Mobile Navigation

Patrick Rouxel

Class of 1984

Patrick was born in France and lived in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Singapore, He joined joining UWCSEA to do the IB Diploma. During Project Week he travelled to Sabah, Borneo, where he says he first fell in love with the Indonesian rainforest and its wildlife, “At UWCSEA I had opportunities for discovery that I wouldn’t have had in another school. Even so, my deep understanding of the gravity of the environmental situation world-wide didn’t come until later.”

Having achieved a BA in Humanities from the University of California at Berkeley, he decided to pursue a medical degree in Paris. However, after three years of medical school he knew it wasn’t right for him, so he went on to the Sorbonne to complete a BA in Comparative Literature. Since then, Patrick’s career has taken a couple of further changes in direction - and may be about to take another.
In 1993 Patrick began working in the film industry, specialising in the production of CGI (computer generated imagery) and special effects, eventually becoming a special effects supervisor for feature films. After 10 years he began to yearn for something else. He says, “I wanted to give more meaning to my life.” In 2003, on a trip back to Asia, he saw the extent of the deforestation in Sumatra and decided to use his film-making expertise to raise awareness about the plight of wildlife suffering from habitat destruction.

He has been actively supporting this goal for the past decade. In 2004 he produced Tears of Wood, a silent film about the Indonesian rainforest and the orangutans that inhabited it from a male orangutan’s point of view. In 2005 he created a documentary about forest monitoring set in Cameroon, and Losing Tomorrow, a return to the Indonesian rainforest with an insight into the effects of the logging, pulp and paper, and palm oil industries on the forest. He then filmed the reactions of students, teachers and villagers who had watched the film and created an eight-minute open letter film to the President of Indonesia called Dear M. President. In 2007 he was commissioned by WWF Gabon to produce The Cathedral Forest, a film about the trade in elephant tusks in the forest of Minkebe. In 2009 he travelled back to Indonesia where he produced a film called Green, which has won a number of global awards, including “Best of Festival” at two acclaimed wildlife film festivals in the USA and the UK. Green is a powerful story of a female orangutan, named Green, who has lost her home, her child and her will to live, told from her point of view.

In late 2009, Patrick moved to Brazil to create a number of documentaries on subjects such as forest-fire-fighters in the Amazon, and the harsh impact of the cattle and soy industries on the rainforest in a film called Alma. Then it was back to Africa for a film about a patch of forest in the Congo, home to gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants, in an attempt to persuade authorities to prevent logging there. Back in Indonesia in 2011, he created a short film to help put an end to the use of ‘dancing macaques’ and in 2012 he moved on to films promoting awareness of the Indonesian sun bear.

Coming across three bears in cages at Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), he found that Desi, Kevin and Hilda  were too old and habituated to be re-introduced to the wild. However, Patrick took what action he could, “Every day I got rotting logs from the nearby forest to give to the bears. They loved ripping through them to get to the termites and cockroaches. They just wanted to play and be occupied. With approval from OFI, I added extensions to Kevin’s cage to make it more spacious and comfortable and I put all the bears together. They became friends right away.” Learn more about Patrick’s sun bear enclosure.

Patrick has created a non-profit organisation called Help the Bears and plans to do exactly that: help captive sun bears in dire need of better living conditions. He is also considering taking over the management of the only sanctuary that currently exists, or creating a new one. He says: “After university, I did 10 years of special effects, then 10 years of film making—it’s now time for me to give the next 10 years of my life to the sun bears. I feel so close to them, I just can’t move on to something else.”



UWCSEA rings of peacebuilding

Broader than a single subject, peace education at UWCSEA aims to instil a deep understanding of what peace is, the different ways peace can be achieved, and to embed peace throughout a wide range of learning opportunities.

“Peace education is what we do and how we do it, not just what children learn,“ explains Ellie Alchin, Director of Teaching
and Learning at UWCSEA Dover. “Peacebuilding is not a standalone curriculum because it fits into so many different areas
of the school. There are elements of peace education in the personal and social education curriculum, there are conceptual understandings relating to peace in the humanities curriculum. It’s explicitly taught in global citizenship and global politics, and in IB and (i)GCSE history. It’s also built into the service curriculum, and anywhere that students learn about sustainability.”

At UWCSEA, peacebuilding is something that is explicitly taught and considered to be critical to the foundations of a healthy community and society. It is an act of service, but it is also considered to be a core understanding and disposition that helps people achieve peace personally and in complex, real-world situations.

  • Peace
  • UWC
MS Urban Gardening

Although always an implicit part of the school’s approach to education, the concept of sustainability as a goal was named in the UWC mission around twenty years ago, as the science and understanding of the extent of the world’s environmental challenges grew and as the economic consequences of rising inequality became apparent. These dual challenges both threatened the UWC movement’s ultimate goal of promoting peace through the education of young people who are inspired and equipped to take on the responsibility of building healthy societies. Over subsequent years, the case to incorporate sustainability into the education at the College as a more explicit aim has become even more compelling.

  • Sustainability
  • UWC
Retrofitting for the future

Kate Woodford, Senior Marketing Manager

Both campuses have been awarded Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy certification by Singapore’s BCA, recognising our efforts to maximise the sustainable design features of each campus. On Dover, many of these were incorporated during the 5-year campus rejuvenation, completed in 2016. A long-term commitment and significant effort saw existing structures (some dating back to the 1960s) retrofitted during the renovation, thanks to the efforts of our operations teams with support from our donors. Students are engaged in maximising these sustainable features, gaining valuable learning as changemakers in action.

  • Innovation
  • School Infrastructure
  • Sustainability