As we head for the end of term, I have been reflecting on the things which I have been part of as a new UWC family member, and which have had the biggest impact on my thinking. Chief among these, in November, I attended the governance meetings for UWC International at UWC Atlantic College in Wales. Those of you who have seen photographs will know that the very first of the United World Colleges has its home in a medieval castle on the Atlantic coast.
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Carma Elliot CMG OBE
Carma joined UWCSEA in August 2019 as the first College President. A career British diplomat for 23 years until 2010, Carma worked in a wide variety of roles and across continents, including bilateral politics, trade and investment, immigration and protocol. Her final three postings were as Consul-General in Chongqing (China), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and finally Shanghai (China).
Carma has spent much of her adult life in China; 2019 marked the 35th anniversary of Carma first going to China, as a student at Fudan University in Shanghai. After leaving the Foreign Office, Carma became Executive Director at China’s single largest international NGO, the Half the Sky Foundation (2010-2013), focused on enriching the lives of China’s orphaned children, before joining the British Council in 2013 as Director China, and concurrently Minister for Culture and Education in the British Embassy Beijing, a member of the Ambassador’s senior leadership team. Throughout her professional life, Carma has affected meaningful change in the government, international education and development sectors in several countries, most recently completing a complex business transformation at the British Council in China.
Carma is originally from Scotland, and is proud to call herself a global citizen. A ‘third culture kid’ herself, she grew up living in multiple countries as her family moved around with her father’s job. Through her professional life, she has developed a deep knowledge of the cultural nuances required to successfully navigate and create intercultural understanding and an appreciation of the importance of respecting diverse perspectives when working towards peace between people. Carma has been honoured twice by Her Majesty The Queen, for her service to the UK abroad.
She is single and has two adopted daughters.
by Carma Elliot CMG OBE, College President, UWCSEA