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Yearly UWC Retreat Leads to Deepened Commitment

The past three Octobers, United World College graduates from around the Northeast have journeyed to Cape Cod for a retreat organized by Davis UWC Scholars at nearby Wheaton College. The goal of the “The World Is Moving” weekend is more than social — it’s to give UWCers the chance to explore together how they can continue the UWC mission of service and global citizenship, at college and beyond.

This year, the retreat went even deeper. “Transforming Tragedy” was the theme, and over 90 attended. The two keynote presenters were an American woman, Linda Biehl, whose daughter Amy was a Fulbright Scholar murdered in South Africa in 1983 — and Ntobeko Peni, one of the men who killed her.

Peni served a sentence for the murder. Since then, he and Linda Biehl have worked together for years on the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust, which runs educational and other service programs in South Africa.

The impacts of their talk and the follow-up discussions were profound.

“As UWC graduates, we have all been exposed to environments that challenge the way we think,” said retreat co-organizer Aaron Bos-Lun (U.S., UWC–USA). “Linda and Ntobeko brought us to that same place with fundamental questions related to life and death — and how to make the best come out of both.”

“Every single time,” the retreats “have brought up a certain need to make a difference in our own school communities,” said co-organizer Onyedikachi “Kachi” Udeoji (China, UWC of the Atlantic). “It reminds you that it doesn’t end at UWC.”

The benefits the retreat can bring to a college community are several, said Bos-Lun. At Wheaton, where 20 to 30 non-UWCers also attended the gathering, “this has led to many initiatives, including founding a house themed around the UWC mission statement,” Bos-Lun said. “In the individual experience of UWC graduates, deepening commitment to UWC values, creating ties between campuses, and creating an open UWC community within our campus, there are huge benefits to undergraduate institutions.”