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The History of The Award

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip (the husband of Queen Elizabeth II) founded the Award in 1956 together with Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist and renowned promoter of experiential education, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.

After the Second World War there was a growing concern about the development of boys, due to the gap between leaving school at 15 and entering National Service at 18. That is when HRH The Duke of Edinburgh got the idea of an informal education programme that would empower the youth and motivate young people to actively use their leisure time.

He designed the programme together with Kurt Huhn on the basis of experiential education and introduced it in 1956 under the name "The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award". Sir (later Lord) John Hunt was appointed the first programme's Director.

At the same time, Kurt Hahn was the founder of The Outward Bound Programme and The International Baccalaureate (IB) and Atlantic College (the first college to ever deliver the IB). Kurt Hahn’s education philosophy was based on the fact that out of school activities were as important as academic learning. The Award Philosophy was based on this fact and the philosophy of Gordonstoun school (also founded by Kurt Hahn).

In 1937, Kurt Hahn and 150 of his students created a three-step project to develop the physical abilities of young people. Students who completed these activies were given a Moray Badge Award. The Moray Badge Programme also becme a living example of Hahn’s philosophy of education.

In 1954, Hahn shared his ideas with one of his students at Gordonstoun, The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip. Prince Philp and other students took on the idea yet they wanted Sir Kurt Hahn to be a part of the founding committee in order to help shape the programme. They decided on the programme together and named it ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’.

Thus, The Award was first delivered in Britain in 1956 as ‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’. In its first years, as a pilot project it was delivered amongst 14-18 year old boys. Later;

The word "international" was added to the programme's name in 1980 due to the fact that the it had quickly spread throughout the world. Already in 1975 the number of participants reached one million, and in 1989 the limit of two million participants was exceeded.

In 1958 the first Gold Award’s were handed out.

In 1959 girls were also officially added to the programme.

In 1980 the age gap was increased for young people between the ages of 14 – 25.

At the beginning of the 1970’s, 31 countries had begun to deliver the Award. This number increased to 48 in 1989.

In May 1988, The International Award Association was founded.

Since it’s founding in 1956, millions of young people in more than 130 countries worldwide have participated in the Award. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award had become a part of young people’s non-formal education and millions of young people have participated in the programme. On average, more than a million young people take part in the programme ever year.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation Official Website:


The History of the Award in Turkey

The Award was introduced to Turkey in 1995; it was first delivered by the Turkish-English Frienship Assosication and some schools.

In 2001, The Award was Nationalised by The Turkey Human Resources Education and Health Foundation (TIKAV) in collaboration with the Turkish-English Frienship Assosication.

In May 2002, The Ministry of Education officially approved the delivery of the Award in high school across 7 pilot cities: Ankara, Aydın, Bursa, Elazığ, Eskişehir, Gaziantep and Kayseri.

In September 2003, The Youth Award Association was founded and run by representatives of non-governmental organizations and educationalists.

Since the 1st of June 2013, the Award has been delivered under The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award-Türkiye, which is represented by TIKAV. The association was closed, and TIKAV became the sole National Authority of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Turkey. TIKAV is a member of The International Award Association recognised by the European Union.