Aurora brings together students who care deeply about other human beings and are committed to helping them. Seeing such outstanding ideas coming from such young people has always been very uplifting, but this year it has a special meaning, and I can’t wait to see new projects aimed at tackling modern challenges,” said  Veronika Zonabend, Chair of the Board of Governors of UWC Dilijan College in Armenia and Co-Founder of Scholae Mundi.

Now in its fourth year, Young Aurora has so far prompted 44 projects from across the UWC schools and, since 2018, from the African Leadership Academy. These projects have tackled a varied breadth of issues, from supporting refugees through an online charitable shop in Freiburg, Germany (winner of 2017 Young Aurora), preventing the sexual abuse of children in Changshu, China (winners of 2018 Young Aurora) to reducing instances of respiratory diseases among families in Moshi, Tanzania (winners of 2019 Young Aurora).

The opportunities that Young Aurora provides, for young people to build on their skills to become future change-makers in a hands-on manner, is precisely what Yahaya Ndutu, member of the UWC East Africa Smokeless Kitchens team and winner of Young Aurora 2019, treasured the most about his experience of taking part in the initiative: “It is the realisation that even teens, with the right motive and a structured organisation, have the power to enact life-changing projects that will stay with me.” During the current difficulties that have also greatly affected the educational experiences of young people, Young Aurora stands as a particularly inspiring and fulfilling opportunity for them to continue developing their community based projects and flexing their humanitarian muscles - at a time when the world needs it most. 

“We are delighted that students have been invited for the fourth year to take part in this international Prize recognizing young change-makers. Young Aurora challenges our UWC students to use the skills and ideas gathered at their UWC schools around the globe and apply them to real life problems in their communities. We look forward to seeing what projects they will develop and present this year.” - Jens Waltermann, Executive Director of UWC International. 

Find out more about Young Aurora 2020 in this year’s Project Passport.

Photo: The UWC East Africa team, winner of 2019 Young Aurora