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David Sutcliffe

4 May 2001

Alec Peterson - A memoir [7MB, PDF]

International education: mirage or oasis? [116 kb, PDF]


This lecture is divided into two sections. The first discusses the life and achievements of Alec
Peterson. The second section questions the state of international education at the time of this lecture and poses many pertinent questions about possible future developments. For example: “International education has strength, expertise and resources. Has it the will to re-deploy them?”
“International education is serving its own pupils superbly. Has the time not come for it to serve the world more widely?” David Sutcliffe succinctly summarizes the premise of these questions with the suggestion “...we have behind us the achievement of excellence. We now face the challenge of relevance.”

Many practical suggestions are provided to address these questions and to re-affirm the values of international education. These suggestions range from altering the structure of the IB Diploma
Programme to include a compulsory year of “exposure” to new cultures, to creating an annual fundraising day within the IB community to raise money for international education initiatives around the world.

He concludes with the question “Are we truly representative? If not, are we truly international?”

David SutcliffeA scholarship student at St. John's College Cambridge, David Sutcliffe took his degree in French and German. While teaching at Salem School in Germany, he became closely acquainted with the noted German educationist Kurt Hahn.

David was a member of staff when the first United World College, the Atlantic College in Wales, opened in 1962; he later became head of the school (1969–1982). He then was the founding head of the UWC of the Adriatic in Duino, Italy (1982–2001).

He was vice-president of the International Baccalaureate from 1985 to
1989 and has written and lectured extensively on international secondary education.

David represented the United World Colleges International Organisation in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Middle East until October 2003. He was also a successful participant in the 1976 single-handed sailing race across the Atlantic.

David is currently engaged in the completion of the biography of Kurt Hahn. In 2001 he was appointed Grand'Ufficiale dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.