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The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award was founded by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956, in conjunction with Kurt Hahn, the German educationalist. Both were concerned that young people’s development was lacking in certain key areas, and they resolved to create a programme that would be a 'do-it-yourself kit in the art of civilised living'.

The subsequent spread of the Award across the globe is testament to the universal appeal of the programme, and the vision of its founder. However, even HRH admits that this took him by surprise:

"When the first trial of the Award was launched in 1956, no one had any idea quite what would happen. In the event it was an instant success, and the Award has been growing and expanding worldwide ever since."

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has remained committed to the Award since its birth over 50 years ago. He continues to be involved, particularly in recognising the achievements of Award participants and the adults who support them. To find out more about HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, visit the official website of the British Monarchy.


Founded By:

HRH Prince Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh

Dr. Kurt Hahn

German Educationalist & Developer of International Youth Programmes

Lord John Hunt

1953 Leader of the First Team to Conquer Mt. Everest

Original Programme Purpose and Design

  • To engage young people struggling with social integration after WWII

  • Available to boys only, ages 14 – 18

  • Activity Components:

    • Rescue & Public Service Training

    • Expedition

    • Pursuits & Projects

    • Fitness


Similiar programme started for girls


Age Limited for participants increased to 25 years

Revised Activity Components

  • Community Service

  • Personal Skills

  • Physical Recreation

  • Adventurous Journey



Bermuda Chamber of Commerce (the “Jaycees”) introduce The Award to Bermuda with HE The Governor serving as Patron.  Participants became involved mainly through:

  • Boy Scouts

  • Rangers

  • Youth Ministry


Bermuda’s first Bronze & Silver Awards were presented to local youth participants


Bermuda’s First “homegrown” Gold Award participants received their awards at Buckingham Palace from HRH Prince Phillip


Adopted by the local school system – starting with Northlands Secondary, Saltus and Whitney Institute


Open Award Unit started at The Angle Street Youth Centre


“BRIDGE” Award pilot programme started at Whitney Institute Middle School. As of 2016 the BRIDGE Award is available at all five public middle schools. 

  • The Award currently operates in more than 130 countries & territories

  • Nearly 13M people internationally have participated in The Award over the past six decades

  • More than 125 million hours of voluntary service internationally by Award Holders as of 2019 

  • Bermuda has one of the highest DofE participation rates per capita anywhere in the world

  • Approximately 10K locals have participated in The Award since its introduction to Bermuda

  • 329 young people in Bermuda achieved their Award in 2018 and 2019

  • The Award participant ratio in Bermuda is presently 60% female / 40% male

  • 25 Gold Awards were received in 2020 - 19 are Tri-Holders, 5 are Dual Holders and 1 Direct Entrant. Of those 25, 5 are currently Award Leaders and Assessors in Training (all under the age of 23). 

  • The Award now offers online training for participants at all levels. 

  • Annually the Award hosts a Joint Training event for participants and Award Leaders across the island from public, private and open Award Centers. 

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