The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, known as MEPI in Slovenia, is a universal, world-renowned youth programme.

It was founded in 1956 by the Duke of Edinburgh in collaboration with the German educator Kurt Hahn, a prominent advocate of experiential learning.

The programme is based on personal and individual challenges. Young people take part in a non-competitive programme of voluntary, sporting, cultural, and intellectual adventures and activities that encourage personal discovery and growth, independence, persistence, responsibility to oneself, and ultimately, make a contribution to their community.

Research at The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award shows that through engaging in voluntary service, taking part in physical recreation, discovering personal interests and talents, and learning about leadership through adventurous activity, young people become confident, reflective, and engaged learners – in short, they become ready for the world.

The programme is accessible to all young people aged 14-25 years. It consists of four areas:

  • voluntary work
  • expedition
  • skills
  • sports activities.

By embarking on their Award journeys, young people can build resilience, learn to overcome challenges, take care of their physical and mental wellbeing and support their communities, at a time when we need it more than ever. It’s time to be #WORLDREADY.

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Find out more

About the Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global framework for non-formal education and learning, which challenges young people to dream big, celebrate their achievements and make a difference in their world. Through developing transferable skills, increasing their fitness levels, cultivating a sense of adventure and volunteering in their community, the Award helps young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

Founded more than 60 years ago, the Award is available to all 14-24-year olds and equips young people with the skills they need for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability or interests. It operates in more than 130 countries and territories, helping to inspire millions of young people. And although the Award’s framework remains the same wherever it is delivered, no two Awards are the same. Instead, each young person designs and creates their own bespoke programme, unique to them. There are currently more than a million young people doing their Award around the world. On an individual level this can make a transformational difference to a young person’s life; on a collective basis, it has the power to bring significant change to wider society.

The Award Framework

The Award comprises three levels and four sections and is designed to provide a balanced programme of personal development and challenge. Participants complete all four sections at each level in order to achieve their Award. At Gold level, participants also complete a Gold Residential Project.

  • Bronze - for those over 14 years old.

  • Silver - for those over 15 years old.

  • Gold - for those over 16 years old.

Physical Recreation

The Physical Recreation section of the Award encourages young people to participate in sport and other physical recreation for the improvement of health, fitness and wellbeing. This section specifically aims to improve the team skills, self-esteem and confidence of participants, which in turn can help improve both their physical and mental health.

Examples include:

  • Team ball sports – floorball, football, volleyball, basketball, handball, badminton, tennis

  • Athletics – running, jumping, cycling, biathlon, triathlon, decathlon

  • Water sports – canoeing, kayaking, SUP, swimming, water polo, diving

  • Winter sports – skiing, snowboarding, curling, bobsleigh, ice hockey

  • Martial arts – karate, judo, kickboxing, boxing, taekwondo, kendo


The Skills section of the Award encourages the development of personal interests, creativity or practical skills, leading to a sense of achievement and well-being, and possibly improved employability through the development of life and vocational skills.

Examples include:

  • Music – singing, learning to play an instrument, music event management

  • Sports related – sports officiating, umpiring/refereeing, sports ground maintenance

  • Arts and crafts – ceramics, embroidery, jewellery making, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography

  • Nature and the environment – agriculture, astronomy, bee keeping, conservation, fishing, forestry, gardening

  • Communication – film and video, languages, reading, writing, public speaking, journalism, website development

  • Games – billiards, snooker or pool, chess, darts, backgammon

Voluntary Service

For this section participants are required to give service (volunteer) over a set period of time. This enables them to experience the benefits that their Voluntary Service provides to others in their community.

Examples include:

  • First aid training

  • Visiting and supporting people in need, such as the elderly, or those with disabilities

  • Volunteering at a hospital or local care home

  • Sports coaching

  • Charity work

Adventurous Journey

The Adventurous Journey section encourages a sense of adventure and discovery while undertaking a team journey. As part of a small team, participants plan, train for and undertake a journey with a purpose in an unfamiliar environment. The aim of this section is to provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the wider environment, as well as to develop their self-confidence, teamwork and health. Participants are taken out of their comfort zone but kept within a safe and secure setting, achieved through suitable training and supervision.

Examples include:

  • Exploring the natural world: glaciation, erosion, geology, cave studies

  • Exploring river valleys, plant studies, exploring human impact: visitor pressure in national parks, pollution

  • Carrying out health surveys or health education in remote areas

  • Completing a demanding journey by foot, cycle, canoe or kayak

How to join the programme

Our MEPI coordinator here at the British International School of Ljubljana is Mr Simon Irving.

The cost to being part of the programme at BISL is €125 per student per academic year.

This includes:

  • Registration Fee

  • First Aid Training

  • All school led activities on site (orientation skills, camping, mentoring, food preparation, etc.)

All external trips will incur a minimum €25 charge per expedition. Further information and details of these are announced ahead of time by the trip leader.

Contact Mr Irving to join the programme today!

Please refer to our Events calendar for key MEPI dates throughout the academic year.