As a long-term supporter of UWCSEA, the school he attended in Singapore as a youth, Mikael, Class of ‘92, fervently believes in the UWC mission to use education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. During Mikael’s seven years at UWCSEA, he took a leading role in many student activities and musical performances. He also played for the College’s football and rugby teams. In his life as an alumnus, he’s become a Senior Volunteer for the College and Trustee for the UWCSEA Foundation’s Leadership Council (FLC); he is a global advocate for the College’s major giving programme and an inspirational figure behind the growth of the UWCSEA Scholarship Programme.
As Mikael often says: “Our world desperately needs more UWC scholars.” And that’s why he’s combining his passion for the College and his love of mountaineering to raise money for more scholars to join UWCSEA.
Mikael explains that he’s climbing for a better tomorrow, where peaks and pinnacles represent extraordinary scholarship opportunities. His enormous feats of strength and endurance are zealously fueled by a passionate belief in the force for good of a UWC education. Mikael sees scholarships as transformational - where students of great promise and potential, regardless of their background and means, can access a UWC education. It ensures true diversity within the College; socio-economic as well as national diversity. And for the scholars, it sets them on a life path to return to their communities as leaders inspired and empowered to create a more peaceful and sustainable world.
Mikael’s 2018 Three Peak Challenge
It all began in August-September 2018, when Mikael battled the weather and altitude to climb three of the world’s most remote peaks - Mount Damavand, Mount Demirkazik and Mount Elbrus. The pain, isolation and exhaustion were all worth it - when, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of a global community of donors, funds were raised to offer a two year IB scholarship to UWCSEA in 2019.
Introducing Yelyzaveta from the Ukraine. She’s the recipient of the UWCSEA scholarship funded by Mikael’s 2018 Three Peak Challenge and will be welcomed to Singapore in August this year.
“I believe a UWC education will help open my eyes to see the world through the eyes of others. Appreciating different perspectives, in such a complex and diverse world, feels like an important part of creating a more peaceful future.
I am so grateful to Mikael Morn and all the donors who helped fund my scholarship - and am excited to hear about Mikael’s latest mountaineering challenge that will mean another young person just like me will have an opportunity to join next year. I look forward to welcoming that scholar to UWCSEA - and, one day, playing my own part in this cycle of generosity that changes the world.” - Yelyzaveta, Internally Displaced Person and Scholar from the Ukraine, Class of ‘21.
On the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, remote lands of mountains and minarets, Pik Lenin is the second highest mountain in the Pamir range, towering at over 23,400 ft / 7134m. It will be no easy challenge. From the lush green fields of wildflowers below, the icing-sugar dusted mountains rising up from the plains look deceptively tranquil. In fact, the majestic Pik Lenin is famous for its unstable weather, frosty temperatures and blustery winds.
Mikael and his young climbing partner, Luuk, will acclimatize through practice climbs of neighbouring Domashniy (4,700m) and Yuhin (5,100m) peaks between the 4th and 13th of August. But these mountains will merely form the background for the real challenge that will come on the 14th August - when the two mountaineers will strap on their crampons, heave on their damp packs and set out in the eerie dark of the pre-dawn night, climbing through the snow and ice in their attempt on the mighty Pik Lenin summit itself.
Mikael laughs as he explains the plans: “Climbing and conquering these summits is certainly a fantastic challenge - but the real achievement comes when these peaks prove to be passports for scholars to access a UWC education. I am so grateful to the community of like-minded believers who support my campaign - together we can fund more scholarships. Please donate!”
“The extraordinary opportunities and experiences that come from being a UWCSEA scholar have reshaped my world views, making me a different person in such positive ways and keen to give back to the community. I feel humble and grateful, and that is exactly why I want to help raise funds through Summits for Scholarships, to give an opportunity to another aspiring student. I am excited to be joining Mikael on this alumni-student mountaineering team. I love the idea that I can contribute while still being a student.” - Luuk, 2019 Pik Lenin climbing partner, UWC-International Dare-to Dream initiative scholarship recipient and Scholar from the Netherlands, Class of ‘20.
“UWCSEA offers its gratitude and support for Mikael Morn's extraordinary campaign. IB scholarships change lives. Not just the scholars' lives, but those of students around them. Socio-economic diversity benefits, but so does the richness that comes via different upbringings and education systems. Indeed, diversity of thinking, properly channelled, is perhaps the most powerful of all. Mikael's campaign will lead to greater diversity and opportunities some students have not even dreamt of yet. This is a noble goal, and we are behind Mikael every inch of his vertical way.” - Chris Edwards, Head of UWCSEA
“Our UWCSEA community is behind Mikael Morn every step of the way. Figuratively of course, as few could be expected to go to such extremes to raise funds and draw attention to an issue! We are deeply grateful for Mikael’s passion and commitment to the UWCSEA Scholarship Programme. We urge those who can to support this inspiring campaign - and are hugely excited at the thought of welcoming our first ever scholar from Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan to UWCSEA next year. Thank you Mikael.” - Dave Shepherd, Head of College Advancement, UWCSEA
“I had the privilege of meeting Mik for many walks in our professional lives in Asia, Europe and North America with great empathy. Vast curiosity, the sense of always being a local, the commitment and strength to get things done. Quite some time later we discovered we shared UWC roots. Mik’s example to inspire us alumni and others in the community to support UWC to maintain the broadest access with diversity and a high sense of engagement is well represented by this new high goal.” - Ciro Echesortu, UWC Lester Pearson, Class of ‘79
UNITED WORLD COLLEGE - PROMOTING PEACE AND SUSTAINABILITY
United World College was founded in 1962 to promote peace and sustainability through education, and this remains our aim today. UWCSEA, located in Singapore, joined the UWC movement in 1971. Since then, the UWC movement has grown to a network of 17 Colleges around the world.
UWC firmly believes that through education comes the greatest hope for young people to realise their full potential. UWC does more than educate the individual; it challenges them to think about their role in addressing local and global issues. Now, possibly more than ever before, we need leaders who respect differences and value diversity, who know and understand one another and are inspired to use their education as a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
We believe that to have a positive impact in the world we need to find and encourage young people with the comprehension and conviction to be agents of change. Indeed, initial findings from a longitudinal research study by Harvard University, demonstrate that the majority of students and alumni believe that their UWC ethical values are evident in their daily lives and that they are making meaningful contributions, either through their careers or everyday interactions.
Making an impact through scholarships
The gift of an education is truly transformational.
The UWC Scholarship Programme is a core part of a UWC education and offers life-changing opportunities for students of great promise and potential.
To find future leaders, UWC reaches deeper into the pool of global talent than any other educational movement. UWC depends on the dedication and expertise of a network of more than 3,000 volunteers to find and select students in more than 155 countries. In many cases, students come from the most unlikely locations such as refugee camps, city slums and orphanages.
For a scholar, a UWCSEA education will open the doors to a once unimaginable future; giving them a chance to take their dynamism and commitment to new levels. It provides a remarkable opportunity for students to gain not only the qualifications that will set them on a lifelong path of success but also develop the personal qualities and skills that will help them to grow as responsible and resilient individuals who value service to others and commitment to care.
Our international reputation for producing capable, confident and committed graduates ensures our scholars have the opportunity to go on and receive further scholarships at universities in the US and around the world.