The Award program was first introduced in the United Kingdom in 1956 as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The aim was to motivate boys aged between 15 and 18 to become involved in a balanced program of voluntary self-development activities to take them through the potentially difficult period between adolescence and adulthood.
The program was designed with great care by a small team, led by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh; Dr Kurt Hahn, German educationalist and founder of Outward Bound and the United World Colleges; and Sir John (later Lord) Hunt, the leader of the first team to conquer Mount Everest.
The unique flexibility of The Award made it ideally suited to easy adaptation and integration into different cultures and societies and it was soon adopted by schools and youth organizations in other countries.
Since 1956, the program has developed and grown and now reaches young people in over 131 countries.
Internationally, The Award operates under the same principles but under a number of different titles; for example, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; The International Award for Young People; The President’s Award; The National Youth Achievement Award. More specific national titles are also used, for example Prémio Infante D . Henrique in Portugal and Avartti in Finland. A current list can be found online at www.intaward.org.
Today the basic principles of The Award remain the same, but the activities and delivery continue to evolve and adapt to suit the changing demands of modern society and the varying needs of young people. The Award is now a major international program recognized and used by organizations working with young people throughout the world.