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UWCSEA commitment to antiracism

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UWCSEA commitment to antiracism
Carma Elliot CMG OBE
College President

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.

UWCSEA commitment to antiracism

A letter from the College President

Dear UWCSEA Community,

As communities all over the world react to the brutal death of George Floyd and mobilise for change, we are determined to work to dismantle any systemic racism and injustices within UWCSEA as we equip students to take action for a more just and equitable society. As leaders and educators, we understand our vital role in creating and promoting change, and that we have a responsibility to stand up against racism and social injustice in all forms.

To inform our actions, we always begin with self-examination, listening, research and dialogue. Colleagues are collaboratively building lists of resources (links below) that will help us to understand better what underpins systemic racism and issues that contribute to injustice.

Dialogues and discussions with each other and with students, to understand the issues and identify further actions we collectively need to take, are already underway. This action includes the classroom: the review of our curriculum initiated by the UWCSEA Strategy 2018–2023, which includes close examination of our courses and whether our broad programme includes perspectives beyond the traditional Western narrative, is ongoing and as urgent as ever.

I am having conversations with individuals in our community to hear their experience. The Values in Action initiative launched in 2019, which convened community dialogues to review our core values, will now focus closer attention on issues of race and racism. In the 2020/2021 school year, unconscious bias training for leaders will deepen our awareness of less visible forms of racism and bias. How we recruit, how we communicate, how we represent multiple perspectives – these are just some of the behaviours and practices that need to be reviewed, improved and then firmly embedded taking an anti-racist perspective.  Much of this work had begun with our Strategy, but we are motivated by a new urgency as we listen to current and former members of our community whose voices may have been under-represented in the past.

Calls to account and action from across our community are critical to informing our next steps. The results and recommendations from student-led and alumni-led surveys will help to inform our next steps and priorities. We will do everything we can to listen and to create a safe space for all community members as we work together to do more, and do better.

I want to thank the UWCSEA community for your passion and your commitment to creating a more just College and society. We are listening, we are learning and we are committed to action.

We will continue to update you on our work and progress; some initial resources and opportunities to share your experiences or ideas are below.

Carma Elliot
College President

Resources, support and feedback

UWC movement:
UWC International letter on Black Lives Matter and antiracism

Anti-racism resources for learning:
- A collection of anti-racist books, audio books, podcasts, and documentaries curated by our Teacher Librarians is available here
- A growing collection of articles, tools and resource materials for individuals, teachers and parents – where you can also add your recommendations – is available here

Support and safeguarding:
Students and alumni – If you have experienced racism or discrimination at UWCSEA, please contact our Senior Safeguarding Lead, Lia Gould, at with whom you can safely share your experience.

Students and alumni are encouraged to share your experiences and views by participating in the student-led and alumni-led surveys being circulated. The results and recommendations from students and alumni will be vital to the change process.

Feedback and ideas:
If you have feedback or ideas to support the College's antiracism work, please write to the Office of the President at

10 Jun 2020
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