Introduction from our Chairman and Secretary General

The World of the Award 2021 is an overview of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award today. You are likely to be familiar with some of the story, however much has changed and improved over the past decade and continues to change.

In terms of ‘non-formal education and learning’, HRH The Prince Philip’s concept and vision for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was ahead of its time. He wanted to help young people to realise infinite possibilities through the Award, to discover their infinite potential and to be ready to face the world. This year marks the centenary of our Founder, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Whilst he is no longer with us, the Award family still want to mark this remarkable milestone and celebrate our Founder – a champion of young people.

The work Prince Philip set in motion is not yet done. Indeed, the Award remains relevant and appealing to young people aged between 14-24 around the world; helping to inspire, transform and empower individuals, communities and societies. At few moments in our recent history has it been more important to help young people to be ready for the world around them. Thanks to the values, skills and experiences encouraged by the Award, many members of the Award family have responded positively to the Covid-19 pandemic through volunteering, caring or as key workers. We are now intent on helping and preparing the current generation for an increasingly uncertain future. We recently helped to broker a deal between the Big 6 Alliance of youth organisations and WHO to engage and support young people in post-Covid initiatives.

So, what is different about the Award today?

Well, the means by which nearly half of all participants engage with the Award and record their activities is now through the Online Record Book. This is one aspect of our increasing move into the digital age. Those countries which have adopted the digital communication and learning tools which we developed have sustained and even increased participation over the past year in spite of the odds. Helping other countries to make the digital transformation has become an even higher priority, while increased demand for help brings its own resource issues.

We have changed the appearance of our logo and materials following a complete reappraisal of our brand and a desire to achieve more of a One Award Alliance among all our delivery partners. Some countries still retain their local identities, but every young achiever now receives a Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award certificate. Our investment in a single achievement mark has significantly improved our recognition around the world. Not only does it give young people a credible international qualification, but also provides a better reflection of all the effort invested by our adult volunteers and staff.

What used to be known as the International Secretariat is now referred to by its charitable name: the International Award Foundation, and has a different role. Our staff still provide essential services to the Award family or the International Award Association, but today the Foundation manages the International Award as a social franchise so that each of our delivery partners is now licensed to deliver the Award. This business model makes ownership, relationships and areas of responsibility much clearer; empowering our licensed operators to take clear decisions on developing, growing and sustaining the Award.

This year especially, we intend to celebrate our Founder’s life and legacy. His principles and ethos continue to underpin and shape what we do as well as how we do it. We wish to honour and celebrate his vision for the Award, to spread the message to an ever-widening audience that non-formal education and learning have real value in developing the skills and experiences that employers are seeking; the resilience, adaptability and leadership that societies are craving; the tolerance and respect for each other that communities desire.

We sincerely hope that what we present here is enough to convince you that what we are doing and could do deserves your support. That with your help we can and do empower young people.

Prince Edward and John May signatures

– HRH The Earl of Wessex and John May