Championing the Youth: The Duke of Edinburgh Awards

24 February 2015 - 10:28pm
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The Duke of Edinburgh award immediately began to gain regard outside the UK upon its launch, after World War II. Since 1971 the award has been available in 31 countries and remains to grow. With this rapid growth, The Duke of Edinburgh International Association was created in 1988.

The programme is a “registered UK charity whose mission is to promote The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (known as the DofE in the UK), provide young people with the Award, and preserve the quality of the Award worldwide” according to their website.

For over 45 years now, over 8 million young adults in over 140 countries have had the opportunity to participate in the programme. The reach is far ranging and continues to assist the young people to aid in developing opportunities and chances that they might not have been able to achieve on their own.

The Award is available to anyone between the ages of 14-24 years old. The goal is to inspire participants to plan their set of activities, objectives and test the limits of what they may achieve. The crux of the Award is to develop social and hands-on abilities that will foster a future career, as well as a positive mindset.


The Duke of Edinburgh has been a fervent proponent of the programme since its inception. His Royal Highness is not only is an ardent supporter of the participants but keenly supports and encourages the individuals who work day to day running the scheme.

“When the first trial of the Award was launched in 1956, no one had any idea quite what would happen. In the event, it was an instant success, and the Award has been growing and expanding worldwide ever since,” the Duke commented.

In 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh teamed up with German educator Kurt Hahn to create the Award.

His Royal Highness and Hahn were troubled that the younger generation’s growth was missing some important pieces of the puzzle that is maturing and becoming a productive member of society. The Duke and Hahn designed the programme to be a sort of “do-it-yourself kit in the art of civilised living,” according to the Award website.

Kurt Hahn was the founder and headmaster of Gordonstoun School in Scotland, where The Duke of Edinburgh, as well as The Prince of Wales, attended. The Award is based on four areas: service, skills, physical recreation and adventurous journey. There are three levels comprised of Bronze (14 years and older), Silver (15 years and older) and Gold (16 years and older).

The Duke of Edinburgh International Award has been a brilliant programme as well as a motivating factor to the growth and development of young people.

Featured photo credit: Greeting Prince Philip during the royal visit in 1954 via photopin (license)

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