The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (or The Award) is the world’s leading youth achievement award, bringing together practical experiences and skills to create committed global citizens and equipping young people for life.
The Award was founded by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (princ Philip, husband of HM The Queen Elizabeth II), 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'.
As a non-formal educational programme, the Award can play a vital role in providing opportunities for young people to develop essential life skills, complementing their formal education. This enables them to grow in confidence and in their ability to contribute positively to their communities. Its success and flexibility is evidenced by the fact that it has spread to over 140 countries and territories all around the world.
As Prince Philip, founder and patron of the programme said in 2010: “Young people of every generation have to discover for themselves what life is all about. The Award functions as a complement to formal education and the purpose of the programme is to help young people gain experience of some of the most rewarding opportunities.“
“These experiences serve as a practical demonstration of what can be achieved through determination and persistence. In an age when employment opportunities are scarce, these skills easily translate into the world of work, boosting young people’s career prospects,"
Benefits of the programme for young people
- They gain experience and develop skills that are very convenient in their everyday life as well as in their curriculum (pe. team skills, willingness to )
- They create awareness of their potential, strengths and weaknesses
- They find new interests, friends and opportunities
- They get new friendships and relationships with their peers as well as other generations for doing something positive and constructive in their free time
- They learn to set up and meet their own goals and can exceed their expectations
- They increase their self-reliance and self-confidence
- They develop their sense of responsibility to others
- They create an active and self-motivating attitude to the world around them
- They are rewarded for their effort by a prestigious Award Certificate
Surveys have shown that thanks to the above benefits, participating in the programme helps improve school attendance and school results of young people, raises their lifelong interest in learning, increases their employability, social involvement and tolerance and also plays an important role in the prevention of asocial and criminal behaviour.
International Award Foundation pubblished a brochure about the Award's impact that you can download here: