United World Colleges (International) is aware of the article published in the South China Morning Post concerning comments made following changes to staff contracts at Li Po Chun United World college of Hong Kong and in particular about the treatment of same-sex marriages within the context of staff contracts.
The mission of the United World Colleges is to use education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. Such a mission makes it clear that the organisations aims to effect change and this commitment to change will from time o time create a tension with the status quo in all parts of the world. UWC International and each of the United World colleges are aware of the tension that can exist between UWC’s ideals and values on the one hand, in particular its commitment to the celebration of difference and the respect of human and individual rights that is implicit in that value, and on the other hand local legal requirements and cultural sensitivities in the countries where the colleges are located.
Issues connected with contractual and related matters must necessarily be issues for individual College governing bodies and they will be bound where appropriate by laws relevant in their jurisdictions.
However, the United World Colleges International Board of Directors reaffirms its absolute commitment to the objectives of the Mission statement and the values contained in its Statement of Values & Principles.
The UWC International Board supports the board of Li Po Chun UWC as it deals with issues arising from its need to have in place policies and contracts which are consistent with Hong Kong law and practice.
There has also been discussion about an article relating to the concentrated issue at Li Po Chun United World College not being published in United World magazine. This was addressed in October 2007 when it was clarified that the remit of the magazine is not to serve as a vehicle for discussion. At the same time, the International Board does also recognise the need for the UWC community to debate in appropriate forums issues of concern within the movement.
Keith Clark (Executive Director of UWC) on behalf of the International Board of United World Colleges
– United World College Student Magazine –