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Thank you, Chris!

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Such was Chris’ opening message to our community on his appointment as the ninth Head of UWCSEA. As we prepare to farewell Chris Edwards after five years as Head of College, we’ve asked a cross-section of his community for a reflection on his contribution to the College, Singapore and the UWC movement as a whole.

Thank you, Chris!

"What a place to be, and what a time to be there."

Such was Chris’ opening message to our community on his appointment as the ninth Head of UWCSEA. As we prepare to farewell Chris Edwards after five years as Head of College, we’ve asked a cross-section of his community for a reflection on his contribution to the College, Singapore and the UWC movement as a whole.

While Chris was our Head of College, he pushed us to look beyond our two campuses and moved us closer to the heart of the UWC movement, we also became more deeply embedded in Singapore.  Chris pushed us to examine our commitment to the UWC mission and pave the way for a sustainable future for UWCSEA. We enjoyed his unique communication style and his self-deprecating sense of humour.  His musical talents, and in particular his parodies lifted the spirits of many.  Thank you Chris.  We wish you the very best at the Green School in New Zealand.
Anna Lord, Chair, UWCSEA Board of Governors

There are few people today who try hard to remain so down to earth: Chris is one such person. But he is no ‘common man’- far from it. I have had profound and significant conversations with him and his point of view has always been shaped by notions of fairness and decency. It is why he has been able to be such an extraordinary and powerful ambassador for the UWC movement. I have also had conversations that have been about poetry, literature, art, history, philosophy - when it was both a joy and a marvel to share his eclectic frame of reference. And then - perhaps most memorably - there have been times when he has made me laugh like a drain and enjoy the rich absurdities of life.

To echo his own habit of looking to the Classical World, I think of two other Greek philosophers - Democritus and Heraclitus. When they looked at the world, the latter was moved to tears while Democritus found himself laughing. And that is Chris: wise, humourous, forgiving. And effortlessly good company. Albeit with a disconcerting habit of playing the piano at the drop of a hat.”
Jonathan Carter, Director of Admissions, UWCSEA

“One of the things I admire is Chris’ willingness to meet people and talk to them about any and all concerns they might have. He truly embodies the UWC mission and has, through his work at the College, promoted the values and strengthened the relationship between UWCSEA and the UWC movement as a whole.”
Agnes Bjørn Andersen '20, scholar from Denmark

Given my interactions and experiences, there are more things than one can think which deserves a sincere thank you for your contribution. I would like to keep my thank you more focussed towards some very integral elements of UWCSEA which I think have been redefined during your time with this wonderful community. Going back to your first ever speech where you said, “I would like to see the distance between teaching and support staff narrowing as we proceed.” Walk to the pavilion and you may find a teacher, Head of College and a Housekeeping aunty sharing the same dining table - this is a thank you for what I call Engagement Redefined.

For not only being approachable but treating everyone equal - not looking high, not looking low, just looking right in the eye with no bias of any sort and with the same sense of belongingness - this is a thank you for what I call Respect Redefined.

You tossed yu sheng with gardeners with the widest smile, did not mind getting scolded by the barista as you forgot to bring your mug, poured some wine with gratitude at holiday lunch and chauffeured me to the MRT station. A heartfelt thank you for what I call Leadership Redefined.”
Aman Singh Chauhan, Operations Manager, UWCSEA

Writing one hundred words on Chris Edwards' contribution to UWC International is like trying to summarise Platonian versus Aristotelian philosophy in one hundred words - impossible, although, coming to think of it, he could probably do that. 

Chris has impressed and inspired us - with his balanced and considered perspective at International Board meetings, with his way with words (much to the benefit of our UWC Strategy 2018 and beyond) and with great ideas and impulses he has contributed to UWC International (such as the UWC Impact Study with Harvard University). 

