Celebrating our UWC scholars on International Women’s Day

Graphic logo with two interlinked circles each depicting different sides of the globe with letters UWC.
United World Colleges celebrated its 60th anniversary in October 2022.

Celebrating our UWC scholars on International Women’s Day

Graphic logo with two interlinked circles each depicting different sides of the globe with letters UWC.
United World Colleges celebrated its 60th anniversary in October 2022.

For International Women’s Day we caught up with four seniors from the Davis United World Scholars program, to hear about their plans after graduation. The United World Colleges program began in 1962, in South Wales. It was the conception of German educator Kurt Hahn, who, during the height of the Cold War, had the idea to bring together 16-18 year-olds from around the world to learn from each other and gain compassion. Today there are 18 United World Colleges on five continents, with students from 150 countries. 

In 2000, longtime UWC patron Shelby Davis, alongside Philip Geier, launched a scholarship program that provides grants to selected American colleges and universities to support UWC students who attend those schools. They established the Davis United World College Scholars program to offer those students the support they needed for educational opportunities at American colleges and universities, while helping those institutions become more diverse, reflecting the world around them. Today, over 90 American colleges and institutions participate in the program. Ringling College’s UWC partnership was granted August 6, 2007, starting with the 2007-08 academic year.

Portrait of Davis United World College Scholars Shpresa Mehmeti ’23, Business of Art and Design; Lizi Budagashvili ’23, Fine Arts; Linda Liao ’23, Business of Art and Design; and Syeda Fyruje ’23, Motion Design with Photography and Imaging minor.

Shpresa Mehmeti 

Mehmeti is from Kosovo and attended UWC Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, graduating in 2019. The United World College in Mostar was founded by Elisatheth Rehn and Lamija Tanović in 2006 and officially opened by Queen Noor of Jordan. After graduation, Mehmeti is excited to start her career as a creative strategist. While at Ringling College, she has been cultivating knowledge of market behavior, brand strategy, and entrepreneurship. She plans to take a year to work and rest before preparing for her master’s program. She is thrilled to dedicate some time to her hobbies, traveling, hiking, reading, and time with her family. Mehmeti enjoys learning new skills and can’t wait to start a career that offers plenty of opportunities for growth. 

Detail from Lizi Budagashvili, The Firefly, 2022, oil on canvas, 3′ x 5.’ 

Lizi Budagashvili

Budagashvili is from the country of Georgia and went to the UWC Dilijan College, in Armenia. Dilijan College is the 14th member of the United World Colleges movement, and is the first international boarding school in Armenia for students ages 16 to 19 offering the IB Diploma Programme, the internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education that is recognized by many universities worldwide. After graduation, Budagashvili is hoping to attend graduate school and continue painting. She is looking forward to getting her MFA, traveling, and eventually going home to contribute to the art scene in Georgia.  

Fresco Fashion Show – Student-led annual sustainable fashion show contributed to by UWC Davis Scholar Linda Liao

Linda Liao

Liao is from Hungary and went to UWC Changshu China. UWC Changshu China was founded in 2015 as the first UWC in the mainland of China, consisting of grades 10, 11, and 12. Liao is currently applying to a master’s program at ArtEz University, in the Netherlands, to study critical fashion practices. After graduation, Liao looks forward to seeing her family and friends back home. She’s also very excited to live in The Netherlands and start the next chapter of her life in graduate school. She hopes to continue working on the passion projects that she has started here at Ringling College. Getting a job that fits her interests and skill sets is a great a priority for for Liao.

Syeda Fyruje, Nature Abstraction, 2021, 2D Illustration

Syeda Fyruje

Fyruje is from Bangladesh and attended UWC Mahindra College, an international boarding school in Maharashtra, India. After graduation, she would love to work as a motion designer for a design studio. She looks forward to exploring life after college and finding out what adult life looks like. 

Ringling College is currently educating its largest number of international students, who now make up 22% of the total enrollment, from 57 countries around the world. The College is hosting 41 scholars from the Davis United World College Scholars program on campus for the 2022-23 academic year. This integration of different cultures, along with students from nearly every US state and Puerto Rico, helps create a richly diverse and culturally vibrant learning and living environment on campus. 

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