This year, more than 300 children from different countries around the world will take part in interactive educational programmes on the campus of the UWC Dilijan international school in Armenia. There will be a total of four groups, each running for two-weeks, held in both Russian and English.
On Wednesday, 7 June, the first of this summer’s JUST DILIJAN IT! programmes on the UWC Dilijan campus gets underway. JUST DILIJAN IT! is the first international camp in Armenia for young people aged 10–16, which provides a creative space for the open communication of children and adults, and the exchange of experiences and ideas. All of this year’s groups are based on an interdisciplinary project approach. So that each one of the participants finds something they really want to do, we’ve set up 10 “laboratories”, which will be in operation for the duration of each group: Computer Technology and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Art, Film and Photography, Theatre, Sports, Music, Intellectual Games and Robotics.
”We’ve assembled a team of top-notch, extraordinarily talented, creative and charismatic people who not only want to share their knowledge and experience with the children, but also involve them in creative pursuits, scientific discussions and experiments, to help not only to generate ideas, but also to put them into practice,” said Natalia Podolnaya, director of educational programmes at Scholae Mundi Foundation, which is the organizer of JUST DILIJAN IT!
Leading experts across a variety of fields have been invited to Dilijan. For example, for the first group, “Explore: The Human Being” (7–20 June) the kids will be working with Vyacheslav Ignatov, theatre director, winner of the Golden Mask Award and founder of the Trickster Theatre. In the second group “Explore: Culture” (22 June – 5 July) the kids get the chance to learn from Alexander Lyskovsky, an entrepreneur who has founded a number of successful start-ups. The third group, “Explore: The Universe” (7–20 July) features a specialist in the field of artificial intelligence and Microsoft techno-evangelist Dmitry Soshnikov The fourth group, “Explore: The Future” (22 July – 4 August) will be attended by a French filmmaker Benoit Michaud.
“It is important that the children work together creatively, with the support of leading academics and specialists, to realize their most ambitious ideas,” Natalia Podolnaya emphasised.
Leading this year’s programme is Yury Gorvits, who holds a PhD in Psychology, is head of Apple Russia’s higher education programme, and is a winner of a Russian Government prize in the field of education.
Each programme is just about learning from and having fun with the experts, there is also sport, hiking, workshops, intellectual games, and plenty of socialising. All the groups end with a final event, whether it’s an idea market, an art festival, a theatre production or a scientific forum.
“Critical thinking, erudition and creativity in addressing practical challenges, the ability to be bold and open to new ideas and cultures is what is needed right now and what will be in demand in the future. And our goal is an ambitious one: to engage knowledge-hungry children for two weeks, showing them that to learn and learn something new is both interesting and important,” said Andrey Khodzhikyan, executive director of Scholae Mundi Foundation.
Another important component of JUST DILIJAN IT! is about introducing the children to the nature of the surrounding Dilijan National Park along with the richest cultural and historical sites of Armenia.
International summer education programmes in Dilijan were first held in 2013. In 2016, the project received a new name and new content, hosting almost 200 children aged 10 to 17 from Armenia, Artsakh, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
The JUST DILIJAN IT! summer programmes, organized by the Scholae Mundi Armenia charitable foundation, whose founders Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend are also the founders of the UWC Dilijan international school. All projects of the Scholae Mundi platform are aimed at supporting and developing educational, social and humanitarian initiatives, and set one of the goals of creating an international educational hub in Dilijan.