In short, Chris has done no less than bring UWCSEA back to the centre of the UWC movement, where it belongs. Thank you, Chris, and may this be your lasting legacy at UWC!"
Jens Waltermann, Executive Director, UWC International

My team and I first got to know Chris when we were invited to give a sharing as part of the national movement of SG Cares. During the sharing, we spoke about how the school could be better plugged in to meet the needs of its immediate community . After hearing about all the wonderful work done by UWCSEA in this regard under the leadership of Chris, we realised that we could not have been more wrong to think that we actually had more to offer.

Chris’ passion to see that his students really benefited from the experience of interacting with and contributing back to the community was evident during his sharing of how the school has been engaging the community.

I wish you all the best in your next endeavour and trust that you will continue to leave behind positive legacies no matter where you go.
Dr Andrew Lim 주鳩匡, Director, Volunteer Resource Optimisation, Fund-Raising & Engagement Group, National Council of Social Service, Singapore

Thank you for your support and faith over the past 18 months. Leading UWCSEA must be one of the most challenging and rewarding positions that an educational leader can take on. We have shared some of the challenges and created what I think will be some enduring solutions. Thank you for bringing me to this amazing community and for helping me to understand the significance and the magnitude of our vision. You have met the twin imposters of triumph and disaster head on, with equanimity and resolve; you have kept your virtue and not lost the common touch; and yours, now, is the earth, on a different island. May the soil be soft to turn.
Graham Silverthorne, Head of UWCSEA East

“Chris put his heart and soul into UWCSEA and Singapore. He was always the friendliest of people to all local staff while at the same time working with Senior Ministers of State on significant national committees. He treated everyone the same way: with respect. I will miss his humour, warmth and sincere appreciation of the local community.”
Aye Thida, Executive Assistant to Head of College

"Thank you for your constant, tremendous support the past years, inspiring speeches, messages, quotes, encouragement towards the Foundation Initiatives. Without a passionate leadership team this success wouldn't have been possible. John Maxwell once said, 'A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.' Thank you for showing the way, for carrying the mission of your school. Take it with you into the new chapter of your life. See you later! "
Alexandra, Bettina and the Foundation Parent Ambassadors

I remember reading one of Chris' opinion pieces for the first time and thinking: “Wow.”. The text was intelligent, witty, thoughtful, the right balance between “UWC love” and “not taking UWC too seriously”. It made me think - and smile. And it added a new perspective on how I thought about UWCSEA and the world. This could easily describe any interaction I had with Chris thereafter - whether when he was a member of the UWC International Board in (sometimes dreadfully long!) UWC governance meetings or over a glass of wine (or two) in a restaurant on one of the many occasions we were lucky enough to meet - from India to Canada and of course in London. Chris, I will miss you, we will miss you and UWC will miss you. Green School is very lucky to get you. But never forget: UWC is Hotel California: You can check out any time you like but you can never leave. So this is only an “au revoir” - and we can’t wait to welcome you back. Thanks for everything!
Hannah Tümpel, Deputy Executive Director, UWC International

"What do Harvard, Aristotle, Plato and a talented pianist have in common? It is none other than Chris Edwards. Chris’ unique ability to knit together important ideas with analogies that stretch my brain will be missed. He has brought us to an exciting place working more closely within the UWC movement and alongside the other 16 schools. This is a very long way from my first interaction with leaders from some UWCs where I had to ‘prove’ that a Grade 6 student could really understand what the mission was all about - thank you, Chris."
Elizabeth Bray, Head of UWCSEA Dover

"Chris has been a valued member in the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) since August 2014. He spearheaded many initiatives and led one of the working groups in the Educational Institutional (EI) council of ACCORD in extending outreach to Foreign Systems Schools (FSS) and Privately Funded Institutions (PFI) to engage the students and their parents on National Service (NS) and defence. Under Chris’ leadership, the Council has organised multiple engagement sessions for their students and parents; and brought together the Heads of Colleges and Principals of other FSSs and their nominated NS Coordinators to establish a close community and network of educators to understand and support NS and defence for Singapore."
ACCORD Secretariat Team

What a time it's been indeed. 

Thank you, Chris.

21 Jun 2019
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