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The International Award equips young people for life. It is the world’s leading youth achievement award. In 2013 more than one million young people around the world took part in the Award, in over 140 countries and territories.
By creating opportunities for young people to develop skills, get physically active, give service and experience adventure, the Award can play a critical role in their development outside the classroom. It also allows their achievement to be consistently recognised worldwide, giving young people unique international accreditation of their experiences.
The Award is transforming individuals, communities and societies around the world. Young people who do the Award become more confident and resilient, and develop skills in areas such as communication, problem solving and leadership. This in turn impacts on their communities, who see improvements in areas including employability, health and well- being, and educational attainment.
In the past sixty years, millions of young people have participated and received Awards, with millions more benefiting from its impact in communities around the world.
The Award is open to all young people regardless of their background and circumstances. Award projects around the world involve young offenders, street children and post conflict communities. The impact of the Award on these and many more young people is extraordinary - it transforms their lives.
Doing the Award
The Award, with its instantly recognisable levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold, is voluntary, non-competitive and available to anyone aged 14–24. It is about individual challenge.
The Award is delivered around the world by schools, colleges, universities, employers, social clubs, uniformed and non-uniformed youth organisations, young offenders’ institutions, religious organisations, sports clubs, and a whole host of other civic organisations.
Young people design their own Award programme, set their own goals and record their own progress. They choose a Service, Physical Recreation, Skills activity, go on an Adventurous
Journey and, to achieve a Gold Award, take part in a Residential Project. The only person they compete against is themselves, by challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve.
The Award around the world
The Award was launched in the UK in 1956 as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. From the very beginning the Award attracted interest from outside the UK, as its flexibility ensured that it could be adapted to any culture or environment. By the early 1970s the Award operated in around 30 countries. In 1988 The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association was established to manage the growth and quality of the Award internationally. The work of the Association is carried out by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.
Outside the UK, the Award is known by a variety of titles, including the President’s Award, the National Youth Achievement Award and the Head of State Award; the umbrella term for all of these programmes is The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. Whilst the names of individual operating authorities often differ from nation to nation, the Award and its unique reputation with employers, policy makers and influential leaders remains unchanged and consistent.
￼As an international framework which remains the same wherever it operates, the Award is a unique global currency through which young people can demonstrate their achievements and value.