The Award was founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth of the UK and Duke of Edinburgh, together with Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist and renowned promoter of experiential education, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.

After the Second World War there was a growing concern about the development of boys, due to the gap between leaving school at 15 and entering National Service at 18. That is when HRH the Duke of Edinburgh got the idea of informal education programme that would empower young people and motivate them to actively use their leisure time.

He designed the programme together with Kurt Huhn on the basis of experiential education and introduced it in 1956 under the name "The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award". Sir (later Lord) John Hunt was appointed the first programme's Director.

The word "international" was added to the programme's name in 1980 due to the fact that the programme had quickly spread throughout the world. Already in 1975 the number of participants reached one million, and in 1989 the limit of two million participants was exceeded. 

Around the world in 140 countries, milions of young people participated in the Award. The Award was introduced in Slovakia by the British International School in Bratislava in 2007 and from the end of 2014 team of educators with strong support from business leaders is working on the opening of the National Office of the Award programme in Slovakia. The main goal of the National Office will be to spread the Award nation-wide in Slovakia. 

The National Office of the Award in Slovakia, with the support of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation in London, is piloting the Award at 10 organisations in Bratislava from June 2015 to June 2016. With 2 already existing organisations, the Award is offered at 12 organisations for 177 participants in total. The National Office has signed an Acredited Licence on the March 30th 2016 and from April we are working on growing the Award in other regions in Slovakia from September 2016.

Founders of the Award


The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award was founded by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, in 1956, in conjunction with Kurt Hahn, the German educationalist. Both were concerned that young people’s development was lacking in certain key areas, and they resolved to create a programme that would be a 'do-it-yourself kit in the art of civilised living'.

The subsequent spread of the Award across the globe is testament to the universal appeal of the programme, and the vision of its founder. However, even HRH admits that this took him by surprise: "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."

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has remained committed to the Award since its birth over 50 years ago. He continues to be involved, particularly in recognising the achievements of Award participants and the adults who support them. To find out more about HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, visit the official website of the British Monarchy.

Kurt Hahn

This German educator and politician who left after 1930 Germany for UK because of his Jewish ethnicity. He contributed in particular to the development of experiential pedagogy, where he initiated schools and educational institutions based on its principles, and around the world. In addition to The Duke of Edinburgh's Inernational Awward it is especially international network of schools, United World Colleges and international adventure programme Outward Bound. As the founder and director of the school Gordonstoun in Scotland he also created a programme leading to a badge Morayshire, through which he met with Prince Philip. The desire to expand that program to other countries persuaded by Prince Philip and cooperation program remains similar - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

More information at Wikipedia

Lord Hunt

John Hunt was a British Army officer, an experienced climber and instructor of special forces. He became famous as the leader of a successful expedition, whose members Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people climbed between 1953 peak of Mont Everest. After returning to the UK he was ennobled for this achievement. In 1956 he became the first director of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, a position he held for ten years. In 1966 he was awarded the baronial title  for his merits in working with young people , which was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II.

More information at Wikipedia


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