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Montezuma, New Mexico

235 Students
Aged 17-19 years



3 March 2017

UWC-USA was originally founded as the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West by Armand Hammer at the request of Prince Charles, then the President of UWC. Hammer chose the Montezuma, New Mexico location in the American Southwest, because of its remarkable beauty, proximity to immense wilderness areas in Northern New Mexico, and an architecturally compelling site within a historic region of the United States.

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Three Unique Features

  • Community Service – Students perform over 17,000 hours of community service each year in soup kitchens, at the local residential mental hospital, and in local schools. San Miguel County, where Montezuma is located, has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.
  • Wilderness – The Wilderness program is comprised of extensive backpacking, hiking, and backcountry camping.
  • Bartos Institute – The Bartos Institute for the Constructive Engagement of Conflict is an endowed array of programs dedicated to fostering conflict resolution and cross-cultural skills.
In the Classroom 

UWC-USA offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) curriculum. Alongside standard courses, the College offers Mandarin, German, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Sports exercise and health science, Music, Theater Arts, Dance.

Outside the Classroom 

At UWC-USA, the Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) program is divided into three components: Wilderness, Community Engagement, and The Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict.

All students participate in a minimum of two overnight Wilderness trips. In addition to backpacking, students may choose to take part in winter camping, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. All students learn day-hike basics as well as wilderness first aid and CPR. Students can opt to take a Wilderness First Aid certification course.

As part of the Community Engagement Program, students have renovated an old church building, transforming it into a vibrant community center, built homes for families who wouldn't have a house otherwise, help run the local homeless shelter, tutor elementary school children, and work at the local mental health hospital. Additionally, students serve their own campus through participation in work crews.

The initiatives of the Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict aim to equip young people with theoretical and practical lenses with which to constructively engage with personal, interpersonal, and community level conflicts.

All first-year students participate in each component during their first semester. In their second year, students choose one area to gain mastery in the component that best suits their individual learning goals.

Short Courses  

At the Global Leadership Forum (GLF), the College challenges participants to step out of their comfort zones. Through supportive education and deliberate community engagement, the course aims to harness the energy and power that youth have. Through the GLF experience, participants find themselves emancipated from the idea that they cannot do anything about the problems in their community.

Campus and Facilities  

The 200-acre campus is anchored by the famous Montezuma Castle. Built in 1881 as a luxury hotel and completely refurbished in 2001, the Castle includes dorm rooms, classrooms, offices, and the Dining Hall. Other facilities include:

  • Six dormitories, named after the world’s highest peaks. Each dorm houses 25-40 students.
  • The Old Stone Hotel, built in 1878. It is now used for classrooms, the library, and administrative offices.
  • The Edith Lansing Field House, a sports complex that includes indoor basketball courts, squash courts, a dance studio, a weight room, and cardio equipment.
  • The Kluge Arts Center, which includes an auditorium, art studios, and music studios.
  • The Dwan Light Sanctuary, a spectacular circular building featuring 12 large prisms in the apses and ceiling that spread rainbows throughout the space.
Geographic Setting  

UWC-USA is located at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The area enjoys an average of 300 sunny days a year, and, while it snows in the winter, the climate is generally mild.


    Students can apply through their UWC national committee or through the UWC Global Selection Programme. For more information about UWC-USA, visit the website.



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    Contact Details

    MONTEZUMA NM 87731-0248

    18 Colleges